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(The Sharing Knife #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  11,422 ratings  ·  984 reviews
Alternate Cover edition here.

Troubled young Fawn Bluefield seeks a life beyond her family's farm. Enroute to the city, she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers. The necromancers armed with human bone knives fight "malices", immortal entities that draw out life, enslaving humans and animals. Dag saves Fawn from a malice - at a devastating cost. Their fates are now bound in a
Paperback, 361 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Harper Voyager (first published October 2006)
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David Tate It's not so much "a series" as a single long novel in 4 volumes, always planned as such. Rather like The Lord of the Rings in that regard.…moreIt's not so much "a series" as a single long novel in 4 volumes, always planned as such. Rather like The Lord of the Rings in that regard.(less)

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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,422 ratings  ·  984 reviews

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Start your review of Beguilement (The Sharing Knife, #1)
Jun 04, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worst, sff, romance
Note: I believe I am the only person on the face of the earth who hated this book. If you liked it, this review will annoy you. Also, be advised that there will be spoilers for what we might loosely term the plot in what follows.

This book suffers from three main problems:

1. A fascinating world that gets built in the first few pages and then utterly abandoned in favor of

2. An amazingly unengaging, unbelievable romance between a typical Bujold guy and

3.Mary Sue

The thing is, this is actually a so
Jan 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: hardcore Bujold fans
I cry foul! I thought Bujold wrote sophisticated fantasies in interesting worlds (Hugo winner? Hello? ), but this one is strictly pedestrian, and I don't mean in an alternative transportation, heart-healthy way.

We follow a pregnant farm girl who has left home with the half-formed intention of seeking a new life in the city, when she's captured by a 'malice' (really??), a sinister force that is converting animals and people into frightening biddable mud-men (David Edding's snake powered mud-men,
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Mar 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Several years ago I stumbled on Bujold's Vorkosigan series when I randomly checked out A Civil Campaign from the library. As one of the later books in that series, it was definitely the wrong place to start and left me rather puzzled and at sea. But then I discovered Cordelia's Honor and fell in love with both Cordelia and Aral, and dove into all the Miles books afterwards--one of the great SF series, seriously--and then I finished and thought, what next?

So it turned out that Bujold has written
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it
The characters in this book are lovable. Every thing else seem typical for a love story, but the tone of the writing was incredibly inviting and almost soothing.
Fawn and Dag were an unlikely pair; Dag with a military persona, and Fawn a lowly, naive farm girl, albeit witty, clever, and resourceful. Fawn was a damsel in distress rescued by Dag, that was how their paths crossed. They pushed old boundary lines to be together, against all odds.
The story was not all romance, there was magic, action
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Reading the reviews, the detractors seem to fall into certain categories. Those who were expecting something like her Vorkosigan series and are disappointed it's fantasy. (Hello, it's pretty explicitly marked as fantasy from the description to the cover.) Those who were expecting something like her Chalion series and are disappointed the emphasis on this first book is on romance. (Yes, it is. I think it's tons better than the usual book on the romance aisle, but if you sneer at books built aroun ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
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 ...more
Sherwood Smith
Oct 18, 2008 added it
Shelves: fantasy
I waited a year because someone had warned me that The Sharing Knife: Beguilement was actually the first half of a book summarily chopped in half. So I waited until the second came out.

The story appears to be a fantasy set in some pastoral world near water (I later found out the setting was a parallel world Great Lakes region, an area I'd never seen, and so did not recognize), where we are introduced to two cultures living in uneasy coexistence: the Farmers and the Lakewakers, who patrol everyw
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This book was...not good. This author is great. This book...Harlequin-y
Jacqueline J
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-romance
This was a lovely fantasy romance by one of my new favorite authors. I wonder why people complain so much if there is a romance in a sci fi or fantasy novel? Are all the people complaining single and uninterested in love or do they just insist that people in fiction be unrealistically asexual? Anyway this book sucked me right in. This author has such a fluid clear style that I just love her stories and her people. The world building was great and I love the way there are no info dumps but the wo ...more
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
The Sharing Knife is about Fawn Bluefield, a young woman, pregnant but unwed, and scorned by the father of her baby. Fearing the shame and outrage that will fall on her when news of her pregnancy gets around, she decides to run away from home and make a new life for herself in the city of Glassforge, where she will pretend to be a widow. On her way, she encounters a group of Lakewalkers, a mysterious race of people who patrol the land, searching for and destroying malices, also known as blight b ...more
Beanbag Love
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is more of a 4.75. Mainly because I felt the book changed so much from beginning to end.

