Mike (the Paladin)'s Reviews > Beguilement

Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold
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Dec 08, 11


Okay...first let us make no mistake. This is a romance, a love story. The synopsis may make it sound like an adventure, it may talk about the Lake Walkers, the Patrolers in mysterious terms...but it amounts to a love story. The inexperienced young farm girl meets the mysterious, older and more knowledgeable Lake Walker, shows herself more competent and able than expected. Then their love must overcome various and sundry obstacles (I'd mention a couple but that might be considered giving spoilers) etc., etc., and so on, and so on.

The book opens with a bit of action and we get an explanation of the title, some background on the world and then we launch off into the romance. I knew I was in trouble when it took 2 chapters to travel from the farm where they'd been staying to the place they were going and all that actually happened along the way was adolescent conversation.

So, if you're looking for a romance novel (and I know some of you will be glad of this) this is your book. If you're looking for a fantasy that concerns the subject of the book's synopsis (other than the romance of course) you're out of luck. On the plus side for many (and I'm not dissing the book or those who like romances) If you're looking for a romance this seems like it might be one you'll find satisfying. Good reading to you who like this type story.

As for myself...I don't plan to follow up with the rest of the series.
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message 17: by Kiri (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kiri If you continued with the series you'd find a lot more plot and the real meat of the story. Admittedly, she does take her time with the development, but in such a deft way! I just finished Jim Butcher's "Storm Front" and was frankly shocked to see you give that five stars and this two. But then, to each his own.


Mike (the Paladin) It's a matter of taste. Bujold apparently just isn't my cup of tea (in general). I've only really liked 2 by her. On the other hand I'm a huge Dresden fan.


message 15: by Kiri (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kiri Heh, yeah, hope I didn't come across as rude with my comment! I was just so shocked by your five stars for "Storm Front!" Not that I didn't find it enjoyable, but... it was partially because I picked it up right after reading Haruki Murakami's "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle", which is all gorgeous, dreamlike writing... and Harry Dresden really does come across as a teenage boy's wet dream (as I read in someone else's review), and there's nothing poetic or astounding about the writing itself - it's fun, like a fluffy movie. Oh, here I go, digging myself a deeper hole!

I adore Bujold for her beautiful plotting and deft writing and unique imagination.

But yes, taste. No accounting for. Applied to me, as well.


message 14: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Dec 09, 2011 10:00AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mike (the Paladin) Well obviously I disagree but if I go too deeply into why this will probably spiral on and on so I'll try to resist the temptation.

I'll just say that for me a lot has to do with how a book touches me. Often there are books I've read that are wonderfully written that just don't speak to me. The Night Circus comes to mind. Beautiful pros but a book I really don't like at all.

As for the Dresden books I've read the description you use above and again believe it to be inaccurate and inadequate. The first one Storm Front isn't the best. The series gets magnitudes better in some ways later on. But each volume would still reach (in my opinion of course) no less than 4.5 stars which rounds up to 5.

I realize that's my reaction to the books and others react differently. Like your reaction here I'm sometimes a little flummoxed at those who dislike the books (though I did have a set-to with one woman who felt Harry was a male Chauvinist but I still think a lot of that was her own attitudes. Harry's "I can't help protecting women" proclivity is part of the character and is a running point for jokes etc. with Murphy).

Anyway, back to subject. We'll all disagree and I try to be cognizant of that. I've met people here who don't like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Lord of the Rings. Hey, Gilligan's Island is still on the air somewhere while Firefly is canceled. There's just no accounting for taste.


message 13: by Kiri (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kiri I'll read more Dresden, never fear! It was tightly plotted, he has great potential, the action was always sprightly and well-written. It's just not my five-star book. Then again, I probably already gave five stars to some stuff that really didn't deserve it (may have given five stars to Mercedes Lackey - eek!).

I will be intrigued to keep an eye on the sexual politics of the series; I didn't think Harry was a chauvinist, but something about the way women and men were described made my radar go off--I'd say Butcher tends to make his men quite manly and his women quite female. Not that there's anything wrong with that, per se.

A thing that bugged me was the way in which Harry would occasionally tell us something like "few Wizards do this, but I do". Sort of a "I'm a really exceptional, great person" message that would be better shown than told.


message 12: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Dec 09, 2011 11:10AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mike (the Paladin) It's more the "I'm a bit of a rebel" thing, like advertising in the phone book under "Wizards" in defiance of the "magic is secret" attitude of the White Council. As you read you'll see that the Harry/Murphy relationship grows a lot from it's first friendly suspicion paradigm. Some of the strongest characters in the series are women (both good and bad characters).


Miriam I read more of this series despite being disappointed by this book and didn't feel it got any better. It seemed like enough fantasy plot for one novel spread out over one novel's worth of romance and stretched out with a lot of boring descriptions, housekeeping, etc.


Mike (the Paladin) That was my take here. There was a lot of stretching it seemed...


Miriam Too bad. I would have liked it, I think, as one solid novel about a group of people killing monsters and a romance subplot.


Mike (the Paladin) I've read 2 novels by her that I liked. The first 2 in the Chalion series The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls. Unfortunately the third in the series crashed and burned (my opinion of course). Those two were why I tried this one, those and the synopsis of course.


Miriam I liked her Miles Vorkosigan series.


Dalton Fitzgerald I'm soooo very glad that you understand that! I happen to really like the book - but I'm just glad that your dislike is based upon an accurate understanding of it! Thanks!


Mike (the Paladin) To each their own. I have a lot of friends here who like romances. I'm just not up for books where it's the main story line.


message 4: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "To each their own. I have a lot of friends here who like romances. I'm just not up for books where it's the main story line."

*flutters eyelashes*


Mike (the Paladin) heart skips a beat....

(Oh well, she's married....sigh)


Serge Boivin Great review and commentary. thanks! I slogged through the first 2 books in this series, mainly because I loved the Vorkosigan saga and Chalion series so much, but I am really not a romance novel type. I won't finish this series.


Mike (the Paladin) I picked this up right after the Chalion series (though I thought the last in that series failed) based on the synopsis. Bujold can write but she sometimes seems to write for different audiences.


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