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Beguilement

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Alternate Cover edition here. Troubled young Fawn Bluefield seeks a life beyond her family's farm. Enroute to the city, she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers. The necromancers armed with human bone knives fight "malices", immortal entities that draw out life, enslaving humans and animals. Dag saves Fawn from a malice - at a devastating cost. Their fates are now bound in a Alternate Cover edition here. Troubled young Fawn Bluefield seeks a life beyond her family's farm. Enroute to the city, she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers. The necromancers armed with human bone knives fight "malices", immortal entities that draw out life, enslaving humans and animals. Dag saves Fawn from a malice - at a devastating cost. Their fates are now bound in a remarkable journey.


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Alternate Cover edition here. Troubled young Fawn Bluefield seeks a life beyond her family's farm. Enroute to the city, she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers. The necromancers armed with human bone knives fight "malices", immortal entities that draw out life, enslaving humans and animals. Dag saves Fawn from a malice - at a devastating cost. Their fates are now bound in a Alternate Cover edition here. Troubled young Fawn Bluefield seeks a life beyond her family's farm. Enroute to the city, she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers. The necromancers armed with human bone knives fight "malices", immortal entities that draw out life, enslaving humans and animals. Dag saves Fawn from a malice - at a devastating cost. Their fates are now bound in a remarkable journey.

30 review for Beguilement

  1. 4 out of 5

    thefourthvine

    Note: I believe I am the only person on the face of the earth who hated this book. If you liked it, this review will annoy you. Also, be advised that there will be spoilers for what we might loosely term the plot in what follows. This book suffers from three main problems: 1. A fascinating world that gets built in the first few pages and then utterly abandoned in favor of 2. An amazingly unengaging, unbelievable romance between a typical Bujold guy and 3.Mary Sue The thing is, this is actually a so Note: I believe I am the only person on the face of the earth who hated this book. If you liked it, this review will annoy you. Also, be advised that there will be spoilers for what we might loosely term the plot in what follows. This book suffers from three main problems: 1. A fascinating world that gets built in the first few pages and then utterly abandoned in favor of 2. An amazingly unengaging, unbelievable romance between a typical Bujold guy and 3.Mary Sue The thing is, this is actually a solid fantasy world; it had the potential to be as interesting as the one Bujold created in The Curse of Chalion, and maybe in future books it will be. But here, the world gets shunted aside so that 85% of the book can be about the Great Romance. Which is not all that great, in my opinion, or even tolerable. Look. I love romance FF. But I'm not a good romance reader; I tend to choke on emotion, and an author has to be good to get me seriously invested in a relationship. But. But. Even if I loved romances, I think I'd choke on this one. Our heroine, Fawn, a hideously naive and very young farmgirl, meets and falls (intensely, world-endingly, OMG GREATEST PASSION OF ALL TIME) in love with the hero during a week in which she: is jilted, leaves home and everything she has ever known, is violently abducted, is nearly raped, and is made to miscarry by a creature she'd believed was just a myth. Among, you know, other notable events. Most people would be too distracted by these events to breathe, never mind fall in love. And our hero, Dag - intelligent, highly talented, much older and more knowledgeable and talented than Fawn, with a Tragic Past and a Great Lost Love - meets and falls in love with Fawn despite a) having steadfastly refused all romance since the Great Lost Love, b) being emotionally distant and embittered, c) having absolutely nothing in common with Fawn, and d) being old enough and smart enough to know better. For a person like Dag to fall in love - well, I could buy it, but it would have to take months or years, not days. There'd need to be some build, is my point, and not just a shortcut to heat coiling in his belly at her touch. And Fawn - she's adorable, cheerful, industrious, sweet, resilient, essentially flawless, and utterly uninteresting. In other words: hello, Mary Sue! I think I first suspected that she was a Mary Sue when, in the first couple of pages, I was told that she has long, lovely, bouncing curls even though she has been living rough. I have curly hair. Trust me when I tell you that after a few nights of sleeping in haystacks and a few days of hard travel, it would be a giant matted mess attractive only to birds seeking a nesting spot. Only Mary Sues have hair that stays gorgeous under such circumstances. But, look, I'm not just judging her on the hair. Fawn has so many other traits (Industry despite major illness! Open-mindedness despite being raised in an utterly closed-minded culture! Cheerful acceptance of everything! Adored by all who meet her!) that make her Mary Sue that I'm saddened that Bujold, who has created fabulous characters, wrote her. This book does display Bujold's very competent writing. And I have a vague, distant hope that a future volume of the series will explain the weird romance - maybe it's unnatural or magical in origin? But, basically, reading this, I found myself wishing Bujold would just write some terrible AU Spock/original female character and post it on fanfiction.net so she could get this out of her system. If you can buy into the romance, you'll love this book. If you can't, you'll want to stab something while you read this, because the romance is all this book is. I can't, in good conscience, recommend this for anyone, but I will say that many people seem to love it. Just - oh my god, so very much not for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    carol.

