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The Sharing Knife: Beguilement
  by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Diva Review:

I have a confession to make, but don't tell anyone... I like romance! I know everyone is gasping right now, but bear with me. I am not talking about harlequin romance type stories, although many do love those. I am talking about how two people fall in love in the backdrop of other things going on. So not romance for romance sake, if you understand what I mean. So why am I confessing this? The Sharing Knife series!

If you have not yet read any of Bujold's novels, you are doing yourself a great disservice. She has won four Hugo awards, two Nebula awards and a slew of other accolades. I have been reading her novels for years and was excited to start on her latest fantasy series, the Sharing Knife series. Beguilement is the first book.

Let me start out by saying this is a 5 star book in my opinion. This is not your normal fantasy book, there are no epic clash of armies...no wizards throwing fireballs and wiping out the dominions of evil...it is a story of human nature. It is a story about two people learning to love and live in the backdrop of their own cultures.

Dag is a lakewalker, on a patrol to find and kill "malices" that grow and kill the environment and people. If malices grow strong enough it will be an epic clash, but if lakewalkers are diligent and find the malices early enough it will be a smaller battle although still difficult. Lakewalkers have the power to see and manipulate "ground." Think of ground as the force that all things have living things have stronger grounds then inanimate ones.

Fawn is a farmer girl, around twenty years old and fleeing her family after an unfortunate night of seduction. Her pregnancy is not showing yet, but she feels she needs to be away before it is. Farmers are the generic name that lakewalkers give for any non-lakewalker. Farmers fear and distrust lakewalkers as sorcerers because of their ground sense.

Dag and Fawn are thrust together by circumstance and find they are falling in love with each other, but lakewalkers and farmers can't marry... it is tradition... it is cultural bias... it is just not done. While they are struggling to understand each other, they must struggle to understand themselves, and struggle to have others understand also. This novel is about those struggles, not about wars or monsters or magic... it is about Fawn and Dag. If you have to have action and can't stand romance, this may not be the book for you.

This was another novel that I just could not put down. I read it as often as I could and for as long as I could. This is almost a pure character-driven novel set in the backdrop of Bujold's latest fantasy world. The writing style is clean, uncomplicated and perfect for the story. I have been pleasantly amazed by the consistent quality of Bujold's writing. Once I finished Beguilement, I immediately grabbed the next novel in the series, Legacy. I have now finished three of the four novels in the series and can say the series is fantastic!
science fiction






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