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Lois McMaster Bujold – The Sharing Knife: Legacy

November 8, 2010

130. Legacy by Lois McMaster Bujold (2007)
The Sharing Knife, Book 2

Read my review of book:
1. Beguilement

Length: 377 pages
Genre: Fantasy Romance, but heavier on the fantasy than the romance this time around.

Started: 18 October 2010
Finished: 21 October 2010

Where did it come from? Bookcloseouts.
Why do I have it? Who’s a bad kid who buys entire series before reading the first one? Yeah, that’d be me.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 15 April 2009.

Meeting your husband’s
family is way worse when they
don’t think you’re human.

Summary: Fawn and Dag are an unlikely couple, and no mistake. He’s a Lakewalker, and she’s a Farmer, but after facing down a malice – an evil creature that absorbs life force from everything around it – together, their lives are now inescapably intertwined. After they convinced her family that Lakewalkers are not evil necromantic sorcerers that eat children (or at least that Dag wasn’t), they were even married… but now they have to return to his family. And considering that most Lakewalkers think Farmers aren’t even fully human, getting his family and his community to accept their marriage as valid – let alone to accept Fawn into their lives – is going to be quite a challenge. And, to make matters worse, Dag is soon called away to deal with a malice attack larger than any they’ve seen for years, leaving Fawn alone in some very hostile territory.

Review: Legacy is not really a stand-alone book; it starts less than two hours after Beguilement ends, and the two should really be considered as the two halves of a single book, rather than two independent volumes in a series. If Beguilement was a romance novel dressed up in fantasy clothes, then Legacy picks up all of the fantasy-ness that wasn’t used by Beguilement, and packs it in at a breathless pace. Not to say that there aren’t quite a few touches of romance around the edges of Legacy, but it feels like much more of a “proper” fantasy novel than did its predecessor. Both flavors of story are equally enjoyable from my perspective, but I do worry that people who read the first one and went “What’s with all this lovey-dovey sexy stuff? When do we get to the good part about the knifes made out of human bone?” may have dropped the series without reading the second book, which is where all of those “good parts” are waiting. All of the threads that were left hanging and unexplained by the end of Beguilement are picked up again in Legacy… and then some.

Because, regardless of whether you want to classify the Sharing Knife series as fantasy tinged with romance, or romance in a fantasy universe, or whatever, the heart of the matter is that it just tells a damn good story. Bujold has created her usual wonderful characters that have firmly wormed their way into my heart, making every plot twist, whether it involves Fawn and Dag’s relationship or the giant life-sucking malice, thoroughly involving, and capable of wringing out some serious emotion. (Seriously, when Dag explains his theory about what happened to Fawn’s baby and the Sharing Knife, I collapsed into a soggy crying mess. Good stuff.) This was the sort of book that I told myself I’d read for half an hour before bed… but then they go off to fight the malice, so I have to keep reading to see how that turns out, and then something happens to Fawn, and I have to keep reading to see how THAT turns out, and then are they ever going to be together and happy? I’ll have to keep reading to see… and that’s how I wound up rolling into work the next morning with less than four hours of sleep under my belt. But the thing is: it was absolutely worth it. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Love. Love Bujold, love this series. If you like original, well-built fantasy with great characters and a solid dose of romance, you should definitely pick up this series. Don’t read this one first… but do have it on hand immediately upon finishing Beguilement.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Dear Author
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First Line: Dag had been married for a whole two hours, and was still light-headed with wonder.

Vocab: (see the whole list)

  • p. 85: “The cradle was apparently for retting some sort of long-stemmed plant, and the treaders were engaged in kicking off the rotting matter to clean the fibers.” – to soak in water or expose to moisture, as flax or hemp, to facilitate the removal of the fiber from the woody tissue by partial rotting.
  • p. 163: “It wasn’t hard to see where the wealth of this straitened island community was being spent.” – to put into difficulties, esp. financial ones
  • p. 173: “Skeins of the long-fibered plunkin flax yarn lay out on the table; with a four-pronged lucet, Cumbia was looping them into the strong, light cord Lakewalkers used.” – a tool used in cordmaking or braiding that is normally made of wood, with two prongs at one end and a handle on the other.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. chandragarbanzo permalink
    November 9, 2010 2:56 pm

    Sounds like an interesting twist: the farmer struggles to be accepted in a community of Lakewalkers, rather than the other way around. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • November 10, 2010 11:40 am

      Chandra – It was definitely an interesting counterpoint to the first book; part of me really wishes they weren’t split into two volumes but instead published as one story.

  2. Bill Woods permalink
    November 24, 2010 2:14 am

    I hope you have, or will, gone on to read the sequel (which is also divided into two volumes).

    You may be interested in Bujold’s thoughts about writing an SF/Romance crossover:
    She also responds to Jo Walton and some of her commenters:

    • November 26, 2010 11:11 am

      I’ve got the next two books on my TBR pile, and I mean to read them soon, but there were just other books that got in the way first.

      Also, thanks for sharing the links… the first one, in particular, was very interesting!

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