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The Sharing Knife: Beguilement

A young woman with pale skin and dark hair sits cross-legged in the woods, looking in wonder at fireflies floating around her head and shoulders
The Sharing Knife: Beguilement, by Lois McMaster Bujold

This is one of my most-recommended books and it was a Christmas treat to re-read it! It might be surprising that this quiet little low-magic novel with a romance novel structure is something I've recommended to literally dozens of people, but then on the other hand a book this unusual AND this fun is a great example of about a dozen different writing innovations, which is worth pointing out to people.

Things in THE SHARING KNIFE that you don't see every day:

* a 'medieval' fantasy setting without kings, lords, evil overlords, warring armies, or in fact any kind of organized government at all (I've recommended this book as an example of anarchism in practice)

* a fighting-evil-monsters novel that's structured as a romance (it has dual protagonists! It ends with a wedding! I've got multiple writer friends trying to do similar things who have searched desperately for published examples of this)

* a (happy!) romance between two characters who are both disabled (Yes, Fawn counts as disabled: not only does she have a serious injury that results in chronic pain, but among the Lakewalkers she's unable to perceive a level of sensory awareness that everyone around her has, as though she were blind or deaf, and it affects her social standing and ability)

* completely, 100% unique monsters, magic system, and metaphysical structure that somehow feels intuitive and simple

* pregnancy, miscarriage, uterine issues, and menstruation on the page

* post-post-apocalypse happiness

I love this book and you probably will too (unless you're one of the joyless reviewers on Goodreads who feel cheated by a fantasy novel that treats its characters as humans with personal lives).



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