Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold

I’ve been reading a lot of YA lately and I thought it would be a good idea to take a break and sink my teeth into some good old fantasy. When I saw that Beguilement, the first installment in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Sharing Knife series was available in Fully Booked for P320, I thought I’d give it a try. I’m not a fan of sci-fi but I made an exception when I read Young Miles, which contains the two books in Bujold’s famous Vorkosigan Saga. I loved Miles Vorkosigan and while I haven’t gotten around to reading the rest of the books in the series, I do have copies of all of them. I wanted to see how Bujold writes fantasy as compared to sci-fi.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

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.

Lakewalkers are soldiers who have a special kind of magic and are tasked to get rid of the evil beings called malices. Non-Lakewalker people are usually called farmers even if they don’t necessarily farm for a living. The two kinds of people don’t mix because farmers don’t understand the Lakewalker kind of life and the magic that they use. Dag is a Lakewalker patroller. Fawn is a young farmer girl who ran away from her family, hoping to find a better life in the city. These two are unexpectedly thrown together when they’re forced to confront a malice. At its core, Beguilement is a love story set in a fantasy world. There’s a lot of tension between the two of them as they try to fight their attraction. There are several reasons why they shouldn’t be together, not the least of which is their age difference, but as they get to know each other more, they realize that they’re fighting a losing battle. There’s a lot of action in the first few chapters of the book and the latter ones are dedicated to the blossoming relationship between Dag and Fawn.

Can I just say that I was really excited when I found out that Dag had one hand missing and he’s still more than capable of being an excellent patroller? I have this thing for one-handed characters with amazing fighting skills. I don’t what to say why because it might give away spoilers but I’m sure several of you will understand why this is interesting for me. πŸ™‚ I also like Fawn and her vivacious and inquisitive nature. She’s the perfect balance for an old, weary patroller who’s given up hope of being happy in life.

I like the world created by Ms. Bujold in this one and while I am curious as to what happens next to both Dag and Fawn, I think I can wait until I’ve brought down my TBR to a more decent number. Still, I applaud Ms. Bujold for being an amazing writer in whatever genre she tackles – be it romantic fantasy or science fiction. I look forward to reading more of her work. Recommended for fans of fantasy with romantic elements. If you’ve read this and the other books in the series, please let me know what you think of them!

Other reviews: (manually generated)
The Book Smugglers
Smart Bitches Trashy Books
Dear Author
Starmetal Oak Book Blog
Jennie’s B(ook)log


14 thoughts on “Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold

  1. Oh my word. I can’t believe you just read this one. I love this book. It was actually my first Bujold and I fell completely in love. Somehow the others in the series didn’t stand up well for me and I haven’t read the most recent. But this one. I loved Dag & Fawn and the whole world.

    Also, can I just say I find it awesomely hilarious that you have a thing for one-handed characters?! Because I do. πŸ™‚

    • Oh wow, you’ve read this and you loved it? I’m surprised! I kind of thought Bujold isn’t that popular because I haven’t seen her mentioned in the blogs that I follow. Although I’ve heard her mentioned in Sounis several times. Yay, so happy to know that you loved this one. Dag is awesome, isn’t he? I just love one-handed characters. I knew you’d understand my fascination. πŸ˜›

      So the other books in the series aren’t that good, huh? No need to hurry to read them then. I still have other Bujolds to read. Have you read Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan books? One LJ friend from Sounis calls Miles Gen-in-space.

  2. hi chachic! honestly, i don’t know this author. i mean, i’m a fantasy geek also, i’ve read, the lord of the rings, the shannara series, the sword of truth and a song of ice and fire and many others. as i browsed your blog and the other blogs i follow, i can’t just believe that there are so many books out there to read!!! don’t you just wish you have all those books? sometimes i restrain myself on visiting other bloggers site, because i can’t help but envy what they have on their shelves! it drives me crazy! there are so many book that i want to read! hehehe. I think i haven’t read a YA fantasy book yet. I don’t know if GONE by Michael Grant is a fantasy novel but I highly recommend it, or you’ve read it already? And i’m so enjoying your posts, your book reviews are just great, i mean it. i’m struggling with my English every now and then but for you it’s like a walk in the park. Keep it up! Cheerz! GOD bless!

