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Troubled young Fawn Bluefield seeks a life beyond her family’s farm. But en route to the city, she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers, nomadic soldier–sorcerers from the northern woodlands. Feared necromancers armed with mysterious knives made of human bone, they wage a secret, ongoing war against the scourge of the "malices," immortal entities that draw the life out of their victims, enslaving human and animal alike.

It is Dag—a Lakewalker patroller weighed down by past sorrows and onerous present responsibilities—who must come to Fawn’s aid when she is taken captive by a malice. They prevail at a devastating cost—unexpectedly binding their fates as they embark upon a remarkable journey into danger and delight, prejudice and partnership . . . and perhaps even love.

Topics: Monsters, Necromancy, Wizards, Supernatural Powers, Magical Objects, Forbidden Love, Adventurous, Romantic, Epic, Series, and Kidnapping

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061796753
List price: $6.99
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This is one of those books that I've owned for forever, but for one reason or another never picked up. So glad I finally got to it! It's a fantasy world filled with its own share of dangers, but the tone of the book is decidedly romantic. While I wouldn't directly compare this series to Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books, I do think that readers of one would probably enjoy the other. The next book on my TBR is sitting at the library on the hold shelf, so in the meantime I plan on reading book two of this series. That way I can donate the pair of them to some lucky reader when I'm finished.more
This book was really fluffy, but I liked the evocation of nineteenth-century America in the guise of a fantasy/romance novel. Note: this book, at least, is definitely more romance than fantasy, but it's amazingly well-written romance, so you will have no complaints from me. I will probably even read the rest of the series....more
I love Bujold's work, I really do, and I was extremely disappointed in this book. I think the worst part of it is an unrealistic, but more importantly - uninteresting, romance between the two bad main characters. The female main character is uninteresting and boring, I want to find the male main character interesting but he falls terribly flat as well.

In this novel, Bujold establishes an interesting world with a lot of background potential, and it's a shame that the story she chose to tell in this interesting world is just plain bad.more
This was not the book I was looking for. (I saw it and grabbed it at the library thinking these were what I now realize to be the Chalion books. These? NOT THE SAME.)

This looks like a fantasy, starts like a fantasy, has lots of fantasy elements, but it's a romance novel. I can't comment on whether it's a good romance novel, because I don't read those, and this left me cold in exactly the ways I'd expect a romance novel to. (The tropes of male-female courtship have utterly no interest for me, and so the buildup to sex is just boring, and the sex itself is only of mild interest if done particularly well.)

I really liked the fantasy worldbuilding, and kept expecting to see more of it. But, since it's a romance novel, the entire second half of the books was "bring the new man home to meet the folks," which, while done well, was not what I wanted. Bujold does fantastic family dynamics, granted, but I wanted more knife-fights.

I think in any other hands I would have just put the book down when I realized what I'd gotten into. It's a testament to Bujold's skill with character that I kept on going. But really, this will work better for people who are looking for romance novels.more
Seems like these days I'm on a roll with fantasy-romances. Or would it be more accurate to call this a romance-fantasy? Unlike other romance novels I've read that feature a heavy dose of fantasy, Beguilement is more like the other way around -- romance in my fantasy rather than fantasy in my romance, so to speak.I think that in itself might alienate a lot of readers. The book begins with Fawn Bluefield running away from home only to be kidnapped by a "malice", an inhuman magical creature that eats people and causes a blight on anything that lives. Dag is a Lakewalker, a soldier-sorcerer who makes it his life's work to hunt these malices and keep the land safe. The first half of the book involves a lot of world building, lore, and action. Our two protagonists end up coming together, and their fates become entwined.But those looking for a traditional romance story will not find it here because it just doesn't read like one. Not that the romance here isn't fiery and passionate, because it is...but at the same time it's also more comfortable and domestic, if you know what I mean. Likewise, fantasy readers might be drawn in by the first half of the novel and then be disappointed when the second half switches tack to focus more on the love between Dag and Fawn. After the two of them get together, the action pretty much takes a break. Instead of delving more into the war against the malices, the author develops our main characters' relationship and blossoming romance.Still, I just loved this book. It's definitely not recommended for folks looking for a fast-paced, action-filled read, but nevertheless I found this book engaging and I couldn't stop once I started. Lois McMaster Bujold has a way of making a world come alive and she writes fantastic characters that I am drawn to right away (by the way, her book Curse of Chalion still remains one of my all time favorite fantasy novels).What I loved most about this book is Dag. I liked his character and how the author made him a sweet, caring and protective male lead without turning him into an overbearing, possessive and loutish asshole. His light humor, easygoing nature, and the gentle way he treats Fawn especially in the early chapters really endeared him to me. It fits his character perfectly, and while it probably has a lot to do with him being much older than her, his personality still sets him apart from a lot of the heroes you find in romance novels these days, and gets major points from me.What also gets major points from me is how their romance unfolds. Both Fawn and Dag are straightforward with their feelings, and there's none of that cliched he-says-she-says BS and those convenient misunderstandings that oftentimes make romance novels so infuriating and tedious for me to read. Here are two characters that know what they want, and I can't tell you how refreshing that is.All in all, I thought Beguilement was a light, sweet read, which really surprised me since reading the synopsis initially gave me the impression that it was going to be a little dark and heavy. I also want to mention that I half read the ebook and half listened to this in audio format, and I thought the latter's narrator did a really good job and that her voice was perfect for the story.more
Things I liked:
- The writing was mostly good.
- The world was good and interesting.

Things I didn't like:
- The main character seems pretty stupid, compared to her Love Interest, however fast she may be at picking new things up. But I think what annoyed me was more that her youth/childishness was emphasized so much in her mannerisms and dialogue; she's 18, but she seemed younger to me. And the book mentions multiple times how short she is. And her name is even Fawn (i.e. "a young deer in its first year").

- Her Love Interest is very tall and has a deep voice and is 55 years old. Which, I guess, is okay, but I just think that a lot of people would think it was more unusual if a 18 year old boy was in a relationship with a 55 year old woman (and actually, that would be pretty awesome just because it's so different from anything I've seen in fantasy or romance or basically any genre). Why are romance novels (and I suppose fantasy novels) always so stereotypical?

