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Lakewalker Barr Foxbrush returns from two years of patrolling the bitter wilds of Luthlia against the enigmatic, destructive entities called malices, only to find that the secret daughter he'd left behind in the hinterland of Oleana has disappeared from her home after a terrible accusation. The search for her will call on more of Barr's mind and heart than just his mage po Lakewalker Barr Foxbrush returns from two years of patrolling the bitter wilds of Luthlia against the enigmatic, destructive entities called malices, only to find that the secret daughter he'd left behind in the hinterland of Oleana has disappeared from her home after a terrible accusation. The search for her will call on more of Barr's mind and heart than just his mage powers, as he tries to balance his mistakes of the past and his most personal duties to the future. A stand-alone story set in the world of The Sharing Knife.


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Lakewalker Barr Foxbrush returns from two years of patrolling the bitter wilds of Luthlia against the enigmatic, destructive entities called malices, only to find that the secret daughter he'd left behind in the hinterland of Oleana has disappeared from her home after a terrible accusation. The search for her will call on more of Barr's mind and heart than just his mage po Lakewalker Barr Foxbrush returns from two years of patrolling the bitter wilds of Luthlia against the enigmatic, destructive entities called malices, only to find that the secret daughter he'd left behind in the hinterland of Oleana has disappeared from her home after a terrible accusation. The search for her will call on more of Barr's mind and heart than just his mage powers, as he tries to balance his mistakes of the past and his most personal duties to the future. A stand-alone story set in the world of The Sharing Knife.

30 review for Knife Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys!  I received a copy of this fantasy novella eArc from the publisher in exchange for me honest musings . . . The cover drew me in and three things convinced me to read this book: 1. I love Lois McMaster Bujold!  I discovered her through her World of the Five Gods series; 2. It is a Subterranean Press book and they do great work; and 3. This story is set in the Sharing Knife world. Ye see at some point in the past I read the first book of the Sharing Knife series.  I remember enjoy Ahoy there me mateys!  I received a copy of this fantasy novella eArc from the publisher in exchange for me honest musings . . . The cover drew me in and three things convinced me to read this book: 1. I love Lois McMaster Bujold!  I discovered her through her World of the Five Gods series; 2. It is a Subterranean Press book and they do great work; and 3. This story is set in the Sharing Knife world. Ye see at some point in the past I read the first book of the Sharing Knife series.  I remember enjoying it but literally nothing else (eek!).  While this novella is technically #4.5 in the series, it is a standalone.  I thought I would read this book to be reintroduced to the world and see if I should go back and read the whole series. I ended up really liking this novella.  The basic premise is that Barr has a secret daughter who he watches over from afar.  After coming back from a longer than usual patrol, he finds his daughter missing and sets out to discover where she went. The highlight of this book is Barr.  Ye meet him as a mature man on his way home from a long journey.  He was an impulsive youth who made bad decisions and has basically been paying for them ever since.  It was so nice to see a male character reflect on his immaturity and past mistakes.  Above all he didn't let those mistakes derail his entire future.  He was just so thoughtful and wonderful and always trying to do the right thing.  Ye get to watch his perceptions of the people around him grow and change as he gets to know his daughter. I also enjoyed how the plot around the daughter was handled.  The politics of the family relations were messy and realistic-feeling.  One mistake really can impact generations and lots of people.  It was nice to watch the side characters also grow and change.  I did enjoy the unfolding of the father-daughter relationship.  I also rather loved the epilogue. The characters and the relationships were the strength of this one.  The world building didn't thrill me that much when compared to the World of the Five Gods.  It just seemed kinda cheesy and too simplistic.  It surprised me that this series was written after the Five Gods books.  I don't think I feel the need to go back and read the rest of series.  I am, however, very glad to have read about Barr.  Barr reminds me of Cazaril in a lot of ways and I rather loved him.  So I do recommend this novella as a starting place to see if ye want to explore more of the world.  Arrr! Side note:  I still plan on trying the author's sci-fi Vorkosigan Saga.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Howard Brazee

    Shorter work in the Sharing Knife universe. If you've read anything else in that universe, you will want to read this. If you've read Bujold at all, I expect you've read everything she has written. She's that good.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barb in Maryland

    What a treat! Thank you, Ms Bujold, for revisiting your 'Sharing Knife' world in this lovely novella. The blurb gives a good idea of the action but fails to mention that this is really a story centered around family dynamics. 14 year-old Lily has run away from home for Reasons; Barr is searching for Lily for Reasons. Once he finds her he's faced with either bringing her into his Lakewalker family or sending her back 'home'--no easy outcome in either direction! All is resolved nicely by the end, of What a treat! Thank you, Ms Bujold, for revisiting your 'Sharing Knife' world in this lovely novella. The blurb gives a good idea of the action but fails to mention that this is really a story centered around family dynamics. 14 year-old Lily has run away from home for Reasons; Barr is searching for Lily for Reasons. Once he finds her he's faced with either bringing her into his Lakewalker family or sending her back 'home'--no easy outcome in either direction! All is resolved nicely by the end, of course. All of the characters are well-developed, even if they are only on the page for a moment. I loved Barr--fated to be raked over the coals for youthful misdeeds by almost everyone until he gathers the courage to say 'enough, already'. And Lily is so delightful-- a mix of spunky, scared, heart-broken and confused;a girl who finally finds her place in the world. Bujold fans who have not read the earlier Sharing Knife books should have no problem starting here--Bujold has worked in enough back story and world-building to make the story accessible to all. For those of us who have read the previous books, this was a unexpected chance to catch up with old friends. [I want more now, please... ]