    I cry foul! I thought Bujold wrote sophisticated fantasies in interesting worlds (Hugo winner? Hello? ), but this one is strictly pedestrian, and I don't mean in an alternative transportation, heart-healthy way. We follow a pregnant farm girl who has left home with the half-formed intention of seeking a new life in the city, when she's captured by a 'malice' (really??), a sinister force that is converting animals and people into frightening biddable mud-men (David Edding's snake powered mud-men, I cry foul! I thought Bujold wrote sophisticated fantasies in interesting worlds (Hugo winner? Hello? ), but this one is strictly pedestrian, and I don't mean in an alternative transportation, heart-healthy way. We follow a pregnant farm girl who has left home with the half-formed intention of seeking a new life in the city, when she's captured by a 'malice' (really??), a sinister force that is converting animals and people into frightening biddable mud-men (David Edding's snake powered mud-men, anyone?) for Evil Purposes. Thankfully, a member of the Native American Lakewalker tribe patrol is on the track of said mud-men and the malice. He saves her, they take refuge, she's stolen again when he leaves (!), they kill the malice together and then fall in love in a farmhouse interlude. (Believe me, I'm spoiling nothing, as this takes place in the first 60 pages and is utterly predictable). The rest of the story is about discovering their love and commitment Against Outside Forces, to the Dismay of their Families. (Ah, the timelessness of Romeo and Juliet). The fantasy world setting and the Evil Forces are forgotten as we zero in on their burgeoning relationship. In fact, it's a vaguely creepy, as it takes place between a worldly, widowed 55 year-old man and a naive 18 year-old farm girl, and of course involves teaching her about The Joys of Sex, titillating any eleven-year olds reading. But don't worry about the age difference--his people are long-lived (calling Edward...). The one positive--he's differently abled, as he has only one hand. Oh, and he's tall and thin; she's short and round (forgive me, oh Librarian, but I heard "jack sprat" echo in the background once I heard their descriptions). Normally, I wouldn't even rate a book like this, except it was so dismally envisioned and written that I can only surmise an evil Doppelganger has taken Bujold's place and is endeavoring to destroy her reputation. As a public service I'm sharing my thoughts, in hopes of steering you towards--oh, I don't know. Go pick something from your TBR pile. If you are truly in the mood for some fantasy-world, naive-female romance, skip this and read a more original fantasy version, Winds of Fate. At least the characters are more sophisticated in their development, and the world-building deeper, and better integrated.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Several years ago I stumbled on Bujold's Vorkosigan series when I randomly checked out A Civil Campaign from the library. As one of the later books in that series, it was definitely the wrong place to start and left me rather puzzled and at sea. But then I discovered Cordelia's Honor and fell in love with both Cordelia and Aral, and dove into all the Miles books afterwards--one of the great SF series, seriously--and then I finished and thought, what next? So it turned out that Bujold has written Several years ago I stumbled on Bujold's Vorkosigan series when I randomly checked out A Civil Campaign from the library. As one of the later books in that series, it was definitely the wrong place to start and left me rather puzzled and at sea. But then I discovered Cordelia's Honor and fell in love with both Cordelia and Aral, and dove into all the Miles books afterwards--one of the great SF series, seriously--and then I finished and thought, what next? So it turned out that Bujold has written several fantasy books along the way. Frankly, those have been a lot more hit-and-miss for me than the Vorkosigan books, which are mostly hits. I bought Beguilement several years ago and read it a couple of times, and thought it was one of Bujold's better non-Vorkosigan books. But there are a few things in it that give me pause for thought, and I have to admit this book eventually ended up in the give-away pile, so it wasn't an unmitigated success. This is the first in a series of four books set in kind of a frontier-era America with magic, what seems to be either an alternate version of our history or a post-apocalyptic world that has reverted back to a 19th century level of technology. There's a major social division between the farmers and the Lakewalkers, who (for better or worse) seem to be an analog of Native Americans, and who hold all of the human magical powers in this society. The Lakewalkers are charged with the duty of killing "malices," which are really horrible sort of zombie-like monsters with serious magical and mental control powers, and which periodically rise out of the earth and cause mass death and destruction before the Lakewalkers kill them off with the eponymous sharing knives, magical knives made of Lakewalker thigh bones (eww?). Fawn is a young farmer girl, about 18 years old, pregnant and running away from home, when she has the extreme bad luck of running into a malice and its army of brain-controlled servants. At the last minute she's saved by Dag, a Lakewalker in his 50's who is missing one of his hands from a run-in with a malice-controlled wolf several years ago. He takes care of her injuries and takes her to the nearest large town, and despite the really serious age difference between them, and a major taboo on both sides against farmer/Lakewalker relationships, an attraction grows. This is an interesting fantasy world with some unique and intriguing magical twists, but this first book in the series does focus heavily on the development of the romantic relationship, which some people will enjoy and others not at all. I'm not a fan of May/December relationships but, to give it some credit, at least the book doesn't gloss overthe problem. (There's also some talk about how Lakewalkers are much longer-lived than farmers, but whatever. She's still 18, he's 55.) Also, for what it's worth, the remaining books in the series are less about Dag and Fawn's relationship and more about trying to solve some of the problems in their world. I enjoyed this book, even though it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger and it took me about 8 years to work up the motivation to read the rest of the series. I kind of skimmed through the second book (too much drahmah) but just finished the third (pretty good) and the fourth (surprisingly, significantly better) this last week. As a series, they're worth reading if you like fantasy and aren't put off by the strong romance component in the first book or two. 3.5 stars. Content advisory: one or two fairly explicit sex scenes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    The characters in this book are lovable. Every thing else seem typical for a love story, but the tone of the writing was incredibly inviting and almost soothing. Fawn and Dag were an unlikely pair; Dag with a military persona, and Fawn a lowly, naive farm girl, albeit witty, clever, and resourceful. Fawn was a damsel in distress rescued by Dag, that was how their paths crossed. They pushed old boundary lines to be together, against all odds. The story was not all romance, there was magic, action The characters in this book are lovable. Every thing else seem typical for a love story, but the tone of the writing was incredibly inviting and almost soothing. Fawn and Dag were an unlikely pair; Dag with a military persona, and Fawn a lowly, naive farm girl, albeit witty, clever, and resourceful. Fawn was a damsel in distress rescued by Dag, that was how their paths crossed. They pushed old boundary lines to be together, against all odds. The story was not all romance, there was magic, action and adventure that gave they story a bit more depth. Overall it was not too bad, I had a great time.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    Okay...first let us make no mistake. This is a romance, a love story. The synopsis may make it sound like an adventure, it may talk about the Lake Walkers, the Patrolers in mysterious terms...but it amounts to a love story. The inexperienced young farm girl meets the mysterious, older and more knowledgeable Lake Walker, shows herself more competent and able than expected. Then their love must overcome various and sundry obstacles (I'd mention a couple but that might be considered giving spoilers Okay...first let us make no mistake. This is a romance, a love story. The synopsis may make it sound like an adventure, it may talk about the Lake Walkers, the Patrolers in mysterious terms...but it amounts to a love story. The inexperienced young farm girl meets the mysterious, older and more knowledgeable Lake Walker, shows herself more competent and able than expected. Then their love must overcome various and sundry obstacles (I'd mention a couple but that might be considered giving spoilers) etc., etc., and so on, and so on. The book opens with a bit of action and we get an explanation of the title, some background on the world and then we launch off into the romance. I knew I was in trouble when it took 2 chapters to travel from the farm where they'd been staying to the place they were going and all that actually happened along the way was adolescent conversation. So, if you're looking for a romance novel (and I know some of you will be glad of this) this is your book. If you're looking for a fantasy that concerns the subject of the book's synopsis (other than the romance of course) you're out of luck. On the plus side for many (and I'm not dissing the book or those who like romances) If you're looking for a romance this seems like it might be one you'll find satisfying. Good reading to you who like this type story. As for myself...I don't plan to follow up with the rest of the series.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    I waited a year because someone had warned me that The Sharing Knife: Beguilement was actually the first half of a book summarily chopped in half. So I waited until the second came out. The story appears to be a fantasy set in some pastoral world near water (I later found out the setting was a parallel world Great Lakes region, an area I'd never seen, and so did not recognize), where we are introduced to two cultures living in uneasy coexistence: the Farmers and the Lakewakers, who patrol everyw I waited a year because someone had warned me that The Sharing Knife: Beguilement was actually the first half of a book summarily chopped in half. So I waited until the second came out. The story appears to be a fantasy set in some pastoral world near water (I later found out the setting was a parallel world Great Lakes region, an area I'd never seen, and so did not recognize), where we are introduced to two cultures living in uneasy coexistence: the Farmers and the Lakewakers, who patrol everywhere looking for malices (bogles to the Farm people) that suck all the life and energy out of people, animals, land. The resultant blight can last a century or more, and affected are not just the living, but the environment such as rocks and soil. The Lakewalkers aren't particularly trusted by the Farm folk, who own and farm land, but are protected by them: the Farm folk are unable to fight the bogles. The story begins when a Farm girl--Fawn, just barely eighteen--runs away from home, gets grabbed by a malice, is rescued by a Lakewalker, and ends up spending enough time with the man (for reasons having to do with the eponymous Sharing Knives) that she begins to fall for him. Even though she's eighteen and he's fifty-five. Bujold has given us middle-aged, battle-weary heroes before, in Aral of the Miles books, and Caz of the Chalion books, and she makes them fascinating and distinct. Dag is tired, and missing a hand, though anyone who assumes he can't hold his own in battle is in for a nasty surprise. He's grief-driven, so tight-wired that he's got no emotional edge on an eighteen year old--one could say that he's emotionally retarded by his long, shock-filled life. Everyone in both cultures disapproves of these two as a pair; she, a blithe spirit, becomes stubborn, and he, sheepish, begins to wake up to the possibilities of life again, instead of the close focus on methods of delivering efficient death. Together they are an anomaly, and not just because of the age and cultural divide, but because something happened when they killed that malice together to make it clear that there's a lot of mystery still buried in their history. This is a new world, at least initially quieter in tone and drive than the Miles books. Many fans have grumped about anything Bujold does that is not-Miles. But the over-arcing Miles story itself has become not-Miles, at least, the powerful emotional overdrive and desperate-death threatening political situation (all fuel-injected by Mile's high octane personal problems) are not the same rocket, or rather, that rocket has achieved high orbit. Very much present in these two books are the signature Bujoldian gracenotes: everyday humor thoroughly grounding flights of heroism, angst that never whines, grief that does not overwhelm the story with scenes meant to drench the reader in pity. What Bujold does in the first book as she carefully develops every character (never settling for stereotypes or single-motive actions) is remind the reader that outside the firelight and the merry dancing, dark things do prowl.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    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 aroun 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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Felicia