- At a little more than 100 pages from the end of the book, the main character and her Love Interest basically set out to find information on a magic knife at a certain town, planning to stop to see the main character's family on the way. It seemed reasonable to assume that they would reach the town and find the information. Nope! The next 100 pages take place completely at her family's house, and the mystery of the knife is left for the next book in the series. I can't help thinking this could have been planned better.more
The first book of a brand new series by the Hugo Award winning Lois McMaster Bujold, Beguilement is somewhat hard to rate. While the world building and the characters excel, many might feel put out from what basically feels like the first half of a story. As such, it's hard to recommend this book without having first read the sequel. But considering Ms. Bujold's reputation, it wouldn't be a bad bet to give this book a try.more
Reading the reviews, the detractors seem to fall into certain categories. Those who were expecting something like her Vorkosigan series and are disappointed it's fantasy. (Hello, it's pretty explicitly marked as fantasy from the description to the cover.) Those who were expecting something like her Chalion series and are disappointed the emphasis on this first book is on romance. (Yes, it is. I think it's tons better than the usual book on the romance aisle, but if you sneer at books built around a love story, by all means you'll want to pass this by.) Finally, several seemed disturbed that this is a May/December romance about a teenager and a man over fifty. (And one that unlike Angel or Edward *gasp* doesn't look young, apparently the only thing that matters.) The age difference doesn't bother me. That Fawn is so young might have, but it does help this is a frontier society. They grow up fast and marry early there--and given Fawn is already pregnant when Dag meets her, it's not as if I feel he "corrupts" an innocent waif.For me, that this isn't anything like Chalion or Vorkosigan is a good thing. I like versatile authors who don't write the same book a gazillion times. This is a very different world than either of her other series. Not faux European high fantasy nor futuristic Space Opera. Instead this has the feel of the American frontier--perhaps a transformed world from our own far future. I found the entire world Bujold created with the malices intriguing. And as with her other books, I love her characters. I liked spending time with them. And as this is only the first part of a four volume series that can be seen as one novel, that's important.more
I picked this book up because I really like what I've read of Bujold's Vorkosigan and Chalion series, and this series comes recommended, too.The story concerns a young girl, Fawn, being abducted by an evil being, called a malice or a blight bogle, and being rescued by Dag, an older Lakewalker. Lakewalkers patrol the lands, ridding them of malices when they are found, and are looked at askance by ordinary, or farmer, folk, who think they are necromancers. Fawn and Dag kill the malice in a deadly fight using one of Dag's sharing knives (which are the only things that can kill malices), and then spend time recuperating with other patrollers. However, in the fight, something odd happened to one of Dag's other sharing knives which concerns them both, so they head for a Lakewalker camp to get advice on it. Along the way, they stop to spend time with Fawn's family.The book starts off well, with a lot of action as Dag races against time to hunt down the malice with his patrol, and continues nicely when the Lakewalkers are stationed at an inn to recuperate. I especially liked the banter between friends, which had me smiling quite often. Then the pace slows down as the two (inevitably, so no spoilers here!) fall in love, but it's quite sweet, and presumably sets things up for the rest of the series.One point, though, I didn't get; it seemed a huge issue for Fawn, but I didn't understand the reasons why she ran away from her family. A fair chunk of the story is devoted to the time the two spend with her family, and they seem concerned and loving. Of course, as the youngest child and only sister of 4 brothers, she does come in for some hard teasing, but as a reason for running away from her family, it seemed rather childish.I liked the book, though, and will look out for the next one in the library.more
Summary: Fawn Bluefield grew up hearing tales of the Lakewalkers: They can do magic. They have no homes but forever roam the countryside. They are dangerous for farmers to be near. But as she is fleeing her tiny village - where she is unappreciated, unwanted, and now saddled with an unintended pregnancy - to find work in the big city, she chances to spy on a group of Lakewalkers that don't seem quite as bad as she's always been told. Shortly thereafter, Fawn is kidnapped from the road by bandits, and is rescued a one-handed Lakewalker, but not before they are inextricably linked by a chance accident. As Fawn learns from Dag, the Lakewalkers are not evil, but have dedicated their lives - and deaths - to fighting evil soulless creatures known as malices, thus keeping the land safe for ordinary, if unappreciative, farmer folk. They do have some abilities that many people would call magic, but their most potent power is their least understood: the sharing knifes that they all carry, knifes made of human bone and enchanted by a human death -- and it is with one of these knifes that Fawn and Dag's fates are now permanently bound.Review: Lois McMaster Bujold can do no wrong, it seems. I started out reading her Chalion books, which are high fantasy, and then took a detour into her Vorkosigan Saga, which are space opera, and now thought I'd come back around to her fantasy novels. But I was less than halfway through this one before I realized that it's not exactly fantasy so much as romance, just dressed up in the trappings of light fantasy. It's a lot more light-hearted than anything else I've read by Bujold, for sure, although that's not to say that it doesn't have some very dark elements in places. What's more, it's a startlingly good romance: Fawn and Dag are both so likable and well-drawn, and their interactions so endearing, that I barely minded that the fantasy elements of the plot are on the back-burner for most of the novel.(I may have minded more if I didn't have the other three novels in the series close to hand. There are a LOT of plot threads that are left loose at the end of this book, which is fine when I know they'll be picked back up in the next one, but would have annoyed the holy hell out of me if I'd have had to wait for the sequels to be published.) The fantasy elements of the book are intriguing, and - true to form for Bujold - impressively original. Well, okay, the concept of the sharing knife, and the other mechanics of the worldbuilding are unique and fascinating; Dag himself is basically a one-armed clone of Aragorn. (Older than he looks, travels a lot, excellent fighter/woodsman, one of a dwindling race that was around before the common man, unappreciated guardian against the evils of the world, nobly flings himself into danger, carrying a number of scars both physical and mental, etc.) But the fact that neither Dag nor Fawn strays particularly far from their archetype never bothered me. They're both written with such vivacity and wit and spark that I enjoyed spending time in their story and in their world, and will certainly be diving into the sequels... not least because I'm dying to know what's going on with that knife! 4.5 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: I thought it was great, and I think it's worth a try for anyone who is looking for a light read with a solid love story, and doesn't mind the fantasy trappings (or, alternately, anyone who's looking for an interesting fantasy world and doesn't mind a serious dose of romance).more
...this book had the potential to be great.....but someone threw a stick in the author's spokes when it came to the relationship thing....hello! Some of us can follow a relationship line AND a storyline at the same time!!! This is not an adventure fantasy book, which it had full potential of being in the beginning....it's just a slow forbidden love story with an age difference and a culture difference.....been there, doing that.more
The names in the book irritated me at first, possibly because I hadn't read fantasy in a while. Otherwise, 'Dag' and 'Fawn' may not have struck me so hard. I wouldn't call this book a quality read. It lies firmly within the realm of fantasy-romance. If I wasn't so blantantly a fan of cheesy romances (a perk of also having studied lit in college), then I would be embarassed for someone else to know I've read this book.Recommend it to your best friend or for plane flight. Don't read it if you're lookign for something intellectual, or even groundbreaking. (which is a crappy pun, btw)more
