Here’s a column by Liz Bourke at tor.com: Revisiting LMB’s Sharing Knife series.
Interesting! I have read this series quite a few times because it is a comfort read for me — something I will pick up if I have a cold or just feel under the weather, or if I want to read but not something new-to-me, or if I want something pleasant to read a few pages of before bed, or whatever. In general:
–I like the first book quite a bit
–I skip lightly across most of the part where Fawn is visiting Dag’s camp and family in the second book
–I like the third and fourth books much better than the first two
–And btw, Knife Children, the novella that is set after this series, is quite enjoyable and well worth picking up.
So what does Liz think?
Lois McMaster Bujold’s Sharing Knife tetralogy never, I think, equalled the popularity and recognition of her Miles Vorkosigan novels or her World of the Five Gods work (Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls, The Hallowed Hunt, and the Penric and Desdemon novellas…) but it remains, for me, a revelation about the kinds of stories that it is possible to tell in fantasy, and the struggles it is possible to reflect.
Yes! This is a promising beginning to the post. I would say that the Sharing Knife stories are unusual in their emphasis on showing the daily life of ordinary people. Sure, sometimes there are giant bats, but mostly these are stories about daily life on a farm, in a camp, on a small riverboat. What we see are ordinary people living their lives while also dealing, generally in small ways, with the necessity of pushing gently for broad-scale societal change. Or that’s what I think. Let me read a little more …
Ah! Liz does mean that, in a sense, but she also has in mind the difference in handling a threat like a Dark Lord, something that is Big and Immediate and then Over, versus handling a threat that requires slow, grinding work generation after generation. That’s a good point too!
Click through and read the whole thing if you have a minute.
Meanwhile, what did you all think of the Sharing Knife series? How about compared to the Vorkosigan and Penric stories? I am not actually sure how I would rank these three series personally. I can see going V –> P –> SK, but I can also see shuffling those letters around into a different order. All the series include books that are somewhat uneven in quality.
But for warmth and settling down comfortably, it’s probably exactly the reverse: SK –> P –> V.