    This book was...not good. This author is great. This book...Harlequin-y

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    The Sharing Knife is about Fawn Bluefield, a young woman, pregnant but unwed, and scorned by the father of her baby. Fearing the shame and outrage that will fall on her when news of her pregnancy gets around, she decides to run away from home and make a new life for herself in the city of Glassforge, where she will pretend to be a widow. On her way, she encounters a group of Lakewalkers, a mysterious race of people who patrol the land, searching for and destroying malices, also known as blight b The Sharing Knife is about Fawn Bluefield, a young woman, pregnant but unwed, and scorned by the father of her baby. Fearing the shame and outrage that will fall on her when news of her pregnancy gets around, she decides to run away from home and make a new life for herself in the city of Glassforge, where she will pretend to be a widow. On her way, she encounters a group of Lakewalkers, a mysterious race of people who patrol the land, searching for and destroying malices, also known as blight bogles to the farmers. Fawn hides from them, and soon after continues on her way. Unfortunately she walks right into a fierce battle between the Lakewalkers and a malice of unusual strength. Two of the malice's slaves kidnap her, meaning to drain her and her unborn baby of life so that it will gain power. She is rescued by Dag, a Lakewalker who was tracking the two slaves, but not before the malice steals the life of Fawn's baby and she miscarries. Actually, during the fight to free her, Fawn is the one who kills the malice, by stabbing it with Dag's sharing knife, which is the only way to kill a malice. Sharing knives are made of human bone, but only bone from a willing adult donor. The knives are "primed", or enchanted, when a Lakewalker gives his or her death to it, that is they stab themselves through the heart, usually on the battlefield to avoid being taken by a malice, or in the face of incurable illness. Dag was carrying two sharing knives, one that was primed, to kill the malice, and one that wasn't. The one that wasn't primed is made from his wife's bone, who died twenty years ago. Unfortunately Fawn didn't know which to use, and so used both. The second knife is now primed, and Dag doesn't know how or why, although he puts that thought behind him, in the more immediate need to take care of Fawn. Exhausted from the fight and the Malice's lingering influence, Dag and Fawn ride to a nearby abandoned farm, where Dag does what he can to help her. Eventually she is well enough that they can travel on to Glassforge, there to meet up with Dag's patrol of Lakewalkers. Not surpisingly, Fawn begins to develope feelings for Dag, who saved her life, and so does Dag; Fawn is pretty, spirited, and intelligent. Dag keeps his distance though, knowing that Lakewalkers and farmers do not mix, and Fawn does as well, still stung by her previous lover's rejection. When they arrive at Glassforge, Dag asks permission to leave and consult with a maker, to find out what must be done with the knife. His patrol leader and aunt, Mari, agrees, although they must complete their current patrol first. The Lakewalkers all treat Fawn with respect for her role in killing the malice, and kindly allow her to stay with them, since she is still too weak from her miscarriage to find work. Eventually though, Dag and Fawn cannot hide their feelings for each other anymore, and against all better judgement and the advice of Mari, they become a couple. Not long after, Dag finishes his patrol, and he and Fawn set off for Dag's homeland, in the North. First however, Dag feels that Fawn needs to make an appearance at her family home, to let them know that she is well, since she ran away without leaving word. While at Fawn's home, Dag proposes to her, causing an uproar. Fawn of course agrees and they make plans to stay in Bluefield long enough to have a proper marriage, before leaving for Dag's home. On a scale of 1--10, this rates 5. I think Bujold had some really great ideas. Groundsense/magic? Awesome. A one handed protagonist? Awesome. A polyandrous society? Awesome. But. Fawn really annoyed me. Bujold tried to make her engaging, and strong, but it didn't feel right to me. Sure having Fawn kill the malice ought to have made her strong. But she only managed to kill it through a combination of luck and accident. And she just has no back bone at all. She seems completely dependent on Dag. Not a good start to winning me over. However, I was more or less okay with that, and up until 2/3 through the book I would have given it a 7. But then they go on that stupid detour to Fawn's home! Right around page 250, I think, is where my logic circuit sent a BS alert to my consciousness and my disbelief slipped a few notches. All of a sudden they go from being on a journey to find out what happened to the sharing knife, to being in the middle of a family drama/romance. Which is not what I signed up for. The main number one problem I have is the relationship itself between Dag and Fawn. It just feels wrong. Disturbing, almost. First of all there is the age difference of thirty-seven years. Yes, 37 years. On top of that Fawn lied about her age, telling Dag she was twenty when in fact she was eighteen. Two years difference might not make much difference to someone Dag's age (which is fifty-five), but there can be a pretty big difference between eighteen and twenty. There was for me, and I was a pretty mature eighteen year old. There is an even bigger difference between the eighteen year old me and the twenty-two year old me. And Dag wasn't even upset to find out she had been lying to him. And she wasn't upset to find out his actual age (which he had been hiding from her). Now, Dag does come from a long lived people; barring death in battle or from illness he can expect to live to 120 +/-. That's not the issue, so much as the fact that Fawn is still a teenager. Technically, physically, she is an adult, but mentally and emotionally? She still has some growing to do; she is not his equal. Take the reason she got pregnant in the first place. She didn't think she would really be grown up until she had slept with a man, which is a very juvenile and ungrown up idea. And she confesses this to Dag the second day after they've met. Granted, they'd both been through a lot, but I can see how he would be real attracted to her at that point. If she had exhibited any kind of real growth over the course of the story then that would change the lanscape a bit, but she didn't, not from what I can see. One more thing. Where is the angst? Dag has been shutting himself off from romantic companionship for twenty years, because of the death of his wife. Then he meets a new girl (I just can't think of Fawn as a woman) and falls in love again, just like that. Not to mention the fact that the sharing knife made from his first wife's bone, that he meant to one day plunge into his heart, is in the posession of this new girl, who has possibly rendered it useless, and therefore made his wife's sacrifice in vain. WHY ISN'T HE ANGSTING? He should not be asking her to marry him, what, three weeks after they first met? If there is any situation in fantasy fiction that calls for angst, this is it. Not that I have a particular fondness for angst; it can wear thin pretty quickly. But it is a natural part of human emotion. I expect just a hint of it from Dag, but there really isn't any. Alright, this is fantasy, and I'm supposed to suspend my disbelief. But the things I'm supposed to suspend my disbelief for--groundsense, malices, etc... do not have any real world counterparts. People, however, are both real life and fictional. And just because I've decided to go along with whatever you concoct doesn't mean that if the people in the story do something like, well, this, that I can just accept it, no questions asked. If anyone had asked me what I thought was going to happen in the story, I would have said that Fawn definately developes feelings for Dag. He saved her life after all, it's a natural enough thing to happen. Dag might start feeling a little attracted to her, but he just has too much emotional baggage to simply say, here I am, I'm yours. Not to mention the guilt he should have felt over being attracted to/in love with someone that much younger than him. Over time, in which Fawn grows and matures, Dag gets over his issues, and then they get together.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline J