Call me hopeful, but I'm ideally looking for a mix of sci-fi and romance in the same novel. It's always interesting to have a major sci-fi plotline with a minor romance thread running through it. So, I thought I'd hit the jack-pot when I came across Louis McMaster Bujold's "The Sharing Knife" series". I mean Bujold ! That Hugo winner! She writing a sci-fi novel which features romance - what could be better than that ? Many things, it now appears.You're probably getting my drift by now, but let me inflict a philosophical euphemism on you at this point : Most things in life are not that easily gotten. Ergo : I'm disappointed in the first book - Beguilement. Yes, it had new ideas of fantasy, but it read almost like a romance novel, and not the nice kinds (read : woman has spine) either. No, really !The woman here is Dawn Blufield, all of 18 years. She's run away from home, because she's gotten pregnant by a local boy, who's refusing responsibility, and being generally mean and nasty. Also, desis hold up your heads now, because izzat and honor, and blaming the woman are apparently world-wide concepts, known also to the farmers of this novel. Thus Dawn, mortified by her parent’s embarrassment if they found out has hit the road.The hero is 55 year old Dag, who's a Lakewalker Patroller. Lakewalkers are people who guard the common folk against malices and blight bogles, which are evil monsters that suck up your "ground" or life-force. Lakewalkers have an acute sense of others’ "ground", i.e.; they can sense happiness, sadness and rough edges in the ebb and flow of your life-force. So, Dag can sense Dawn's "ground" , and she shines so brightly in it, that he calls her "(Little) Spark". (Oh, kill me now !)OK, so now the story : Dawn meets Dag. Dag secretly smitten. Enter Malice. Dag to the rescue. And then the event that propels the story (or at least that's what I thought) : Dawn uses the wrong Sharing Knife on the Malice, and it mistakenly gets "primed". That is a problem, because it has been "primed" with her now dead baby's ground (she aborts due to the malice's man-handling of her) and the baby hadn't even been born yet. Dag doesn't know what implications this has, because Sharing Knives are "primed" with Lakewalker "ground" and done by the LakeWalkers themselves. So, he persuades Dawn to come with them to his LakeWalker Patrol so that someone more knowledgeable about Sharing Knives, a Maker for instance, can find out.Well, I thought that the "finding out" would be done quickly and then the story would proceed in a sci-fi-ish manner. But, instead, the rest of the book is devoted to Dawn and Dag making the journey to her home, to clear up the air so to speak, and falling in love along the way.Now, I have no problem with romance (in fact quite the contrary), but let's not act like lovesick teenagers here. The book, at this point has become quite Mills-and-Boon-ish in character. Dag, is the older, wiser, and worldlier of the two, and he longs to cherish her and protect her, blah blah blah . . . And she, actually is a teenager, vastly under-esteemed by her family, and forever taunted by her various siblings. But, but, but . . . she's earnest and intelligent and kind and compassionate . . . And this really is true-blue love, where they communicate via ESP. OK, then !This isn't quite what I expected. If I did want to read a love story about a much older, more powerful man, who wanted to protect and cherish this wispy little woman with a heart of gold and a large brood of (nasty/dependent) siblings, I would go read Betty Neels instead. Granted, from what I can recall, her heroes are almost always handsome Dutch Doctors , and Dag is of unknown country, he sounds fairly Scandinavian to me - close enough, no ?The book, like the rest of us, is not all bad. The characters are well-drawn – I liked Dag’s character quite a bit; he has his head screwed on right, has no fixed notions of “women’s” work since he actually nurses Dawn through her miscarriage. This might be due to the fact that his LakeWalker culture as portrayed is matriarchial, sort-of; when a man and woman are bound together, the man comes to the woman’s family tent and not the other way around. Plus he seems fairly liberal, except in the parts where he goes around calling her “Little Spark” :-) .Dawn is a likeable character too, I only wish she wasn’t so small and petite, and needing to be “protected”. How about a 6’ woman with self-esteem issues – now you could really introduce some interesting psycho-babble there!As a romance novel, this one isn’t so bad, but coming from the likes of Bujold, as highly regarded in the sci-fi genre as she is, this is a massive disappointment. This is a sometimes cringe-worthy, and sometimes awkwardly lovey-dovey novel in the guise of a sci-fi tome.When I ended the book, I was actually quite amazed that this was the work of a Hugo winner. But after reading a few reviews on the net, I am convinced that there are a lot more folks just as put off by this book as I am, and that Bujold is quite at the nadir of her form here. Hopefully, her other books will be better !more
I enjoyed this very much - I'd heard it recommended as a wonderful love story, and it is that, but it's also exciting and fascinating.Fawn is a young farmer girl, striking out on her own after an unfortunate encounter with a fellow farmer. While on the road, she sees a Lakewalker patrol - mysterious supposed necromancers who use magic to hunt and kill malices, creatures who kill and enslave humans and Lakewalkers alike.When Fawn later runs afoul of bandits enslaved by a malice threatening a nearby town, one of the Lakewalkers, Dag, comes to her aid. However, it is Fawn who kills the malice, stabbing it with the Sharing Knife Dag throws to her while occupied with one of the malice's mud men.This causes a mysterious change in another of Dag's sharing knives, urging him to take Fawn with him to head homeward to consult with a maker to discover what fawn did with the knife to change it. On their journey, despite Dag's misgivings, the two fall in love and this causes a whole boatload of more problems for them...This story tells of a charming love and explores prejudice and rumor. Plus, the malices are creepy! : )Recommended.more
Stupid me. I bought the 2nd in this series before finishing this first book.It is not science fiction. It is barely fantasy... sure, it's a fantastical world with some "magical" skills, but really... it's a romance novel. And not a very good one at that (try Shinn's works if you want a decent romantic fantasy). It's a Harlequin, just with a non-Earth setting.The PLOT:Girl (20 yr old) meets man (40ish). She's infatuated. He knows better - and is told by his frigid female mentor (aka spinster) that he should leave the girl alone - but he can't help himself so they "fall in love" and he teaches her the "ways of love". Then they meet her family. Yup, that's the story.Gag.more
Fawn Bluefield wants out of her family farm and into the outside world and Dag, a Lakewalker patroller attracts her and takes her under his wing. Lakewalkers are waging a war against "malices". Malices are immortal entities who draw life out of people and make them into warped versions of themselves.When Fawn is taken by malices Dag has to rescue her and this changes their relationship forever.Bujold is a great writer and I have never been disappointed by her, this is no exception.more
I am always amazed by the efficiency with which Bujold can take you into a new world. This book is an introduction, you know there is much more story to follow at the end of this book, but it is a satisfying read as she introduces the two principle characters, their cultures, and their world via them getting to know each other.more
Bujold's Vorkosigan series is one of my all time favorites, and I was reluctant for some time to try her fantasy series. I'm glad I finally did. Her usual graceful, efficient language, rich characters,and satisfying plot is here. One thing I am typically frustrated with in fantasy is series where each book is more concerned about creating a cliffhanger than being a complete book unto itself. Bujold does not fall into that trap. She creates interest for the next book but this bbook also stands on its own. I don't think the tension in the book was as high as it could have been, but the story was thoroughly enjoyable. I think the stage has been set for the real story to begin in the following books.more
