“Barr smiled sunnily. Most young men did, when first exposed to Sumac. Most all men did, actually. The tears came later.”
“The Sharing Knife Volume Four: Horizon” by Lois McMaster Bujold.
I have a love-hate relationship with the review text on the back of a book more often than not. Either I feel that it’s lead me completely astray (I’m looking at you, Breed) or it manages to say what I want to say about a book in one concise little line that makes it difficult to review a book, but also works well to start the review of a book. Such is the case with Anniston Star‘s neat little back-cover text on my copy of Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Sharing Knife Volume Four: Horizon: “An engrossing, satisfying read and a fitting conclusion to the series.” I mean, really, you can’t say it much better than that.
The Sharing Knife series entered my world about a year ago, when my boyfriend got me the whole set as a gift because of how much I had been praising Bujold’s fantasy work (seriously, this woman’s Chalion books are the fantasy books I want to write!), and, while this series is a bit different from what I have read so far, I still really greatly enjoyed it. I liked to think of it as “domestic fantasy.” While some fantasy deals with great sweeping epics and wars and prophesies, The Sharing Knife seems a little milder, following star-crossed lovers Dag and Fawn as they try to take their two vastly different world and merge them together for the better of the whole world. In Horizon, we start to see the work that they’ve accomplished so far showing results, with a strong glimmer of hope for the future. It’s a mild, muted sort of fantasy, one that embraces the fact that change can’t happen in a day, while wrapping you up in a rich, vibrant world, spending time with characters that make you feel comfortable and at home.
With the exception of one little plot point at the end that I felt seemed fairly absurd and wishing that the epilogue took place a little bit further into the future for a better glimpse at the world Dag and Fawn helped to shape, this was an incredibly satisfying conclusion to a really lovely series. I’m going to miss being in this world, that’s for sure, but, at the same time, everything I wanted to happen did, and I’m content with knowing that life will go on well for them. The action of the big final battle with a challenge none of them would have ever expected was intense and well-written, and I like how we got to see Dag and Fawn separated and standing on their own feet after having leaned on each other for so long. There were a few parts that seemed to drag a little too long, but there were some fantastic new characters brought in without feeling like too much was being thrown in with the inability to conclude in a satisfactory way.
Overall, I’d really recommend this series, especially to readers who like a cozy, rich world to escape to for a little while. It’s a great example of world-building without hitting the reader on the head with it, but rather surrounding them and transporting them completely. It’s a little romance with a fantasy leaning, with a slightly meandering pace. If you’re looking for something edge-of-your-seat, you won’t get a lot of that there, but if you just want to unwind for a bit into something mellow and sweet, I think you could do very well with this series.
Books read: 007/100.