    This was a lovely fantasy romance by one of my new favorite authors. I wonder why people complain so much if there is a romance in a sci fi or fantasy novel? Are all the people complaining single and uninterested in love or do they just insist that people in fiction be unrealistically asexual? Anyway this book sucked me right in. This author has such a fluid clear style that I just love her stories and her people. The world building was great and I love the way there are no info dumps but the wo This was a lovely fantasy romance by one of my new favorite authors. I wonder why people complain so much if there is a romance in a sci fi or fantasy novel? Are all the people complaining single and uninterested in love or do they just insist that people in fiction be unrealistically asexual? Anyway this book sucked me right in. This author has such a fluid clear style that I just love her stories and her people. The world building was great and I love the way there are no info dumps but the world is revealed a bit at a time. The characterizations are wonderful and the romance was very natural and sweet.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beanbag Love

    This is more of a 4.75. Mainly because I felt the book changed so much from beginning to end. When we first meet Fawn and Dag the story seems like one of action and war. It's brutal and they both have to fight for their lives, saving each other in the process. It evolves into a rather simple, but very nice, romance, however. Since the over-riding arc of the story is completed over the course of several books, the change of tone makes this book itself feel unfinished. Since I plan to read on, it w This is more of a 4.75. Mainly because I felt the book changed so much from beginning to end. When we first meet Fawn and Dag the story seems like one of action and war. It's brutal and they both have to fight for their lives, saving each other in the process. It evolves into a rather simple, but very nice, romance, however. Since the over-riding arc of the story is completed over the course of several books, the change of tone makes this book itself feel unfinished. Since I plan to read on, it won't be a problem, but this book really kind of feels like a prologue. Fawn is a young farmer woman who has decided to leave her home and travel to the nearest big town, Glassforge. Dag is part of a unit of Lakewalkers patrolling the area in search of a "malice", a creature that can take animals and give them human shape and language, taking power from its victims until it's big enough to cause real havoc and bloodshed in the population. The Lakewalkers are tasked by tradition and their unique abilities to hunt and fight "malices" and the "mudmen" they create. They are not nearly appreciated enough by the farmers and vice versa. Dag and Fawn are both damaged in different ways and they touch something in each other that no one else can. Dag is much older than Fawn, be warned, this is definitely a May/December thing. But it ultimately doesn't seem squicky (she's of age, of course) or odd because he sees her as an equal and raises her confidence in ways no one else ever has. I often forgot the age difference as they became actual companions and partners and I fell for their romance in a big way. The writing is fantastic. Eloquent, descriptive, funny, and romantic, I was fairly enthralled the whole time. I'd been wanting to try this author for a long time but didn't know where to start. Finding books 1, 2 & 3 of this series at the UBS made my decision for me and I'm so happy for it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    wanderer (Para)

    “There are a lot of senseless things in the world, but not all of them are sorrows. Sometimes—I find—it helps to remember the other kind. Everybody knows some light, even if they forget when they’re down in the dark. Something”—he groped for a term that would work for her—“everyone else thinks is stupid, but you know is wonderful.” I'm not quite sure what to think about this book. I got it recommended on the promise of a loving, respectful relationship that works in spite of how strange it is “There are a lot of senseless things in the world, but not all of them are sorrows. Sometimes—I find—it helps to remember the other kind. Everybody knows some light, even if they forget when they’re down in the dark. Something”—he groped for a term that would work for her—“everyone else thinks is stupid, but you know is wonderful.” I'm not quite sure what to think about this book. I got it recommended on the promise of a loving, respectful relationship that works in spite of how strange it is...and it kind of does have that. And I did enjoy it, and it was the kind of slow, peaceful comfort read I needed during a difficult time. But at the same time, I wanted to take the absolute piss out of how cliché-ridden and cheesy and ridiculous it was constantly. The simplest way to describe it would be: what if Aragorn fell in love with a naive, young hobbit lady? Seriously. It's not that far off. Dag is as close of an Aragorn expy they get. Tall, dark, mysterious, with a dark past, and coming from a group of wandering people who protect the Shire Farmers from danger. Fawn is a young, short hobbit Farmer girl who ran away from home straight into trouble. He ends up rescuing her no less than three times in a day (among other things, from being almost raped by bandits) and she's possibly the most wide-eyed ingenue I had the misfortune to encounter in a book. Somehow, they fall in love. And for me, it didn't quite work. First, there's the fact that Dag is literally older than Fawn's dad. Then, it basically plays Bingo with romance clichés - all the mutual ogling, a girl who thinks she's ugly but is actually beautiful, a damsel in distress who must be protected (though she does save his life too), a rather bland female protagonist falling in love with an interesting and mysterious older man...and I could go on and on and on. It does help that they and everyone else are aware of how odd their situation is and that it's addressed at multiple points. It didn't feel like Dag was taking advantage of Fawn. But I could just not buy it. LotR jokes aside, superficial things are where the similarity ends. The world doesn't feel LotR-esque at all and is more similar to the American Midwest. Frontier-ish, if anything, with people slowly resettling the land that has been destroyed by malices. There's a role reversal where the settled folk or the Farmers are viewed as backwards by the wandering, tribal Lakewalkers who have magic and protect them and the land (but do not wish to rule over them). And in turn, the Farmers think Lakewalkers are evil necromancers. The dynamic and various prejudices are central to the plot and I found that aspect interesting and executed fairly well. The plot also moves at a glacial pace. It took until roughly 40% until they finally arrived to the town Fawn set out for in the very beginning and the book only contains about half of what you'd expect it to - the rest is probably handled in the sequel and the sudden cut-off annoyed me. It didn't feel like a natural ending, more of a...I don't know, publisher's decision to tie it off there because it was getting too long, perhaps. I may read at least one sequel to get the other half of the story, especially since the Lakewalker/Farmer dynamic is interesting and there will be more of it. But I'm not sure how high of a priority it is. Enjoyment: 4/5 Execution: 3/5 Recommended to: anyone looking for a comfort read and don't mind a tropey romance, those who thought Aragorn was hot Not recommended to: those who can't get past large age differences, content warning: attempted rape, a kind of abusive family More reviews on my blog, To Other Worlds.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lightreads

