Monday, April 13, 2009
Review: The Sharing Knife: Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold
Passage picks up where Legacy left off. Dag and Fawn have just arrived at Bluefield Farm after leaving Dag's home place of Hickory Lake. Their time at Hickory Lake was less than welcoming and it concluded with the ousting of Dag and Fawn from the camp. They hope to spend a short time with Fawn's family on Bluefield Farm and then set off on their next journey in which Dag wants to show Fawn the sea and also find a way to bridge the huge gap between Farmer's and Lakewalker's along the way.
Their stay with Fawn's family is just what they need after a long and wearing travel from Hickory Lake. Things go well and they end up leaving with a new companion, Fawn's aggravating brother, Whit, much to Fawn's discontent. The three begin their journey toward the sea, stopping here and there. They meet new people and Dag is called upon to perform ground work on some Farmer's, all the while he attempts to explain to them that what he's doing is not magic and that there is no reason for farmer's to be fearful of Lakewalker's.
Along the way the three pick up a few more companions, both farmer and Lakewalker. Their journey takes them to a boat with a female captain, Boss Berry. Berry is setting out to find her father's missing ship. Fawn secures herself, Dag and Whit's place on the boat in exchange for them working their way. Fawn and Berry strike up a friendship and Whit becomes enamored with Berry. Dag is able to take the opportunity aboard Berry's boat to share and explain Lakewalker ground work to even more farmers. He also learns more about his newly discovered medical maker abilities, both surprising and scaring himself, and worrying Fawn.
Dag's quest to bring Farmers and Lakewalker's together is a hard one. Lakewalker's do not want Farmer's to know their secrets and would rather they remain ignorant to Lakewalker customs. And Farmers are hard to get through to due to their disbelieving nature and fear of Lakewalkers. As they make their way closer to sea, trouble arises. The shocking truth behind a deadly game puts everyone onboard in danger and tests Dag's maker abilities, leaving him to question if his ability is a gift or a curse.
Passage was a great follow up to both Beguilement and Legacy. Dag and Fawn's journey is entertaining and eye opening. The world building is nothing short of awesome. The Lakewalker mythology, while very intricate, is completely understandable and the writing is simply enchanting. The relationship between Dag and Fawn continues to evolve as they settle into married life, though much of the romance is put on the backburner in this story and it focuses more on Farmer/Lakewalker relations. Prejudices and superstitions are addressed as Dag tries to find a way to unite the two peoples.
Overall, Passage was a thought provoking book. Like the first two in the series, it moves at a moderate pace, paying close attention to the characters and their interactions and struggles. The Sharing Knife series has fast become one of my favorite Fantasy series to date. I've written before about how I like my fantasy to have strong female protagonists, understandable mythology, a little romance, some action, and a good writing. I find all that and more in this series. I'm looking forward to reading the conclusion of Dag and Fawn's story in the final book, Horizon. For this one, grade A-.
Read an excerpt here. Visit Lois McMaster Bulold's site here.