When we first meet Fawn and Dag the story seems like one of action and war. It's brutal and they both have to fight for their lives, saving each other in the process. It evolves into a rather simple, but very nice, romance, however. Since the over-riding arc of the story is completed over the course of several books, the change of tone makes this book itself feel unfinished. Since I plan to read on, it w
Para (wanderer)
“There are a lot of senseless things in the world, but not all of them are sorrows. Sometimes—I find—it helps to remember the other kind. Everybody knows some light, even if they forget when they’re down in the dark. Something”—he groped for a term that would work for her—“everyone else thinks is stupid, but you know is wonderful.”
I'm not quite sure what to think about this book. I got it recommended on the promise of a loving, respectful relationship that works in spite of how strange it is
Dec 28, 2008 rated it liked it
This is the first book of a duology, a fantasy/romance with the emphasis on the romance. Our couple consists of Fawn Bluefield – farmer girl, eighteen, pregnant, running away from home – and Dag Redwing – one-handed, widower, fiftyish, from the militaristic Lakewalker culture. Dag and his patrol are tracking a malice, an immortal life-leeching menace which can only be dispatched with a sharing knife (a nice little conceit that is not worth ruining). The malice captures Fawn for nefarious purpose ...more
Jamie Collins
Feb 14, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance, fantasy
I would never have picked up this book based on any description of it I've ever read, but it's Bujold, so I thought, how bad could it be?

It turns out that even Bujold can't make me enjoy a sappy romance between a young, naive farm girl named Fawn and the much older supernatural warrior named Dag who comes to her rescue. She's perky and her family doesn't appreciate her. He's suffered a tragedy and thought he'd never love again. The characterization is nothing special, and the setting is a bland
Lisa Butterworth
Apr 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
I really enjoy Bujold's imagination. Her fantasy ideas are never like anything I've ever seen before and her worlds are so rich and complex and utterly believable. And she is so good at letting them unfold slowly and naturally and at making characters that I totally fall in love with.

This is actually the second time I read this book, I don't usually read books twice, but I bought it for a quarter at my mom's library last week because I didn't have anything to read and I was desperate.

I had bee
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Seems like these days I'm on a roll with fantasy-romances. Or would it be more accurate to call this a romance-fantasy? Unlike other romance novels I've read that feature a heavy dose of fantasy, Beguilement is more like the other way around -- romance in my fantasy rather than fantasy in my romance, so to speak.

I think that in itself might alienate a lot of readers. The book begins with Fawn Bluefield running away from home only to be kidnapped by a "malice", an inhuman magical creature that e
Jul 19, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: incurable romantics.
Okay, I am a Bujold fan, honest I am. However, I am afraid this review will cause be to be exiled from the International Order of Bujold-lovers. This fantasy book reminds me of a cross between Anne Rice and Mercedes Lackey.

Brief plot description: A grizzled soldier meets a young girl. The soldier is fifty-five years old, and has a broken heart. The girl is eighteen and has run away from home after her one and only experience of sex turned out badly.

During the next three days, the two save either
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, reviewed
Re-Read via Audio 12/18/2018
Rating Raised from 3 to 4 Stars

4 Stars for Narration by Bernadette Dunne
4 Stars for Story

I'm on a roll! I finally caught up on Vorkosigan Saga this year and that reignited my interest to read other work by Bujold. I may be totally caught up next year. =)

I read this story when it came out years ago. It did not make a deep impression on me because I thought it would be like the Vorkosigan series. Isn't it interesting how your state of mind and expectations will totally
This book had a really solid start, with plenty of danger and magical action. It seemed like it was going to be an enjoyable fantasy read. Then after a while, I realized that the "resting up" from this initial action was not just an interlude, but the rest of the book. Seriously two thirds of the story focus exclusively on the romance and the couple's relationship-type challenges like meeting and dealing with in-laws, and dealing with cross-cultural relationships and taboos, and age differences. ...more
Kathleen Garlock
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
So disappointing.

Enchanted by the world and characters Bujold created in The Curse of Chalion, and especially Paladin of Souls, my eager hands stretched out in blind faith and pulled The Sharing Knife from the bookseller's shelf.

I should have left it sheathed between the other paperbacks.

Oh, initially it whet my interest with some sharp action involving some intriguing monsters. A malice and its creations: the mudmen. Nice, huh?

But what starts out as interesting fantasy soon dulls into a boring
Sep 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was this really cheap promotion fot the whole Sharing Knife series as ebooks and although I own them in paper I just had to splurge.

This really is the most couple-centred work of LMB's, but at the same time it also contrasts two completely different lifestyles, Lakewalker and Farmer, through all four books.

But I read it for Fawn and her interactions with Dag and the fact that as soon as they get through their first real dangerous encounter and everything changes for both, they really respe
MrsJoseph *grouchy*
Length of time on Mt. TBR: 5 years, 2 months

Ok. This was terrible. Really, really terrible.