    This is the first book of a duology, a fantasy/romance with the emphasis on the romance. Our couple consists of Fawn Bluefield – farmer girl, eighteen, pregnant, running away from home – and Dag Redwing – one-handed, widower, fiftyish, from the militaristic Lakewalker culture. Dag and his patrol are tracking a malice, an immortal life-leeching menace which can only be dispatched with a sharing knife (a nice little conceit that is not worth ruining). The malice captures Fawn for nefarious purpose This is the first book of a duology, a fantasy/romance with the emphasis on the romance. Our couple consists of Fawn Bluefield – farmer girl, eighteen, pregnant, running away from home – and Dag Redwing – one-handed, widower, fiftyish, from the militaristic Lakewalker culture. Dag and his patrol are tracking a malice, an immortal life-leeching menace which can only be dispatched with a sharing knife (a nice little conceit that is not worth ruining). The malice captures Fawn for nefarious purposes – you see where this is going – and in the course of rescue and saving the world, Dag and Fawn are bound together by a bit of a magical accident. Huh. That was . . . fine. Kinda weird, though. The summary above sounds like a whole book, but it’s barely the first seventy pages. The rest is unapologetic romance, the sort of stuff that is usually relegated to the last five pages of a fantasy book where the couple mutters to each other about how the folks back home really aren’t going to like this. And I don’t object to the romance. I like Dag and Fawn – though I really hope there’s an actual, you know, reason for such an unnecessarily large age difference, because he’s older than her father and it’s distractingly icky once or twice. Part of the point is, of course, the innocence/experience trope, and the wisdom and revitalization they give to each other, but seriously, he could have lost fifteen years just fine. And while we’re on the subject of things that through me out of the narrative, let’s talk about anachronisms – your barely literate farm girl should not be thinking in percentages. She gets the concept of half and half probability, I’m sure, but she does not know what fifty percent is. I’m just saying. Anyway. Like I said, it’s really not the romance I object to, because I was the one shaking my head and muttering about how sketchy and unsatisfying the tiny pagespace given over to developing the romances was in her Chalion books. And I’m reserving judgment on the frankly weird shape of this book, considering it is the first volume of a duology. It’s just that the last two hundred pages of the book felt more than a little candy-coated, and there is nothing more likely to bore me in a book. It’s not the pure domesticity I’m having a problem with, nor the fact that the single dangling magical plot thread is all but ignored for two-thirds of the book, because after they save the world the heroes really do go home to the folks and hang out in the kitchen a lot. We just don’t normally get to see it. And the next volume promises to address the plot. But there was just something sort of pat about the whole thing as they tended to each other’s old, quiet damages (and I genuinely like that sort of thing, too). I like both my romance and my fantasy to have a lot more rough edges to them, and romance/domesticity are not by definition candy-coated. This book had an awful lot of smooth edges, pregnancy out of wedlock and all. This sort of polished smooth structure worked very well in Curse of Chalion because the very ordained, this person fits into this slot in the story quality was part of the plot. But when you’re playing that out back home on the farm, it’s just, well . . . fine. It’s a good book, certainly, with clever writing and a nice little cultural divide to explore. But I believe the intent was to loft a romance up there, arching over plot, rather than dangling it from underneath as an afterthought. And, well, I just didn’t make it all the way up there – I walked around carrying this book with me all weekend, rather than the other way around. I’m glad I borrowed and not bought, and I hope the second volume accomplishes a lot more for me.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    I would never have picked up this book based on any description of it I've ever read, but it's Bujold, so I thought, how bad could it be? It turns out that even Bujold can't make me enjoy a sappy romance between a young, naive farm girl named Fawn and the much older supernatural warrior named Dag who comes to her rescue. She's perky and her family doesn't appreciate her. He's suffered a tragedy and thought he'd never love again. The characterization is nothing special, and the setting is a bland I would never have picked up this book based on any description of it I've ever read, but it's Bujold, so I thought, how bad could it be? It turns out that even Bujold can't make me enjoy a sappy romance between a young, naive farm girl named Fawn and the much older supernatural warrior named Dag who comes to her rescue. She's perky and her family doesn't appreciate her. He's suffered a tragedy and thought he'd never love again. The characterization is nothing special, and the setting is a bland frontier fantasy world where people greet each other with "How de' do?" Despite the scenes where Dag teaches a wide-eyed and eager Fawn about sex, the book reads like a young adult novel. The writing is fine, this just isn't the story for me, and definitely isn't the romance for me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Butterworth

