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Lois McMaster Bujold – The Sharing Knife: Horizon

January 7, 2011

159. Horizon by Lois McMaster Bujold (2009)
The Sharing Knife, Book 4

Read my review of book:
1. Beguilement
2. Legacy
3. Passage

Length: 453 pages
Genre: Fantasy

Started: 19 December 2010
Finished: 23 December 2010

Where did it come from? Bought at Bookcloseouts.
Why do I have it? I’m a full-fledged member of the Bujoldian squealy fangirl club.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 17 April 2010.

All Dag wants is some
where to call home, and to heal
the world by himself.

Summary: Although Dag’s power as a medicine maker has been growing since he gave up patrolling, by the beginning of Horizon he’s reached the limit of what he can learn on his own. He and his Farmer wife, Fawn, head to the nearest Lakewalker camp, where Dag strikes up an unusual – and somewhat uneasy, due to his unorthodox opinions about Farmers – apprenticeship with the master groundsetter Arkady. However, while Dag is learning to control his newfound power, Fawn is growing antsy; as much as she loves Dag, a camp full of Lakewalkers that treat her as barely human is not a place to settle down, and while she still believes in Dag’s mission to save the world, she’s also anxious to have a home to call her own. But where can she find a home that her unique family will fit in?

Review: Overall, I love Bujold’s books and think it’s a travesty that more people aren’t reading them. Specifically, however, I don’t think this was one of her strongest books, even within this series.

Don’t get me wrong; it was still a crazy-enjoyable book. It got me out of a slight reading funk induced by too much holiday cheer and not enough down time. I still love Fawn and especially Dag as characters. The action was as heart-stopping as ever, and this book managed to get all of its sub-plots and characters to a satisfactory end and comfortable stopping place without leaving things feeling pat or overly wrapped-up. The world-building and magic is still as unique and interesting as it ever was, and I really appreciated how Bujold has expanded the scope of her world in each book in this series, without it ever feeling expository or inorganic.

Still, there were a couple of things about this book that didn’t sit quite right with me. The first was that it seemed a little disjointed into two separate halves. The first half is all Dag and Arkady in the Lakewalker camp, and then it seemed like all of a sudden, they’re out on the road, with only the briefest of scenes to smooth over the transition. My other problem was that there were just too many characters. Bujold can write brilliant characters when she’s got the time and space to flesh them out a bit. In the third book, Passage, we got a passel of new characters in the beginning, but we got to spend enough time with them that by the end we love them almost as much as Dag and Fawn. In this case, however, new characters keep getting added into the group, without much time spent on developing them, and as a result the book starts to feel a little overcrowded and not as emotionally resonant as I would have liked.

All in all, though, this was a good end to a great series, and it’s one that I’ll definitely be revisiting in the future. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Don’t start on the last book, but this series as a whole is highly recommended for fantasy fans who like unique, well-thought out magic systems, non-traditional fantasy worlds, sympathetic characters, lively dialogue, a good sense of humor, and a little bit of romance stirred into the pot.

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

Other Reviews: Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: The Drowntown day-market was in full spate.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2011 4:13 pm

    I’m about to start on the first book of this series – my e-copy just came in for me! I’m glad you enjoyed this one, even if it wasn’t your favorite. I agree that more people should be reading Bujold’s books. She’s fantastic!

    • January 17, 2011 9:31 am

      Darla – Oh, yay! I hope you love them, and that they turn out to be worth the wait for the new Vorkosigan book! :)

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