Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Sharing Knife: Legacy (Book #66)

I just finished the second half of Lois McMaster Bujold's romantic fantasy, The Sharing Knife: Legacy (2007). First, a note: these books don't stand alone. My understanding is that Bujold wrote the story to be a single volume, but her publisher chose to split them because of length. It was a bad choice, IMO. As a single volume, I don't think it would've been longer than any one book in the Kushiel series, and certainly shorter than those Wheel of Time books I see many of my friends toting around. As it stands, the first book (The Sharing Knife: Beguilement) feels unfinished, and if you tried to read the second without having already read the first, you'd be completely lost. I was a bit fuzzy in places from having forgotten some of the details, and I read the first book earlier this year!

All that said, I really enjoyed this book. Bujold is great at creating fantasy worlds that feel unique and well-imagined. It's never stated explicitly, but this one feels a bit like a post-apocalyptic North America, or maybe just an alternate one, with an appealing country feel to it. It reminds me a bit of Sharon Shinn's recent YA fantasy trilogy, also of Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker books, and even a bit of Firefly, while still retaining its own uniqueness. And I like how the romance is resolved--happily, but not unrealistically so.

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