    I really enjoy Bujold's imagination. Her fantasy ideas are never like anything I've ever seen before and her worlds are so rich and complex and utterly believable. And she is so good at letting them unfold slowly and naturally and at making characters that I totally fall in love with. This is actually the second time I read this book, I don't usually read books twice, but I bought it for a quarter at my mom's library last week because I didn't have anything to read and I was desperate. I had bee I really enjoy Bujold's imagination. Her fantasy ideas are never like anything I've ever seen before and her worlds are so rich and complex and utterly believable. And she is so good at letting them unfold slowly and naturally and at making characters that I totally fall in love with. This is actually the second time I read this book, I don't usually read books twice, but I bought it for a quarter at my mom's library last week because I didn't have anything to read and I was desperate. I had been rather disappointed on my first read of this book, it reads something like a romance novel (and I do enjoy a good romance novel) but that isn't what I read Bujold for or what I'd been in the mood for maybe. On this second read-through though, I was so much more struck with the world she was building and the philosophies behind it. I loved it so much! Everything in the world is filled with a quality (called ground)(kinda a plutonic ideal aura) that makes it its own essential self, that when you create something new, the ground itself shifts and changes and holds that creation together. This ground was a source of an disappeared ancient mis-handled magic, but remnants of that magic sometimes leak back into the world in frightening creatures called malices. And these immortal malices suck ground (and turn into a gray lifeless dust) everything around it, from animals and humans even to plants and rocks, getting stronger and more cleaver as it steals the intelligence and knowledge in all those stolen grounds. Only the lakewalker peoples can see ground ("farmers" can not), and only the lakewalkers can teach the malices to die. But the malices are multiplying while the lakewalkers are slowly dwindling, no longer able to keep up with even their minimal patrols. It's becoming apparent to a few that a new way must be found, that the strict social divisions between lakewalkers and farmers are making matters worse, that the world is slowly coming unraveled from every direction, and yet few can yet see it. Oh it's so lovely, I want to go read it again.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Slither

    Okay, I am a Bujold fan, honest I am. However, I am afraid this review will cause be to be exiled from the International Order of Bujold-lovers. This fantasy book reminds me of a cross between Anne Rice and Mercedes Lackey. Brief plot description: A grizzled soldier meets a young girl. The soldier is fifty-five years old, and has a broken heart. The girl is eighteen and has run away from home after her one and only experience of sex turned out badly. During the next three days, the two save either Okay, I am a Bujold fan, honest I am. However, I am afraid this review will cause be to be exiled from the International Order of Bujold-lovers. This fantasy book reminds me of a cross between Anne Rice and Mercedes Lackey. Brief plot description: A grizzled soldier meets a young girl. The soldier is fifty-five years old, and has a broken heart. The girl is eighteen and has run away from home after her one and only experience of sex turned out badly. During the next three days, the two save either other's lives, as well as the lives of many others. And the girl asks the soldier how people can make use of their hands while having sex and, among other things, learns from him that women can masturbate. And, by the end of the three days they are in love. The two then spend a week having sex (she's very good, apparently) and this is described in some *ahem* detail. Then they head off to get married. Now, this soldier has a magical ability to sense the psychic energy of people, animals and things. He uses this ability to heal the girl's psychic wounds, caused by her family's calling her stupid, and such-like. And she, although having no magic powers, reminds him of the beautiful things in life. How sweet. Now, I've nothing against May/December romances. But, an 18-year-old girl, who has only had one, unpleasant, experience with the opposite sex?!! Wouldn't this raise alarm bells, even if the two were the same age? If Heinlein had written this, he'd have been hung from the nearest lamppost for being a dirty old man. And, yes, most of the book is taken up with people questioning this pairing and, apparently, coming around to agreeing with them. However, Bujold didn't manage to convince me. Does the soldier's magic ability somehow let him know that this is really in her best interests? This is certainly not stated. And this psychic-wound healing stuff comes too close to my taste to Mercedes Lackey's "unappreciated teenager meets magic person who sees the beauty of the teenager's soul, and will love said teenager forever" standard plot. Or maybe it is that both people are Mary-Sue-ishly perfect in every way. Heck, even Mary Poppins was only practically perfect, and so can't hold a candle to these two. Bah.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Soo

    Re-Read via Audio 12/18/2018 Rating Raised from 3 to 4 Stars 4 Stars for Narration by Bernadette Dunne 4 Stars for Story I'm on a roll! I finally caught up on Vorkosigan Saga this year and that reignited my interest to read other work by Bujold. I may be totally caught up next year. =) I read this story when it came out years ago. It did not make a deep impression on me because I thought it would be like the Vorkosigan series. Isn't it interesting how your state of mind and expectations will totally Re-Read via Audio 12/18/2018 Rating Raised from 3 to 4 Stars 4 Stars for Narration by Bernadette Dunne 4 Stars for Story I'm on a roll! I finally caught up on Vorkosigan Saga this year and that reignited my interest to read other work by Bujold. I may be totally caught up next year. =) I read this story when it came out years ago. It did not make a deep impression on me because I thought it would be like the Vorkosigan series. Isn't it interesting how your state of mind and expectations will totally influence the way you feel about a story? Back then, I thought the story was too simple and not enough of an adventure. I wanted an adventure and this was more of a romance. Now? I read a diverse range of reviews about the story written by my friends and the conflicting commentary intrigued me. I wondered how I would respond to the story now and if it would be like what I had felt before. Kudos for my local library! There's a collection of books that are always available for loan. Beguilement is one of those books. I liked it! Bernadette Dunne was a great narrator and the story was great. The world setting for the tale is rich & complex. The characters are easy to understand and show clearly who they are by their actions. The story is a romance and it's about two people who are fair, clear eyed and have a good heart. I know why I was not as enthralled by this story when I read it ages ago. That was fine. I understand why my friends have their differing views on the story too. It's hard to enjoy a story if you take the story out of context. Before, I wanted this tale to be about something else. This time around, I took in the story for what it is and really liked it. Dag is an older male with a lot of experience fighting but out of habit of living his life for himself. Fawn is a young female with little experience but a vibrant desire to live and learn despite pitfalls. They are two individuals that are straight forward and have good hearts. Their story is simple and sweet. I liked it a lot for what it is and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    This book had a really solid start, with plenty of danger and magical action. It seemed like it was going to be an enjoyable fantasy read. Then after a while, I realized that the "resting up" from this initial action was not just an interlude, but the rest of the book. Seriously two thirds of the story focus exclusively on the romance and the couple's relationship-type challenges like meeting and dealing with in-laws, and dealing with cross-cultural relationships and taboos, and age differences. This book had a really solid start, with plenty of danger and magical action. It seemed like it was going to be an enjoyable fantasy read. Then after a while, I realized that the "resting up" from this initial action was not just an interlude, but the rest of the book. Seriously two thirds of the story focus exclusively on the romance and the couple's relationship-type challenges like meeting and dealing with in-laws, and dealing with cross-cultural relationships and taboos, and age differences. I really do enjoy some romance in a true fantasy novel - but here the fantasy part really got side-lined, and it felt like it just lost track of wherever it was headed. There were several things that put me off in this book. First, there's the feeling that you're being preached at a little bit on all of these social issues. Then, it launches into the standard romance novel "let me teach you how great sex really is" thing, and that's just getting old for me. Yawn. Then after that, I was weirded out by the realization that the guy is 55 years old, and the girl is only 18. This book is one big convention challenger, shall we say? At least there was enough magic dangled in front of me to string me along until the end, and even to make me consider continuing on with book 2. If I approach it as a romance novel, it shouldn't bother me too much, but my expectations for a good quality story have significantly decreased at this point.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Garlock