This series had been repeatedly recommended to me, starting nearly a year ago, by a friend of mine. This friend had also advised that I avoid beginning the books too close to bedtime and that I obtain, at the very least, the first two books of this quad so that I could read them back to back. I really need to start taking her word at greater weight.I waited for a long time before bothering to track down a copy of this first book this series because at the time I had only just read the appallingly bad C.L. Wilson book, Lord of the Fading Lands, and the two series have unfortunate parallels. They are both fantasy/romance books. They are both four-volume sets. They both are written from the dual main characters' points of view. They both focus on uniting two different cultures of peoples. And they both revolve around May/December romances.The thing is, in this Bujold book, all of these things are done well. The romance between the characters is important to the book, but it's the fantasy element that fuels the plot. The alternating voices of the characters are fluid and focused, and never once devolve into a he felt/she felt situation. The May/December aspect is handled deftly and in a reasonably practical manner. Fawn pretends through about two-thirds of the book to be older than she actually is, and Dag avoids announcing his precise age until directly asked it by Fawn's father. There was a part in the book where the Dag and Fawn were enjoying sex together, Fawn was ready to launch into round two, and Dag was all, Wait! I need more recovery time, which had me laughing aloud.It is through Fawn's perspective that this fantasy world is introduced to the reader, that for the most part that introduction is done very well. I hate infodumping, and that seems to be kept a minimum. I think it helps an awful lot because of how Bujold has paced her novel, and I'm really glad she's such a sure hand at this. I was particularly pleased at reading the action scene at the very beginning of the novel, which helped so much to break up the introduction of information by incorporating the realistic little wrinkles of (1) kill the monster, and (2) survive the aftermath, before (3) the background of the characters and the world in which they live is explained.I particularly enjoyed the characterizations here. Even secondary characters feel very organic to the plot. Character descriptions are fleshed out; everyone has grown up from some reasonable place in the story; conflicts between characters are written as resulting very naturally from personality and opinion clashes. I was also left wanting to know an awful lot more about the secondary characters, and I really hope the main characters run into them again in a later book.There were a lot of unanswered questions left dangling at the end of this novel, but then this is the first in a four-volume set. I'm content have some of the more basic whats of this world described here as long of as more detailed whys are explained later.Oh, yeah, the later books. Not only had I ignored my friend the first time she recommended this series, I ignored her advice too. Now I'm left cranky and scant on sleep following a late-night reading session, and it'll be at least five days before I can get my hands on book two. Grrr.more
I love the Miles Vorkosigan books, and the Chalion series in a different way, but this? This is ostensibly fantasy, but the setting is just framing for a romance and a little soft porn. Fawn is a naive and chlidlike (though we keep being told how bright she is) girl of 16 or 17 who is rescued by a man in his 50s who is much more experienced in all ways. This alone I found somewhat squicky due to not just the difference in age, but that in power. If you like Mills and Boone or Harlequin (I'm not up on the romance genre), go for it. If not, avoid.I won't be reading any more in this series. What was Bujold thinking, and why wasn't she embarrassed to tell us?more
I found the fantasy aspects of this fascinating, but at times I felt more as if I were reading a Harlequin romance (cliches included) than a fantasy. I think I would have enjoyed it more if there'd been more depth and time to the details of fantasy, and if the romance had taken a bit longer to develop. As is, it was an enjoyable escape once I got into it (which did take a bit), but nothing I see myself revisiting. I would recommend this to young adults who enjoy fantasy though, girls at least. A few guys I knew had started this, and not gotten through it--having read it now, I'm not surprised. It really is more romance than fantasy when you break it down.more
Set in a rennaisance-oid fantasy land, this is the "love" story between a 'farmer' (normal human) and a 'lakewalker' (mystical people with very long life spans). The story line is very routine: young attractive female gets into trouble with an evil magical being, she is rescued by a a handsome male who can combat the evil magic. The female and male fall in love and get married (or did the marriage happen in book 2?)... Part of the lakewalker magic is giving the woman intense pleasure... verging on soft porn in description and inference. The idea of a 17 year old girl and a 40-something man in this type of relationship kind of creeped me out, too. I found the writing over-wordy and repetitious. This would have been a good short story.more
First in the Sharing Knife fantasy series. Bujold is most known for the Miles Vorkosigan science fiction series. This fantasy series is set in a world similar to a medieval Earth in which people are either farmers or Lakewalkers. Lakewalkers protect the land from malices, magical energy creatures that drain all life from the land. Lakewalkers and farmers have separate cultures and don't mingle. Fawn is a farmer girl and Dag a Lakewalker, and the two break all the rules. The world is interesting, but the story behind the ground and the sharing knives was difficult for me to understand.more
I'd been avoiding her fantasy because while her SF is very good I find it hard to read - Miles is just too much. Which is dumb, because I love the Cordelia books and enjoy the Miles ones in moderation...so having read Beguilement I now urgently need The Sharing Knife: Legacy and want to read the Chalion books too. Very interesting take on magic, great characters, reasonably good reasons for actions.more
Good. It is very obviously only half a book, but it does have a fairly satisfying interim resolution.more
This is a beautifully told, character-driven fantasy. Bujold gets the heavy action out of the way early, and then gives us a leisurely opportunity to get to know our two protagonists and their world better. In many ways TSK:B is a departure from previous Bujold. There is little or no political maneuvering, for a start. And there is no villain to be unmasked and defeated. The humor is definitely subtler and perhaps less pervasive. Some readers have complained that the book isn't what they expected--that this is a romance being deceptively marketed as a fantasy. I had a good idea what the story would be like and the author pretty much delivered exactly what I was looking for. The characters are original and well drawn, sympathetic despite the unlikely aspects of their romance. The sex is surprisingly direct, more so than in other books I have read from this source, but tastefully done. Those who are looking for action driven fantasy may be disappointed, although I suspect that there will be plenty of action in the second book. Reading TSK:B is a bit like going to a concert hall and listening to an orchestra play the first two movements of a symphony (an opening allegro, and then an extended slow second movement), and then everyone being told to come back in nine months for the second half of the concert. The only real complaint I can come up with about this book is that it's really only half a book. Despite the perils faces by our protagonists early in the story, one has a sense that the worst is yet to come--that before long there will be very difficult choices to be made and inevitably a call for personal sacrifice.more
The Sharing Knife: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold (8/10)Fantasy/Romance. Bujold has said this book was an opportunity to play and see if she could write a story where the romance gets less overshadowed by the plot and characters, as usually happens with her. I think she's done a good job, although the book doesn't feel as if it has quite as much depth as some ofher others. All the same, the world building set up is solid, the characters are nice people and I look forward to the rest of the story. The book was cut in half for length reasons and it does stop rather abruptly with a lot of the romance sorted out but most of the plot still awaiting its turn, so it's worth being aware of that when you start reading. The second half, The Sharing Knife: Legacy, comes out next year.more
Another surprising find. Again, I loved the byplay between the two main characters and the love interest therein. But moreover, I would just have to say that this book was charming. So much so that I immediately had to find the second volume, and I finished the book in one day.more
I really enjoyed this. It's mainly a love story, I think. But there's an interesting world and some truly enjoyable moments between the characters. I'm looking forward to the sequel.more
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This is one of those books that I've owned for forever, but for one reason or another never picked up. So glad I finally got to it! It's a fantasy world filled with its own share of dangers, but the tone of the book is decidedly romantic. While I wouldn't directly compare this series to Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books, I do think that readers of one would probably enjoy the other. The next book on my TBR is sitting at the library on the hold shelf, so in the meantime I plan on reading book two of this series. That way I can donate the pair of them to some lucky reader when I'm finished.more
This book was really fluffy, but I liked the evocation of nineteenth-century America in the guise of a fantasy/romance novel. Note: this book, at least, is definitely more romance than fantasy, but it's amazingly well-written romance, so you will have no complaints from me. I will probably even read the rest of the series....more
I love Bujold's work, I really do, and I was extremely disappointed in this book. I think the worst part of it is an unrealistic, but more importantly - uninteresting, romance between the two bad main characters. The female main character is uninteresting and boring, I want to find the male main character interesting but he falls terribly flat as well.