I mean, the writing was fine. It worked and was clear, etc. But the fucking subject matter... *headdesk* 18 y/o girl gets pregnant, gets scorned, runs away, has a miscarriage, dates and then marries a 55 y/o. The end.

The only reason I stuck it out was I really wanted to find out about the flipping KNIFE and what happened to it. Instead I was treated to chapters and chapters of Fawn's stupid family dynami
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am intrigued. The world is interesting and I’m curious to see how the MCs move forward together. The age difference did not squick me out as much as I would have expected. Mostly due to the interactions between the MCs.

The one downside to the story was Fawn’s family. I’m not sure I understood why they had to get her family’s approval and had to put up their ridiculosity.

Annoyingly my library does not have the rest of the series in audiobook format. I have to decide whether to do eyeball read
Mar 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2010, fantasy
Beautifully written, surprisingly romantic, and thoroughly enjoyable. Bujold's world-building is superb, complex yet easy to imagine and follow. I look forward to the next installment. ...more
May 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
To be fair, I did enjoy the first half of this book. The world-building is interesting (love those mud men, and would have liked to learn more about them), and the first several chapters have quite a bit of action.

The second half is nearly entirely domestic. The problem isn't that it's a romance; I enjoy a good romance. The problem is it's a romance with no discernible conflict greater than, "Will Dag be able to help braid a rope with his hook hand?" Other issues that wore on me:

- Unnecessary at
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
Via Book Reviews by Niki Hawkes at

Story: I have read dozens of romance novels with a fantasy twist, but I have never before read a robust, rounded fantasy with a full romance focus. It was the very first true hybrid of the genres in my eyes and I have to say, if all romances were presented in this format I doubt I’d read much else. Usually, the biggest draws for a fantasy novel are world-building and events (fight scenes, magic/spell casting, etc. – basically: external conflic
Dec 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Like most Bujold, this was a fast interesting read. She grabbed my attention with the viewpoint character, Fawn, who was likable and quickly made me care what happened to her. The world/society/setting seems underdeveloped, but that probably comes clearer in the rest of the series. Also, when it comes to fantasy, I really like Tolkien, and everyone else seems to fall short in the world development area, naturally. In other words, she didn't invent 14 languages yet for this universe.

Bujold is al
Pam Nelson
3 Sharing Star’s

I have NEVER read a fantasy book until now.
That being said I didn’t hate it and I didn’t love it.. I am inbetween.

I enjoyed the hell out of the narrator. I don’t know if it was me or the book but I feel like there was too much down time.. I understand you have to build the world and all that, but I still felt lost. A lot of the words got me all turned around. Some of the creatures as well.

Fawn and Dag, there journey to find each other was what I loved I could care less about
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Review applies for all two/four of the Sharing Knife series. I appreciate that Bujold is trying something new here, as I hate to see good writers fall into the trap of retreading the same ground again and again. E.g., Terry Brooks. Well, except for the "good" part. He was never good.

Unfortunately, her new twist was apparently to write a romance novel. Allowing me to discover that I do not care for romance novels. It isn't 100% romance novel - maybe 10-15%. But that bit was awkward, annoying and
Bailey Foster
I'm obsessed with this book. I waited 48 hours to write this review so I wouldn't just gush, but here I am, about to gush anyways.
The worldbuilding! The chemistry! The precious Dag and Fawn! The magic! Ah! So good.

There was a really satisfying build up for the relationship between Dag and Fawn (the ending leaves much to be desired in terms of closure... but no worries! their story continues with several more books!) I love the anticipation before the MCs finally act on their feelings, and I fel
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Lois McMaster Bujold was born in 1949, the daughter of an engineering professor at Ohio State University, from whom she picked up her early interest in science fiction. She now lives in Minneapolis, and has two grown children.

Her fantasy from HarperCollins includes the award-winning Chalion series and the Sharing Knife tetralogy; her science fiction from Baen Books features the perennially bestse

Other books in the series

The Sharing Knife (4 books)
  • Legacy (The Sharing Knife, #2)
  • Passage (The Sharing Knife, #3)
  • Horizon (The Sharing Knife, #4)

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192 likes · 49 comments
“Lakewalker legends say the gods abandoned the world when the first malice came. And that they will return when the earth is entirely cleansed of its spawn. If you believe in gods."

"Do you?"

"I believe they are not here, yes. It's a faith of sorts.”
“But though you’d never starve your body to wasting and still expect to go on, you starve your heart, yet act as though you can still draw on it forever without the debt ever coming due. If you fall—when you fall, you’re going to fall like a starving man.” 7 likes
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