    So disappointing. Enchanted by the world and characters Bujold created in The Curse of Chalion, and especially Paladin of Souls, my eager hands stretched out in blind faith and pulled The Sharing Knife from the bookseller's shelf. I should have left it sheathed between the other paperbacks. Oh, initially it whet my interest with some sharp action involving some intriguing monsters. A malice and its creations: the mudmen. Nice, huh? But what starts out as interesting fantasy soon dulls into a boring So disappointing. Enchanted by the world and characters Bujold created in The Curse of Chalion, and especially Paladin of Souls, my eager hands stretched out in blind faith and pulled The Sharing Knife from the bookseller's shelf. I should have left it sheathed between the other paperbacks. Oh, initially it whet my interest with some sharp action involving some intriguing monsters. A malice and its creations: the mudmen. Nice, huh? But what starts out as interesting fantasy soon dulls into a boring romance between the regrettably named Dag and Fawn. Gag and yawn. Ok, that was mean-spirited. But it's hard to wrap my head around the idea that the woman who wrote so movingly of spiritual and physical sacrifice in service of the divine; who condemned and then redeemed poor Cazaril, and lit the spiritual fire that illumined Shining Ista, wrote this Harlequin Fantasy Romance. Yes, there were hints in those aforementioned books. (view spoiler)[The somewhat boring romance between middle-aged Cazaril and nineteen-year-old Beatriz and the instant lust of Ista and Illvin. The tongue action stimulating Illvin's CPR attempts kind of tipped me off.(view spoiler)[ But, since they were hints, and since I'm pretty good at ignoring those, I remained starry-eyed, bedazzled by Bujold's talent and wisdom. Until now. Sigh. If you haven't already done so, read The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls. They're wonderful. (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]

  20. 4 out of 5

    Estara

    There was this really cheap promotion fot the whole Sharing Knife series as ebooks and although I own them in paper I just had to splurge. This really is the most couple-centred work of LMB's, but at the same time it also contrasts two completely different lifestyles, Lakewalker and Farmer, through all four books. But I read it for Fawn and her interactions with Dag and the fact that as soon as they get through their first real dangerous encounter and everything changes for both, they really respe There was this really cheap promotion fot the whole Sharing Knife series as ebooks and although I own them in paper I just had to splurge. This really is the most couple-centred work of LMB's, but at the same time it also contrasts two completely different lifestyles, Lakewalker and Farmer, through all four books. But I read it for Fawn and her interactions with Dag and the fact that as soon as they get through their first real dangerous encounter and everything changes for both, they really respect each other. They have both been continually undervalued and wilfully misunderstood by their families and that seems to have opened them towards accepting others as they present themselves and then judging them on their merits. And as the book goes on, 20 year-old, tiny, voluptuous Fawn opens 54-year-old, tall, lanky Dag's eyes with her questions to other possibilities and his admiration of her curiosity, courage and honesty (as well as as beauty) make her see herself with different eyes, too.

  21. 4 out of 5

    MrsJoseph *grouchy*

    Length of time on Mt. TBR: 5 years, 2 months Ok. This was terrible. Really, really terrible. I mean, the writing was fine. It worked and was clear, etc. But the fucking subject matter... *headdesk* 18 y/o girl gets pregnant, gets scorned, runs away, has a miscarriage, dates and then marries a 55 y/o. The end. The only reason I stuck it out was I really wanted to find out about the flipping KNIFE and what happened to it. Instead I was treated to chapters and chapters of Fawn's stupid family dynami Length of time on Mt. TBR: 5 years, 2 months Ok. This was terrible. Really, really terrible. I mean, the writing was fine. It worked and was clear, etc. But the fucking subject matter... *headdesk* 18 y/o girl gets pregnant, gets scorned, runs away, has a miscarriage, dates and then marries a 55 y/o. The end. The only reason I stuck it out was I really wanted to find out about the flipping KNIFE and what happened to it. Instead I was treated to chapters and chapters of Fawn's stupid family dynamics. *sigh* It's not even a good Romance - it lives in "got phoned in"-ville. I'm giving this and book 2 to my mother. Maybe she'll like it. ETA: I had to drop a star. This book is terrible.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Beautifully written, surprisingly romantic, and thoroughly enjoyable. Bujold's world-building is superb, complex yet easy to imagine and follow. I look forward to the next installment.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    To be fair, I did enjoy the first half of this book. The world-building is interesting (love those mud men, and would have liked to learn more about them), and the first several chapters have quite a bit of action. The second half is nearly entirely domestic. The problem isn't that it's a romance; I enjoy a good romance. The problem is it's a romance with no discernible conflict greater than, "Will Dag be able to help braid a rope with his hook hand?" Other issues that wore on me: - Unnecessary at To be fair, I did enjoy the first half of this book. The world-building is interesting (love those mud men, and would have liked to learn more about them), and the first several chapters have quite a bit of action. The second half is nearly entirely domestic. The problem isn't that it's a romance; I enjoy a good romance. The problem is it's a romance with no discernible conflict greater than, "Will Dag be able to help braid a rope with his hook hand?" Other issues that wore on me: - Unnecessary attempted rape scene. - Increasingly skeevy relationship between a 55-year-old man and an 18-year-old girl who a) is frequently mistaken for a child, b) is named after a baby deer, c) needs his help to achieve true sexual awakening, and d) regularly says things like, "Oh my gosh, your poor shoulders! Let me rub them for you!" -- and then uses her tiny, talented hands to do so. - The way Dag is allegedly bothered by the way Fawn's family underestimates her, but is as paternalistic as any of them. If you're into Daddy-Daughter fantasies without a lot of plot, this is for you.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    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 e 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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller

