Mark's Reviews > Beguilement

Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold
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's review
Dec 30, 2010

really liked it

** spoiler alert ** [spoilers are fairly mild, but read at your own risk]

At this point, I think I'm just going to give up and bump up Bujold to the "read everything by her I can find" category of author. The good ones aren't just good, they leave that craving for more that only a handful of authors induce.

This is the first of a new series, a fantasy which includes an essentially agrarian society, demons ("malices") which occasionally sprout out of the ground, and a group of men (Lakewalkers) who patrol for them and kill them using pseudo-magic craft, courage, and sacrifice--mostly the last two. The plot flows around a Lakewalker patroller, and young farm woman who's left home, their romance and their alien cultures.

In fact, the whole second half of the book is about them trying to win some measure of acceptance back on the farm. Which gives the book a somewhat inverted structure relative to the normal fantasy "travelogue"--it starts out with rather intense action that challenges a naive farmer to rise above her limitations, a brutal, hard earned victory, and then moves to a detailed depiction of domestic life in the insular village whence she came. I don't know how many writers other than Bujold could pull off what should be a prolonged anticlimax so well.

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