- File Size: 1122 KB
- Print Length: 389 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (October 13, 2009)
- Publication Date: October 13, 2009
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000QCQ9RU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,619 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Beguilement (The Sharing Knife, Book 1): Volume 1 (The Wide Green World Series) Kindle Edition
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Fawn, our female protagonist, is naive 18 year-old who seems to function only as an incredibly bland romantic partner. She is so uninteresting. Her only trait is that she's sweet and falls head-over-heels in love with Dag, an equally bland 55 year-old.
I love a good romance, but we're never given any reason to believe Fawn and Dag are actually in love. Certainly we're told they love each other, but there's no romantic tension, at no point while reading did I feel butterflies. All I felt, besides bored, was deeply unsettled by the 37 year age gap.
Ultimately, Beguilement fails both as a fantasy novel and as a romance novel.
I'm going to add to this review because of some of the discussion about a romance novel genre or a fantasy genre or a fantasy romance genre. None of the above. All of the above. There is romance, people fall in love have problems and surmount problems. There is fantasy, in a world that is as real as the world around us with just a few fantasy elements added, like a touch of sage or garlic in a finely seasoned stew.
Labeling these books does readers a disservice, they are tightly written, plotted like the engine in a steamship, with every part working with every other part to make a powerful whole. The language is perfect, you forget you are reading a work of literature, the authors "style" is completely transparent, not distracting from the story at all.
I am certain that the author will not indulge us, but I would love to spend more time in this world, perhaps to see the beginning of it all. But I don't expect it, to take the last, gauzy veil off would spoil the effect.
Top international reviews
In a remote part of the country in a feudal world a young girl called fawn is running away from her home village. she meets dag, member of a group of sorceror/warriors called lakewalkers, who use swords and magic to deal with evil spirits that create nasty creatures.
Will the two find their destiny?
Will romance blossom between them?
What do you think?
There's nothing wrong with a predictable romance story when the writer is this skilled at creating likeable characters. the prose is very readable and the setting superbly created. you really feel like you're in the countryside with these characters and that evil creatures could be around.
But there's not a lot of plot to this and as a result all that happens whilst being nice character wise isn't the most interesting read. But this is the first volume of a trilogy and the writer has been very good in the past, so because of that I will get volume two. I'm not sure if I would have otherwise
The two books together tell an excellent story very well indeed. Best described as a cross between the Fantasy and Romance genres. It certainly works for Fantasy fans, and I'm told it also works for Romance fans.
There is one difference between the two groups. The Romance fans will probably think that these two books together tell a complete story. The Fantasy fans will want more. Luckily there is more - another pair of books, Passage and Horizon, that will satisfy them. It worked for me.
This is a novel set against an inventive landscape. It plays with a number of fantasy memes, but original use is made of each of them. The two distinct cultures of the protagonists are fully realised and well drawn, and - barring some questions I have about economic stability over long time periods - believable. All of the characters are well drawn and most are engaging.
Minor details niggle. A farm girl in a semi-literate, pre-industrial agrarian community is an unmarried virgin until she's eighteen - presumably because timid American publishers dare not suggest that people in such societies may have sex younger. A community which has lived for tens of generations within three days easy ride of another, without barriers of war, language, ideology, geography or anything else, nevertheless know virtually nothing of the other's culture. And these cultures have been roughly stable over that period, without interruption of war, pestilence or famine.
On the plus side, this is a world in which real people live. Very believable people. And unlike the vast majority of fantasy fiction, this book is prepared to face human sexuality (and a good number of other human drives) face on.
So why am I disappointed?
This is half a book. I have not yet read the sequel. Although Bujold wrote three books in the Chalion sequence, each stands alone; they are not episodes in a continuous narrative. This is. One episode, which leaves us with every thread dangling unknotted. Again, I don't know whose decision it was to publish this volume and its successor separately, but - unless the successor is a dreadful book, which from this author is unlikely - I'm fairly confident it was a mistake.
Beguilement is there for both the characters as they emerge and for the reader who gets immersed. It's not the shock dive into the deep end, but more of a gentle walk into one of those beaches that shelves so slowly that it's hard to decide when you really got wet.
This is a slightly more serious side of Bujold, but her writing continues to enchant - and beguile.
The series continued in a similar style, without the far too common dip in one or more of the intermediate books.