In this novel, Bujold establishes an interesting world with a lot of background potential, and it's a shame that the story she chose to tell in this interesting world is just plain bad.more
This was not the book I was looking for. (I saw it and grabbed it at the library thinking these were what I now realize to be the Chalion books. These? NOT THE SAME.)

This looks like a fantasy, starts like a fantasy, has lots of fantasy elements, but it's a romance novel. I can't comment on whether it's a good romance novel, because I don't read those, and this left me cold in exactly the ways I'd expect a romance novel to. (The tropes of male-female courtship have utterly no interest for me, and so the buildup to sex is just boring, and the sex itself is only of mild interest if done particularly well.)

I really liked the fantasy worldbuilding, and kept expecting to see more of it. But, since it's a romance novel, the entire second half of the books was "bring the new man home to meet the folks," which, while done well, was not what I wanted. Bujold does fantastic family dynamics, granted, but I wanted more knife-fights.

I think in any other hands I would have just put the book down when I realized what I'd gotten into. It's a testament to Bujold's skill with character that I kept on going. But really, this will work better for people who are looking for romance novels.more
Seems like these days I'm on a roll with fantasy-romances. Or would it be more accurate to call this a romance-fantasy? Unlike other romance novels I've read that feature a heavy dose of fantasy, Beguilement is more like the other way around -- romance in my fantasy rather than fantasy in my romance, so to speak.I think that in itself might alienate a lot of readers. The book begins with Fawn Bluefield running away from home only to be kidnapped by a "malice", an inhuman magical creature that eats people and causes a blight on anything that lives. Dag is a Lakewalker, a soldier-sorcerer who makes it his life's work to hunt these malices and keep the land safe. The first half of the book involves a lot of world building, lore, and action. Our two protagonists end up coming together, and their fates become entwined.But those looking for a traditional romance story will not find it here because it just doesn't read like one. Not that the romance here isn't fiery and passionate, because it is...but at the same time it's also more comfortable and domestic, if you know what I mean. Likewise, fantasy readers might be drawn in by the first half of the novel and then be disappointed when the second half switches tack to focus more on the love between Dag and Fawn. After the two of them get together, the action pretty much takes a break. Instead of delving more into the war against the malices, the author develops our main characters' relationship and blossoming romance.Still, I just loved this book. It's definitely not recommended for folks looking for a fast-paced, action-filled read, but nevertheless I found this book engaging and I couldn't stop once I started. Lois McMaster Bujold has a way of making a world come alive and she writes fantastic characters that I am drawn to right away (by the way, her book Curse of Chalion still remains one of my all time favorite fantasy novels).What I loved most about this book is Dag. I liked his character and how the author made him a sweet, caring and protective male lead without turning him into an overbearing, possessive and loutish asshole. His light humor, easygoing nature, and the gentle way he treats Fawn especially in the early chapters really endeared him to me. It fits his character perfectly, and while it probably has a lot to do with him being much older than her, his personality still sets him apart from a lot of the heroes you find in romance novels these days, and gets major points from me.What also gets major points from me is how their romance unfolds. Both Fawn and Dag are straightforward with their feelings, and there's none of that cliched he-says-she-says BS and those convenient misunderstandings that oftentimes make romance novels so infuriating and tedious for me to read. Here are two characters that know what they want, and I can't tell you how refreshing that is.All in all, I thought Beguilement was a light, sweet read, which really surprised me since reading the synopsis initially gave me the impression that it was going to be a little dark and heavy. I also want to mention that I half read the ebook and half listened to this in audio format, and I thought the latter's narrator did a really good job and that her voice was perfect for the story.more
Things I liked:
- The writing was mostly good.
- The world was good and interesting.

Things I didn't like:
- The main character seems pretty stupid, compared to her Love Interest, however fast she may be at picking new things up. But I think what annoyed me was more that her youth/childishness was emphasized so much in her mannerisms and dialogue; she's 18, but she seemed younger to me. And the book mentions multiple times how short she is. And her name is even Fawn (i.e. "a young deer in its first year").

- Her Love Interest is very tall and has a deep voice and is 55 years old. Which, I guess, is okay, but I just think that a lot of people would think it was more unusual if a 18 year old boy was in a relationship with a 55 year old woman (and actually, that would be pretty awesome just because it's so different from anything I've seen in fantasy or romance or basically any genre). Why are romance novels (and I suppose fantasy novels) always so stereotypical?

