Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Sharing Knife (Legacy): Review

Book: The Sharing Knife (Legacy)
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Series: The Sharing Knife Volume 2
Category: Fantasy Romance
Sensuality: Warm

Warning! This review contains some spoilers that relate to Volume 1.

After reading Beguilement, the first volume in Lois McMaster Bujold's Sharing Knife series, I was eager to start this second volume. I jumped right into Legacy and hit a road block, the story just wasn't pulling me in the way first book had. But after getting through the first few chapters things picked up and I was able to sink in to reading it.

Legacy picks up directly where Beguilement left off. Fawn and Dag have just left Fawn's parents farm as newlyweds, and are on their way to Dag's Lakewalker family in hopes of finding out the mystery behind the mis-enchanted sharing knife. After a leisurely travel to Hickory Lake Camp, they are immediately faced with unease about their marriage. The Lakewalkers, especially Dag's family, are up in arms over the two, being that they do not believe that Lakewalkers should marry Farmers. While attempting to deal with the rising tension, a malice attack occurs in a distant camp and Dag is called away to help. This leaves Fawn behind in Hickory Lake to deal with adapting to a new place where she is looked at as an unwanted outsider.

The glimpse into Lakewalker life that Beguilement gave has turned into full on understanding. The Lakewalkers, much like Farmers, are very much set in their ways. They believe the way they go about life to be the right one and aren't up much for listening to the other side or open to change. While living with the Lakewalkers, Fawn continues to learn and prove herself, even if most are reluctant to recognize her strength. Dag is very much the same patient, thoughtful man that he was in the previous book and it is interesting to see his interactions with his family. Both Fawn and Dag stay very much in character, never doing or saying something that I wouldn't expect them to for the people they are.

Something that I appreciate about this series is that the info about the world is doled out slowly so that you never feel like the details are being bombarded upon you, rather being shown as the story unfolds. Interestingly enough, there are moments when explanation about some occurance is required, these were the only points where I did have moments of confusion. The most notable was pertaining to the sharing knife and its role in this volume. I had to reread some passages on it a couple of times to get the full grasp on what was happening, and I'm still not totally sure I got it. Still, the overall world building is rich in complexity and easy to understand.

The quiet and detailed prose that captivated me in Beguilement has carried over to Legacy. And even in times of disquiet the writing is subtle, never boastful. Ms. Bujold uses her descriptive voice in a way that is utterly transporting, as illustrated below.
Rounding a tangle of wrack and cattails where red-winged blackbirds traded barking chirps and hoarse whistles, they came at last upon a broad open space crowded with flat lily pads, their white flowers wide to the sun. Thin, iridescent blue dragonflies, and thicker scarlet ones, stitched the air above the marsh, and rows of turtles sunned themselves on logs, yellow-striped necks stretched out, brown backs gleaming like polished stones.
The dialogue is also another area where the writing shines. During their continual fight to be together, I especially enjoyed the passages where Fawn and Dag were able to relax and just have fun with each other. Below is one of those times.
"I still don't agree. I'd want my trousers. In fact, if I were waked up out of my bedroll in a night attack, I think I'd go for them before my boots or my bow."

"But Patrollers sleep in their trousers, in camp," she objected. "Although not in hotels," she allowed in a tone of pleasurable reminiscence.

"That gives you a measure of importance, then, doesn't it?" He batted his eyes at her. "I can just picture it, a whole patrol riding out armed to the teeth, all bare-assed. Do you have any idea what the jouncing in those saddles would do to our tender bits? We'd never make it to the malice."

"Agh!" Now I'm picturing it!" She bent over, laughing. "Stop! I'll allow you the trousers."
I think what I liked the most about Legacy was the same thing I liked most about Beguilement and that is the strength in the relationship between Dag and Fawn. Though they are faced with opposition every step of their relationship, they don't let that get between them. They fight to be together and at the same time love each other enough to realize that if it comes down to it, they will let each other go for the greater good (if that makes sense).
She raised her face to meet his beautiful eyes square, and went on, "So I just want you to know, if you have to choose the patrol--I won't die for it. Nor be worse off for having known and loved you for a space. I'll still be richer going down the road than when you met me, by far, if only for the horse and the gear and the knowing. I never knew there was much knowing as this to be had in the whole world. Maybe, looking back, I'll remember this summer as a dream of wonders...even the nightmare parts. If I didn't get to keep you for always, leastways I had you for a time. Which out to be magic enough for any farmer girl."
After not being grabbed by the very beginning of the book, I'm glad to say that I ended up liking Legacy a lot. I'm interested in seeing where the next volume leads Dag and Fawn on their journey to unite the cultures of their world. Grade B+.



  1. You've been reading a lot a fantasy books lately, eh? :-D I haven't read anything by Bujold yet, though I have one of hers in TBR. I've been seeing many reviews of her books on various blogs too.

    How's the NaNoWriMo going?

  2. Yeah, I have been reading a lot of fantasy. For some reason romance hasn't been keeping my interest. But I just started reading my first Robin Carr book so that's a little romance to mix in with the fantasy.

    NaNo is going a lot better than it was in the beginning. I finally found a balance between writing, reading and life. :) Thank's for asking.

  3. Ahhhh!! You keep reviewing fantasy books and I keep wanting to read them and I just don't have the time!! I don't know what I'm doing... Anyway, this sounds good :) I still have to read the first book though... so eventually, I'll get to this one.

    How are you finding the Robyn Carr so far?

  4. Hi Nath! I'm liking her, but she does a lot of head hoping in this book (Deep in the Valley). Head hopping kinds bugs me. :p

  5. Hi Brie, I really really really want to read this series. It sounds like something right up my alley.

    PS. I love your site's new look!

  6. Hi Jill, you should give it a go. I'm loving the series. And thanks!