[LMB] The Sharing Knife.... fast reread

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Sun Jan 20 13:31:02 GMT 2019

It was suggested that in honour of the new novella, we do a quick reread of
the Sharing Knife books.

I don't have time for that. So I'm doing it anyway.

First book, first eight chapters, we meet the characters, get to know their
world, and fight a malice.

Just some random thoughts as I read (not many in the most exciting bits,
because I was too busy enjoying the action.)

The Sharing Knife: Bk 1: Beguilement

Brilliant beginning, so much scene-setting without a clumsy infodump,
 and it intrigues the reader. We want to find out more about her.

Plenty of differences already between the nomadic, matriarchal,
hunter-gatherer Lakewalker and the patrilineal land-owning farmers.
You can already see the friction.

Blight  bogle – it sounds like a child’s tale. Funny, almost harmless.

Fawn could have stayed at the first farm, or the second. Her life, her
world, would have been so different.

Then we follow Dag into a night-time battle with the bandits, I do
love a good battle scene. Dag is obviously very knowledgeable and
experienced, protective, skilled, and he should be scary but we see
 how caring, and tired, he is. And empty.

I love the way Fawn’s mind works: she remembers the story of a girl
 who kept running away to her Lakewalker lover until she finally
hanged herself in the woods. She knows the story was meant to
warn girls away from Lakewalkers, but wonders if the real lesson is
that if something doesn’t work you try something else, or don’t give
 up so soon… or stay out of the woods. That sums up Fawn, she looks
 at things more deeply than most, and without the assumptions most
 people make. She also wonders if the girl died from thwarted rage
rather than thwarted love; Fawn is a fighter.  She remembers that
she’d wanted to kill herself to make Stupid Sunny sorry, but even in
her anger she knew it wouldn’t affect him, and in the morning she
had a better plan. So she decides a useful lesson could be, Wait till
after breakfast to make decisions. She’s innocent, and not worldly, but
 she’s not stupid. And her mind is always analysing things.

Even after the horror of the malice, and all of the trauma she’d
 been through, the first thing Fawn does is to ask questions. Why
 did one knife work and not the other…. what does Dag mean about
 the knife not being primed… and so on.  Fawn is always asking,
and really thinking about the answers.  She’s very aware that
ignorance is a weapon people use to make you look stupid – first
they tell you nothing, then blame you for the mistakes you make.
(Fawn really didn’t have a particularly happy childhood.)  You notice
 through the books that Lakewalkers are the opposite of Fawn; they
 have a system that works, and don’t change anything. She questions
 everything and wants to find ways to test it.

Even when a character in a book has a miscarriage, it’s rarely as
 graphic and detailed as this – we don’t usually see that painful
aftermath. But then the series is about life and death, in all its forms.
And the many uses of death.

Also few books give equal weight and respect to household work.
It, also, is life and death – that food stored in the basement will keep
 the family alive through winter. It’s not a chore or a nice hobby, it’s vital.

Note to self, probably best to avoid Lakewalker funerals. Must be pretty messy.

Most stories that start with the heroine pregnant work to make her
 the innocent victim – forced, drugged or deceived. But Fawn just
wanted to know. She hates being ignorant, being kept out of the club.

I don’t like to ill-wish the innocent, but I sincerely hope that Sunny
 and his wife have no children. Yes, I know that’s nasty, but it would
 serve him right.

So many of Fern’s memories of home include bullying from her
brothers. Casual cruelty can be at least as bad as hatred, it erodes the spirit.

If I could have any groundsense ability, I’d want to be able to
 push mosquitoes away.

It explains a lot about Lakewalkers that so many things we keep
private are displayed for everyone to know. That must really impact on a culture.

Award for the most hysterically funny conversation ever: Dag
explaining the birds and the bees to Fawn. And the rather uncomfortable
 effect on him. And then he fell off his horse.

“It’s never too late to save something,” he said sternly. “Might not be what you wanted, is all.”
“Everyone’s someone’s child.”
Someday someone will collect all Dag’s sayings in a Book Of Lakewalker Wisdom.

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