- At a little more than 100 pages from the end of the book, the main character and her Love Interest basically set out to find information on a magic knife at a certain town, planning to stop to see the main character's family on the way. It seemed reasonable to assume that they would reach the town and find the information. Nope! The next 100 pages take place completely at her family's house, and the mystery of the knife is left for the next book in the series. I can't help thinking this could have been planned better.more
The first book of a brand new series by the Hugo Award winning Lois McMaster Bujold, Beguilement is somewhat hard to rate. While the world building and the characters excel, many might feel put out from what basically feels like the first half of a story. As such, it's hard to recommend this book without having first read the sequel. But considering Ms. Bujold's reputation, it wouldn't be a bad bet to give this book a try.more
Reading the reviews, the detractors seem to fall into certain categories. Those who were expecting something like her Vorkosigan series and are disappointed it's fantasy. (Hello, it's pretty explicitly marked as fantasy from the description to the cover.) Those who were expecting something like her Chalion series and are disappointed the emphasis on this first book is on romance. (Yes, it is. I think it's tons better than the usual book on the romance aisle, but if you sneer at books built around a love story, by all means you'll want to pass this by.) Finally, several seemed disturbed that this is a May/December romance about a teenager and a man over fifty. (And one that unlike Angel or Edward *gasp* doesn't look young, apparently the only thing that matters.) The age difference doesn't bother me. That Fawn is so young might have, but it does help this is a frontier society. They grow up fast and marry early there--and given Fawn is already pregnant when Dag meets her, it's not as if I feel he "corrupts" an innocent waif.For me, that this isn't anything like Chalion or Vorkosigan is a good thing. I like versatile authors who don't write the same book a gazillion times. This is a very different world than either of her other series. Not faux European high fantasy nor futuristic Space Opera. Instead this has the feel of the American frontier--perhaps a transformed world from our own far future. I found the entire world Bujold created with the malices intriguing. And as with her other books, I love her characters. I liked spending time with them. And as this is only the first part of a four volume series that can be seen as one novel, that's important.more
I picked this book up because I really like what I've read of Bujold's Vorkosigan and Chalion series, and this series comes recommended, too.The story concerns a young girl, Fawn, being abducted by an evil being, called a malice or a blight bogle, and being rescued by Dag, an older Lakewalker. Lakewalkers patrol the lands, ridding them of malices when they are found, and are looked at askance by ordinary, or farmer, folk, who think they are necromancers. Fawn and Dag kill the malice in a deadly fight using one of Dag's sharing knives (which are the only things that can kill malices), and then spend time recuperating with other patrollers. However, in the fight, something odd happened to one of Dag's other sharing knives which concerns them both, so they head for a Lakewalker camp to get advice on it. Along the way, they stop to spend time with Fawn's family.The book starts off well, with a lot of action as Dag races against time to hunt down the malice with his patrol, and continues nicely when the Lakewalkers are stationed at an inn to recuperate. I especially liked the banter between friends, which had me smiling quite often. Then the pace slows down as the two (inevitably, so no spoilers here!) fall in love, but it's quite sweet, and presumably sets things up for the rest of the series.One point, though, I didn't get; it seemed a huge issue for Fawn, but I didn't understand the reasons why she ran away from her family. A fair chunk of the story is devoted to the time the two spend with her family, and they seem concerned and loving. Of course, as the youngest child and only sister of 4 brothers, she does come in for some hard teasing, but as a reason for running away from her family, it seemed rather childish.I liked the book, though, and will look out for the next one in the library.more
Summary: Fawn Bluefield grew up hearing tales of the Lakewalkers: They can do magic. They have no homes but forever roam the countryside. They are dangerous for farmers to be near. But as she is fleeing her tiny village - where she is unappreciated, unwanted, and now saddled with an unintended pregnancy - to find work in the big city, she chances to spy on a group of Lakewalkers that don't seem quite as bad as she's always been told. Shortly thereafter, Fawn is kidnapped from the road by bandits, and is rescued a one-handed Lakewalker, but not before they are inextricably linked by a chance accident. As Fawn learns from Dag, the Lakewalkers are not evil, but have dedicated their lives - and deaths - to fighting evil soulless creatures known as malices, thus keeping the land safe for ordinary, if unappreciative, farmer folk. They do have some abilities that many people would call magic, but their most potent power is their least understood: the sharing knifes that they all carry, knifes made of human bone and enchanted by a human death -- and it is with one of these knifes that Fawn and Dag's fates are now permanently bound.Review: Lois McMaster Bujold can do no wrong, it seems. I started out reading her Chalion books, which are high fantasy, and then took a detour into her Vorkosigan Saga, which are space opera, and now thought I'd come back around to her fantasy novels. But I was less than halfway through this one before I realized that it's not exactly fantasy so much as romance, just dressed up in the trappings of light fantasy. It's a lot more light-hearted than anything else I've read by Bujold, for sure, although that's not to say that it doesn't have some very dark elements in places. What's more, it's a startlingly good romance: Fawn and Dag are both so likable and well-drawn, and their interactions so endearing, that I barely minded that the fantasy elements of the plot are on the back-burner for most of the novel.(I may have minded more if I didn't have the other three novels in the series close to hand. There are a LOT of plot threads that are left loose at the end of this book, which is fine when I know they'll be picked back up in the next one, but would have annoyed the holy hell out of me if I'd have had to wait for the sequels to be published.) The fantasy elements of the book are intriguing, and - true to form for Bujold - impressively original. Well, okay, the concept of the sharing knife, and the other mechanics of the worldbuilding are unique and fascinating; Dag himself is basically a one-armed clone of Aragorn. (Older than he looks, travels a lot, excellent fighter/woodsman, one of a dwindling race that was around before the common man, unappreciated guardian against the evils of the world, nobly flings himself into danger, carrying a number of scars both physical and mental, etc.) But the fact that neither Dag nor Fawn strays particularly far from their archetype never bothered me. They're both written with such vivacity and wit and spark that I enjoyed spending time in their story and in their world, and will certainly be diving into the sequels... not least because I'm dying to know what's going on with that knife! 4.5 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: I thought it was great, and I think it's worth a try for anyone who is looking for a light read with a solid love story, and doesn't mind the fantasy trappings (or, alternately, anyone who's looking for an interesting fantasy world and doesn't mind a serious dose of romance).more
...this book had the potential to be great.....but someone threw a stick in the author's spokes when it came to the relationship thing....hello! Some of us can follow a relationship line AND a storyline at the same time!!! This is not an adventure fantasy book, which it had full potential of being in the beginning....it's just a slow forbidden love story with an age difference and a culture difference.....been there, doing that.more
The names in the book irritated me at first, possibly because I hadn't read fantasy in a while. Otherwise, 'Dag' and 'Fawn' may not have struck me so hard. I wouldn't call this book a quality read. It lies firmly within the realm of fantasy-romance. If I wasn't so blantantly a fan of cheesy romances (a perk of also having studied lit in college), then I would be embarassed for someone else to know I've read this book.Recommend it to your best friend or for plane flight. Don't read it if you're lookign for something intellectual, or even groundbreaking. (which is a crappy pun, btw)more