    • LOL I haven’t even read the fantasy books that you mentioned (except for LOTR). It’s such a broad genre so there are a lot of books to choose from! I have a tendency to gravitate towards female authors because I have a thing for strong female protagonists but I’m always up for good fantasy regardless of the gender of the author or the main character.

      I love browsing through other book blogs but yes, be prepared to add more books to your wishlist as you go along. Several people have recommended Gone and I believe it’s dystopian so yes, it can fall under fantasy or sci-fi but I’m not in a hurry to read it. πŸ˜›

  3. Did you say one-handed characters? *love*

    I’ve been wanting to read this for awhile. I will definitely get to it sooner now. I can always use a good romantic fantasy.

    • One-handed characters are awesome, aren’t they? Hey, someone in my LJ just pointed out that while Miles Vorkosigan has two hands, he has his own physical handicaps.

      Let me know when you get around to reading any Bujold book! I’m interested in the rest of her work and also in other romantic fantasy authors. πŸ™‚

  4. Have I mentioned that I love your taste in books?! I was just telling my husband about a Bujold book signing I want to go to next month. I enjoyed The Sharing Knife series, even though the pace of Beguilement was a little slower than I expected and I didn’t warm to the May/December romance immediately. I had never considered Dag’s one-handedness in connection with that other one-handed character we both adore, maybe because their personalities strike me as so different (and I have a much bigger fictional crush on one of them πŸ˜‰ ). I’m curious to hear what you think of the rest of the series when you get around to reading the other Sharing Knife books. I seem to remember liking the second book more than the first, but the third and fourth books started to lose my interest a bit. Still, Bujold has a knack for world-building and creating interestingly flawed characters, so even a mediocre book of hers is better than many authors’ best work.

    I am not usually much of a sci-fi fan, but so far I actually like Bujold’s sci-fi more than her fantasy. I have only read Cordelia’s Honor (the prequel about Miles’ parents – Aral & Cordelia), but I liked that enough to purchase all of the Miles books. At the moment they are gathering dust on one of my shelves, but I look forward to getting back to them someday. πŸ™‚

    • Oh wow, you’re planning to go to a Bujold signing next month? That’s so exciting! I bet everyone will have copies of a lot of her books. I was actually surprised by the May/December romance but when Dag explained that patrollers have longer lives, I felt relieved. There are other characters in fantasy that are a lot older that their romantic counterparts (like let’s say a certain sparkly vampire who looks like a teenager but is decades older in reality).

      I find it funny that you didn’t notice Dag’s one-handedness! It was one of the first things that I noticed about them. Although like you, I’m a bigger fan of that other one-handed character.

      Yes, Bujold has a knack for worldbuilding! I believe all of the worlds in her series (Miles Vorkosigan, the Sharing Knife and Chalion) are wonderful.

      Looks like our Miles books are suffering the same fate. I really should get to them soon. I’m really curious about Miles’ parents and I’d love to learn more about them. I wonder when I’ll have time to read those. *sigh* I keep telling myself I shouldn’t buy books anymore but I can’t help myself. So many good books out there! They always call out to me with bookish promises, “Read me! You’ll probably fall in love with me!”

  5. Great review. I haven’t read any books by Bujold but it sounds like I have to try one.

    I’m actually reading a YA novel right now where one of the main characters only has one hand, but I don’t think there will be any fighting in this book(though I cannot be sure of that).

    • Ladybug, I hope you get to try one of Bujold’s books soon! You don’t have to start with this one. If you prefer sci-fi then you should go straight to her Miles Vorkosigan books. Just curious, what’s that YA novel that you’re reading that has a one-handed main character?

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