    Via Book Reviews by Niki Hawkes at www.nikihawkes.com Story: I have read dozens of romance novels with a fantasy twist, but I have never before read a robust, rounded fantasy with a full romance focus. It was the very first true hybrid of the genres in my eyes and I have to say, if all romances were presented in this format I doubt I’d read much else. Usually, the biggest draws for a fantasy novel are world-building and events (fight scenes, magic/spell casting, etc. – basically: external conflic Via Book Reviews by Niki Hawkes at www.nikihawkes.com Story: I have read dozens of romance novels with a fantasy twist, but I have never before read a robust, rounded fantasy with a full romance focus. It was the very first true hybrid of the genres in my eyes and I have to say, if all romances were presented in this format I doubt I’d read much else. Usually, the biggest draws for a fantasy novel are world-building and events (fight scenes, magic/spell casting, etc. – basically: external conflicts). Romances, on the other hand, often focus exclusively on character and inner conflicts. To find a romance with such an authentic, rich fantasy world kind of blew my mind. I daresay this series is a sub-genre all its own and the unique mix of the two worlds was my favorite element of this story. Pacing: As a strong character-driven story, most of the conflict was centered around the two main characters’ relationship and, as a result, was very slow-developing. While fantastic for a love story (because as far as I can tell, no one likes an insta-love) readers expecting a lot of action would probably have gotten bored. Personally, I enjoyed the relationship focused so much that I was totally engaged throughout the entire novel. In fact, some of my favorite parts took place when the pacing was at it slowest. Every scene in Beguilement was absorbing, and I lost myself to the internal conflicts of these characters more than once. World-Building: I am always impressed when an author can come up with a compelling magic system. The magic in the story wasn’t earth-shattering, but it had some really cool history behind it, and I liked what it added to the story. The magic wasn’t the only thing with great history – the different cultures highlighted in the book were fascinating, and you can tell the author spent a lot of time on their development. Also, the villains in this book stems from and enhanced the history of this land (and, in my opinion, are what sold the book to me as a true fantasy). It really set up a strong foundation for what promises to be an excellent series! Writing: This author screams of awareness. Although the story came across effortless, while analyzing it I could see several conscious decisions made by the author to shape this book into something amazing. Everything from side characters to settings were carefully orchestrated to build up the conflicts and draw you in further. I wish I could break it down more clearly, because it really was all the little things added up that made this a good novel. I applaud this author for not only understanding enough about story and genres to produce this amazing hybrid, but also for her talent as a writer to make everything in this world come alive! Overall, I am thrilled this book was chosen for the YPFN book club, and I genuinely look forward to seeing where the story goes next! Recommended Reading: As this one is heavily romance based, I would probably be more inclined to hand it to someone who likes love stories. It is an excellent crossover book for people who love romance and want to try fantasy, and vice versa.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Like most Bujold, this was a fast interesting read. She grabbed my attention with the viewpoint character, Fawn, who was likable and quickly made me care what happened to her. The world/society/setting seems underdeveloped, but that probably comes clearer in the rest of the series. Also, when it comes to fantasy, I really like Tolkien, and everyone else seems to fall short in the world development area, naturally. In other words, she didn't invent 14 languages yet for this universe. Bujold is al Like most Bujold, this was a fast interesting read. She grabbed my attention with the viewpoint character, Fawn, who was likable and quickly made me care what happened to her. The world/society/setting seems underdeveloped, but that probably comes clearer in the rest of the series. Also, when it comes to fantasy, I really like Tolkien, and everyone else seems to fall short in the world development area, naturally. In other words, she didn't invent 14 languages yet for this universe. Bujold is always a lot of fun, though. Again and again she made me laugh out loud while I was reading. I do enjoy reading her stuff immensely, though it doesn't seem to be a whole lot more than entertaining. A bit more.... just not a whole lot more. One thing I thought was awesome was Dag's observation that it was just about as bad to be loved and not valued as it was to be valued and not loved, but certainly much better to be both. That was a cool thing for her to put into words. I've never been able to know how to say that about families, that being loved without being valued isn't really enough. Maybe that idea will help me not to repeat some of the things that are wrong with my own family in the new one I'm trying to make. I loved the contrast between the farmer's culture and that of the lakewalkers. It highlights for me the differences in the new culture of the US (which seems more like that of the lakewalkers) and the traditional LDS type culture (which is more like that of the farmers.) In the former, women are valued more highly, and are considered to be suitable for leadership roles. All-in-all, I'd feel much more comfortable with the lakewalkers, though the farmers have their good points too. To sum up, I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it, though nothing terribly important is going on in it. It does give some food for thought, and has some good insights. I will definitely read the rest of the series.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pam Nelson

    3 Sharing Star’s I have NEVER read a fantasy book until now. That being said I didn’t hate it and I didn’t love it.. I am inbetween. I enjoyed the hell out of the narrator. I don’t know if it was me or the book but I feel like there was too much down time.. I understand you have to build the world and all that, but I still felt lost. A lot of the words got me all turned around. Some of the creatures as well. Fawn and Dag, there journey to find each other was what I loved I could care less about 3 Sharing Star’s I have NEVER read a fantasy book until now. That being said I didn’t hate it and I didn’t love it.. I am inbetween. I enjoyed the hell out of the narrator. I don’t know if it was me or the book but I feel like there was too much down time.. I understand you have to build the world and all that, but I still felt lost. A lot of the words got me all turned around. Some of the creatures as well. Fawn and Dag, there journey to find each other was what I loved I could care less about the rest of the story.. Sorry I am a romance girl at heart!! She didn’t care that he had one hand. She didn’t care that he was older. She didn’t care he was a different race that her. These are all things I loved about Fawn her ability to love beyond all reason. Dag, oh Dag, he is a protector at heart. So when Fawn needed him he did everything he could to ensure she was well taken cared for. I love that he was hesitant to start something with her, but when his feelings because real he would go to the ends of the earth for her. Sooo over all I am glad I read it, but I won’t be reading more. *All my Reviews are 100% honest and my own.*

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chip

    Review applies for all two/four of the Sharing Knife series. I appreciate that Bujold is trying something new here, as I hate to see good writers fall into the trap of retreading the same ground again and again. E.g., Terry Brooks. Well, except for the "good" part. He was never good. Unfortunately, her new twist was apparently to write a romance novel. Allowing me to discover that I do not care for romance novels. It isn't 100% romance novel - maybe 10-15%. But that bit was awkward, annoying and Review applies for all two/four of the Sharing Knife series. I appreciate that Bujold is trying something new here, as I hate to see good writers fall into the trap of retreading the same ground again and again. E.g., Terry Brooks. Well, except for the "good" part. He was never good. Unfortunately, her new twist was apparently to write a romance novel. Allowing me to discover that I do not care for romance novels. It isn't 100% romance novel - maybe 10-15%. But that bit was awkward, annoying and distracting. What's worse, the world-building, characterization and plotting were nowhere near up to what I expect from Bujold. The Vorkosigan stories - generally great. Curse of Chalion - excellent, and its sequels were pretty good as well. The Sharing Knife - sadly, adequate. At best. I respect her for trying something different, and there was certainly potential here - but all in all, a disappointment.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Maygirl7

    I am intrigued. The world is interesting and I’m curious to see how the MCs move forward together. The age difference did not squick me out as much as I would have expected. Mostly due to the interactions between the MCs. The one downside to the story was Fawn’s family. I’m not sure I understood why they had to get her family’s approval and had to put up their ridiculosity. Annoyingly my library does not have the rest of the series in audiobook format. I have to decide whether to do eyeball read I am intrigued. The world is interesting and I’m curious to see how the MCs move forward together. The age difference did not squick me out as much as I would have expected. Mostly due to the interactions between the MCs. The one downside to the story was Fawn’s family. I’m not sure I understood why they had to get her family’s approval and had to put up their ridiculosity. Annoyingly my library does not have the rest of the series in audiobook format. I have to decide whether to do eyeball reading from the library or use my Audible credits for the other books.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I don't really know how to review this, and I definitely had not read the blurb to know what to expect before I started. I was not expecting sexytimes. Or disturbing baddies. Or fascinating fantasy magic. SO YEAH I DEF WENT INTO THIS BLIND.

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