Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Sharing Knife, The Beguilement - Lois MacMaster Bujold

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.

I'm rapidly eating my words about not being a fantasy fan. After Elizabeth Vaughan and CL Wilson it's now Lois McMasters Bujold that captures my attention and leaves me salivating for more.

I loved this first instalment in The Sharing Knife trilogy. She is very good in the world building department. So good in fact that I did not feel this was romance but that it was fantasy with a romantic element and I still loved it. Me, the person who is always complaining about not liking fantasy!

We first get to know the characters, who they are, what they do, what's important in their world and what moral code they live by and only after that do we see them falling for each other. Fawn is a Farmer and Dag is a Lakewalker. Lakewalkers have groundsense, they can sense what surrounds them being it people or things. Farmers don't seem to have any particular ability and they are considered by the Lakewalkers as lower beings and relationships between the two are highly discouraged by both groups.

When Dag and Fawn meet she has just been kidnapped by a malice, an evil being that Lakewalkers are bound to fight and destroy. Dag saves Fawn and in doing so they create a bond through the sharing knife incident. I loved the main characters, Fawn was very young and it showed but she was also fun, intelligent, brave and Dag... well, what can we say about Dag. He is one of those unsung heroes, he has had his share of misfortune but doesn't let that turn him bitter, he is a gentleman, protects the weaker and punishes the bad guys. Oh yes Dag was a wonderful character and a wonderful hero and I most certainly want more of them both and their world.

We find out some of Fawn and Dag's past (more Fawn than Dag) and we get to know Fawn's family and their problems in accepting their relationship. We have a glimpse of how Dag's family is going to deal with it but the book closes before they get to Lakewalker lands. As other series I've been reading lately this is a book better read with the second one already in hand because the story doesn't finish with the first one.

Grade: 5/5

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