Call me hopeful, but I'm ideally looking for a mix of sci-fi and romance in the same novel. It's always interesting to have a major sci-fi plotline with a minor romance thread running through it. So, I thought I'd hit the jack-pot when I came across Louis McMaster Bujold's "The Sharing Knife" series". I mean Bujold ! That Hugo winner! She writing a sci-fi novel which features romance - what could be better than that ? Many things, it now appears.You're probably getting my drift by now, but let me inflict a philosophical euphemism on you at this point : Most things in life are not that easily gotten. Ergo : I'm disappointed in the first book - Beguilement. Yes, it had new ideas of fantasy, but it read almost like a romance novel, and not the nice kinds (read : woman has spine) either. No, really !The woman here is Dawn Blufield, all of 18 years. She's run away from home, because she's gotten pregnant by a local boy, who's refusing responsibility, and being generally mean and nasty. Also, desis hold up your heads now, because izzat and honor, and blaming the woman are apparently world-wide concepts, known also to the farmers of this novel. Thus Dawn, mortified by her parent’s embarrassment if they found out has hit the road.The hero is 55 year old Dag, who's a Lakewalker Patroller. Lakewalkers are people who guard the common folk against malices and blight bogles, which are evil monsters that suck up your "ground" or life-force. Lakewalkers have an acute sense of others’ "ground", i.e.; they can sense happiness, sadness and rough edges in the ebb and flow of your life-force. So, Dag can sense Dawn's "ground" , and she shines so brightly in it, that he calls her "(Little) Spark". (Oh, kill me now !)OK, so now the story : Dawn meets Dag. Dag secretly smitten. Enter Malice. Dag to the rescue. And then the event that propels the story (or at least that's what I thought) : Dawn uses the wrong Sharing Knife on the Malice, and it mistakenly gets "primed". That is a problem, because it has been "primed" with her now dead baby's ground (she aborts due to the malice's man-handling of her) and the baby hadn't even been born yet. Dag doesn't know what implications this has, because Sharing Knives are "primed" with Lakewalker "ground" and done by the LakeWalkers themselves. So, he persuades Dawn to come with them to his LakeWalker Patrol so that someone more knowledgeable about Sharing Knives, a Maker for instance, can find out.Well, I thought that the "finding out" would be done quickly and then the story would proceed in a sci-fi-ish manner. But, instead, the rest of the book is devoted to Dawn and Dag making the journey to her home, to clear up the air so to speak, and falling in love along the way.Now, I have no problem with romance (in fact quite the contrary), but let's not act like lovesick teenagers here. The book, at this point has become quite Mills-and-Boon-ish in character. Dag, is the older, wiser, and worldlier of the two, and he longs to cherish her and protect her, blah blah blah . . . And she, actually is a teenager, vastly under-esteemed by her family, and forever taunted by her various siblings. But, but, but . . . she's earnest and intelligent and kind and compassionate . . . And this really is true-blue love, where they communicate via ESP. OK, then !This isn't quite what I expected. If I did want to read a love story about a much older, more powerful man, who wanted to protect and cherish this wispy little woman with a heart of gold and a large brood of (nasty/dependent) siblings, I would go read Betty Neels instead. Granted, from what I can recall, her heroes are almost always handsome Dutch Doctors , and Dag is of unknown country, he sounds fairly Scandinavian to me - close enough, no ?The book, like the rest of us, is not all bad. The characters are well-drawn – I liked Dag’s character quite a bit; he has his head screwed on right, has no fixed notions of “women’s” work since he actually nurses Dawn through her miscarriage. This might be due to the fact that his LakeWalker culture as portrayed is matriarchial, sort-of; when a man and woman are bound together, the man comes to the woman’s family tent and not the other way around. Plus he seems fairly liberal, except in the parts where he goes around calling her “Little Spark” :-) .Dawn is a likeable character too, I only wish she wasn’t so small and petite, and needing to be “protected”. How about a 6’ woman with self-esteem issues – now you could really introduce some interesting psycho-babble there!As a romance novel, this one isn’t so bad, but coming from the likes of Bujold, as highly regarded in the sci-fi genre as she is, this is a massive disappointment. This is a sometimes cringe-worthy, and sometimes awkwardly lovey-dovey novel in the guise of a sci-fi tome.When I ended the book, I was actually quite amazed that this was the work of a Hugo winner. But after reading a few reviews on the net, I am convinced that there are a lot more folks just as put off by this book as I am, and that Bujold is quite at the nadir of her form here. Hopefully, her other books will be better !more
I enjoyed this very much - I'd heard it recommended as a wonderful love story, and it is that, but it's also exciting and fascinating.Fawn is a young farmer girl, striking out on her own after an unfortunate encounter with a fellow farmer. While on the road, she sees a Lakewalker patrol - mysterious supposed necromancers who use magic to hunt and kill malices, creatures who kill and enslave humans and Lakewalkers alike.When Fawn later runs afoul of bandits enslaved by a malice threatening a nearby town, one of the Lakewalkers, Dag, comes to her aid. However, it is Fawn who kills the malice, stabbing it with the Sharing Knife Dag throws to her while occupied with one of the malice's mud men.This causes a mysterious change in another of Dag's sharing knives, urging him to take Fawn with him to head homeward to consult with a maker to discover what fawn did with the knife to change it. On their journey, despite Dag's misgivings, the two fall in love and this causes a whole boatload of more problems for them...This story tells of a charming love and explores prejudice and rumor. Plus, the malices are creepy! : )Recommended.more
Stupid me. I bought the 2nd in this series before finishing this first book.It is not science fiction. It is barely fantasy... sure, it's a fantastical world with some "magical" skills, but really... it's a romance novel. And not a very good one at that (try Shinn's works if you want a decent romantic fantasy). It's a Harlequin, just with a non-Earth setting.The PLOT:Girl (20 yr old) meets man (40ish). She's infatuated. He knows better - and is told by his frigid female mentor (aka spinster) that he should leave the girl alone - but he can't help himself so they "fall in love" and he teaches her the "ways of love". Then they meet her family. Yup, that's the story.Gag.more
Fawn Bluefield wants out of her family farm and into the outside world and Dag, a Lakewalker patroller attracts her and takes her under his wing. Lakewalkers are waging a war against "malices". Malices are immortal entities who draw life out of people and make them into warped versions of themselves.When Fawn is taken by malices Dag has to rescue her and this changes their relationship forever.Bujold is a great writer and I have never been disappointed by her, this is no exception.more
I am always amazed by the efficiency with which Bujold can take you into a new world. This book is an introduction, you know there is much more story to follow at the end of this book, but it is a satisfying read as she introduces the two principle characters, their cultures, and their world via them getting to know each other.more
Bujold's Vorkosigan series is one of my all time favorites, and I was reluctant for some time to try her fantasy series. I'm glad I finally did. Her usual graceful, efficient language, rich characters,and satisfying plot is here. One thing I am typically frustrated with in fantasy is series where each book is more concerned about creating a cliffhanger than being a complete book unto itself. Bujold does not fall into that trap. She creates interest for the next book but this bbook also stands on its own. I don't think the tension in the book was as high as it could have been, but the story was thoroughly enjoyable. I think the stage has been set for the real story to begin in the following books.more
