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
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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 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
- 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