This series had been repeatedly recommended to me, starting nearly a year ago, by a friend of mine. This friend had also advised that I avoid beginning the books too close to bedtime and that I obtain, at the very least, the first two books of this quad so that I could read them back to back. I really need to start taking her word at greater weight.I waited for a long time before bothering to track down a copy of this first book this series because at the time I had only just read the appallingly bad C.L. Wilson book, Lord of the Fading Lands, and the two series have unfortunate parallels. They are both fantasy/romance books. They are both four-volume sets. They both are written from the dual main characters' points of view. They both focus on uniting two different cultures of peoples. And they both revolve around May/December romances.The thing is, in this Bujold book, all of these things are done well. The romance between the characters is important to the book, but it's the fantasy element that fuels the plot. The alternating voices of the characters are fluid and focused, and never once devolve into a he felt/she felt situation. The May/December aspect is handled deftly and in a reasonably practical manner. Fawn pretends through about two-thirds of the book to be older than she actually is, and Dag avoids announcing his precise age until directly asked it by Fawn's father. There was a part in the book where the Dag and Fawn were enjoying sex together, Fawn was ready to launch into round two, and Dag was all, Wait! I need more recovery time, which had me laughing aloud.It is through Fawn's perspective that this fantasy world is introduced to the reader, that for the most part that introduction is done very well. I hate infodumping, and that seems to be kept a minimum. I think it helps an awful lot because of how Bujold has paced her novel, and I'm really glad she's such a sure hand at this. I was particularly pleased at reading the action scene at the very beginning of the novel, which helped so much to break up the introduction of information by incorporating the realistic little wrinkles of (1) kill the monster, and (2) survive the aftermath, before (3) the background of the characters and the world in which they live is explained.I particularly enjoyed the characterizations here. Even secondary characters feel very organic to the plot. Character descriptions are fleshed out; everyone has grown up from some reasonable place in the story; conflicts between characters are written as resulting very naturally from personality and opinion clashes. I was also left wanting to know an awful lot more about the secondary characters, and I really hope the main characters run into them again in a later book.There were a lot of unanswered questions left dangling at the end of this novel, but then this is the first in a four-volume set. I'm content have some of the more basic whats of this world described here as long of as more detailed whys are explained later.Oh, yeah, the later books. Not only had I ignored my friend the first time she recommended this series, I ignored her advice too. Now I'm left cranky and scant on sleep following a late-night reading session, and it'll be at least five days before I can get my hands on book two. Grrr.more
I love the Miles Vorkosigan books, and the Chalion series in a different way, but this? This is ostensibly fantasy, but the setting is just framing for a romance and a little soft porn. Fawn is a naive and chlidlike (though we keep being told how bright she is) girl of 16 or 17 who is rescued by a man in his 50s who is much more experienced in all ways. This alone I found somewhat squicky due to not just the difference in age, but that in power. If you like Mills and Boone or Harlequin (I'm not up on the romance genre), go for it. If not, avoid.I won't be reading any more in this series. What was Bujold thinking, and why wasn't she embarrassed to tell us?more
I found the fantasy aspects of this fascinating, but at times I felt more as if I were reading a Harlequin romance (cliches included) than a fantasy. I think I would have enjoyed it more if there'd been more depth and time to the details of fantasy, and if the romance had taken a bit longer to develop. As is, it was an enjoyable escape once I got into it (which did take a bit), but nothing I see myself revisiting. I would recommend this to young adults who enjoy fantasy though, girls at least. A few guys I knew had started this, and not gotten through it--having read it now, I'm not surprised. It really is more romance than fantasy when you break it down.more
Set in a rennaisance-oid fantasy land, this is the "love" story between a 'farmer' (normal human) and a 'lakewalker' (mystical people with very long life spans). The story line is very routine: young attractive female gets into trouble with an evil magical being, she is rescued by a a handsome male who can combat the evil magic. The female and male fall in love and get married (or did the marriage happen in book 2?)... Part of the lakewalker magic is giving the woman intense pleasure... verging on soft porn in description and inference. The idea of a 17 year old girl and a 40-something man in this type of relationship kind of creeped me out, too. I found the writing over-wordy and repetitious. This would have been a good short story.more
First in the Sharing Knife fantasy series. Bujold is most known for the Miles Vorkosigan science fiction series. This fantasy series is set in a world similar to a medieval Earth in which people are either farmers or Lakewalkers. Lakewalkers protect the land from malices, magical energy creatures that drain all life from the land. Lakewalkers and farmers have separate cultures and don't mingle. Fawn is a farmer girl and Dag a Lakewalker, and the two break all the rules. The world is interesting, but the story behind the ground and the sharing knives was difficult for me to understand.more
I'd been avoiding her fantasy because while her SF is very good I find it hard to read - Miles is just too much. Which is dumb, because I love the Cordelia books and enjoy the Miles ones in moderation...so having read Beguilement I now urgently need The Sharing Knife: Legacy and want to read the Chalion books too. Very interesting take on magic, great characters, reasonably good reasons for actions.more
Good. It is very obviously only half a book, but it does have a fairly satisfying interim resolution.more
This is a beautifully told, character-driven fantasy. Bujold gets the heavy action out of the way early, and then gives us a leisurely opportunity to get to know our two protagonists and their world better. In many ways TSK:B is a departure from previous Bujold. There is little or no political maneuvering, for a start. And there is no villain to be unmasked and defeated. The humor is definitely subtler and perhaps less pervasive. Some readers have complained that the book isn't what they expected--that this is a romance being deceptively marketed as a fantasy. I had a good idea what the story would be like and the author pretty much delivered exactly what I was looking for. The characters are original and well drawn, sympathetic despite the unlikely aspects of their romance. The sex is surprisingly direct, more so than in other books I have read from this source, but tastefully done. Those who are looking for action driven fantasy may be disappointed, although I suspect that there will be plenty of action in the second book. Reading TSK:B is a bit like going to a concert hall and listening to an orchestra play the first two movements of a symphony (an opening allegro, and then an extended slow second movement), and then everyone being told to come back in nine months for the second half of the concert. The only real complaint I can come up with about this book is that it's really only half a book. Despite the perils faces by our protagonists early in the story, one has a sense that the worst is yet to come--that before long there will be very difficult choices to be made and inevitably a call for personal sacrifice.more
The Sharing Knife: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold (8/10)Fantasy/Romance. Bujold has said this book was an opportunity to play and see if she could write a story where the romance gets less overshadowed by the plot and characters, as usually happens with her. I think she's done a good job, although the book doesn't feel as if it has quite as much depth as some ofher others. All the same, the world building set up is solid, the characters are nice people and I look forward to the rest of the story. The book was cut in half for length reasons and it does stop rather abruptly with a lot of the romance sorted out but most of the plot still awaiting its turn, so it's worth being aware of that when you start reading. The second half, The Sharing Knife: Legacy, comes out next year.more
Another surprising find. Again, I loved the byplay between the two main characters and the love interest therein. But moreover, I would just have to say that this book was charming. So much so that I immediately had to find the second volume, and I finished the book in one day.more
I really enjoyed this. It's mainly a love story, I think. But there's an interesting world and some truly enjoyable moments between the characters. I'm looking forward to the sequel.more
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