  4. 5 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    Lakewalker novella. Fatherhood! Ah, the Lakewalkers! It's been so long since I've read the Sharing Knife series that I'd almost forgotten Malices, and Bonded knives. The Lakewalker's commitment to rid their world of the blight monsters that feed on living things, and as they grow more powerful, reproducing vassals out of mud from animal and humans. Eew! I'd also forgotten about the beguilement aspects of the Lakewalkers. Barr Foxbrush out of Pearl Riffle Camp, had discovered two years after her bir Lakewalker novella. Fatherhood! Ah, the Lakewalkers! It's been so long since I've read the Sharing Knife series that I'd almost forgotten Malices, and Bonded knives. The Lakewalker's commitment to rid their world of the blight monsters that feed on living things, and as they grow more powerful, reproducing vassals out of mud from animal and humans. Eew! I'd also forgotten about the beguilement aspects of the Lakewalkers. Barr Foxbrush out of Pearl Riffle Camp, had discovered two years after her birth that he'd shockingly fathered a daughter, Lily Mason, with a farmer's girl, Bell Mason, he'd had a brief liaison with. And yes he had beguiled her, although as Barr tried to tell himself, "He’d not mistaken those artful glances of admiration she’d cast his youthful good looks." Something his leader would have been more than furious about if she'd known. His confession to his mentors Dag and Fawn Bluefield resulted in the mantra about Lakewalker persuasion never being used "on farmers for sexual favors, ever," was well and truly hammered home." As was Barr's responsibility. Whenever he could make the detour to near Hackberry Corner he'd kept an eye on Lily from a distance in case she "threw to her Lakewalker bloodline." On this visit he discovered Lily had run away. He trails her only to find she is indeed a Lakewalker in need of training and grounding. Of course their journey back to the camp is eventful. I guess the part I really related to was the way Barr gradually found himself growing to care for Lily, appreciate her and fear for her. The way the father-daughter bond begins to develop. As always with Bujold's writing, the twists she brings to her storytelling are intriguing. A thoughtful addition to the series. A Subterranean Press ARC via NetGalley

  5. 4 out of 5

    Olga Godim

    This novella belongs to The Sharing Knife universe. It’s about a Lakewalker Barr and his teenage daughter Lily. The Sharing Knife books have always been my least favorite of all Bujold’s stories, and her characters from those books never touched my heart. This novella was no exception. Neither Barr nor Lily attracted me as persons, and their developing relationship left me unmoved. I love many of the author’s other heroes. Miles is a delight. I absolutely adore Cordelia. Penric is one of This novella belongs to The Sharing Knife universe. It’s about a Lakewalker Barr and his teenage daughter Lily. The Sharing Knife books have always been my least favorite of all Bujold’s stories, and her characters from those books never touched my heart. This novella was no exception. Neither Barr nor Lily attracted me as persons, and their developing relationship left me unmoved. I love many of the author’s other heroes. Miles is a delight. I absolutely adore Cordelia. Penric is one of my favorite magicians in the fantasy genre. What is in common between them? They are all sophisticated people, with a deeply-ingrained thirst for knowledge and an extremely sharp intellect. They are leaders. They are urbanites. They are super smart, to the point of being geniuses. They are gifted, the chosen ones, even if it is by a demon, in Penric’s case. Each of them is unique. There is only one Miles, only one Cordelia. Barr, on the other hand, is a simple man, one of many. He is honest and hardworking, a brave and loyal soldier, a decent guy all around, but he doesn’t interest me. If I met such a person in real life, I’d be bored to tears inside half an hour. The same was true in fiction. Barr bored me. So did Lily with her teenage rebellion, so common, I wanted to roll my eyes. Nothing unique there. The book is written very well – Bujold is a true master – so I would give it 5 stars for the writing quality and 1 or 2 stars for the level of joy I derived from reading it. The average is the rating, 3.5 stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    T. K. Elliott (Tiffany)

    A standalone entry in the Sharing Knife series. Barr Foxbrush was mentioned in the main series, making his appearance as a trouble-prone youth in Passage ; here, he gets his own story as some years later, one of those youthful troubles spawns more trouble. This is not an exciting story of death-defying escapes and high adventure; it's a story of people and character. You can read it without having read the main series - there will probably be details you don't understand, but they're not impor A standalone entry in the Sharing Knife series. Barr Foxbrush was mentioned in the main series, making his appearance as a trouble-prone youth in Passage ; here, he gets his own story as some years later, one of those youthful troubles spawns more trouble. This is not an exciting story of death-defying escapes and high adventure; it's a story of people and character. You can read it without having read the main series - there will probably be details you don't understand, but they're not important to the meat of the storyline. If you attempt to define what the plot actually is, you'll probably be disappointed, because there really isn't much of one. Where it shines is character - and Bujold has the knack of writing people you care about, even if you only read about them for the space of a novella. Neither Barr nor his daughter is special, or particularly gifted. Barr is still dealing with the consequences and reputation of his youthful misdeeds, even in his thirties; his daughter is growing up and finding her path in the world. Both of them have some growing and some realisations before they can settle in to their places. This was a nice, gentle, heart-warming story. Recommended for reading after a hard day, preferably with a cup of hot chocolate. :-)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Titus Fortner

    Another exceptional novella from one of my favorite authors. The characters are interesting and relatable, and this book focuses much more on their fears and insecurities and responsibilities than on action sequences and is so much better for it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kaje Harper

    The Sharing Knife is not my favorite of this author's series, which still means it is above average fantasy reading - this is best for those who have read the series, since there's very minimal explanation of mud-men and malices and other world-building components. In this story, Barr has grown up from the feckless young patroller we met with Dag and Fern, and is checking up on the secret 14-year-old child he once had with a farmer woman, only to find Lily is missing. Suddenly Barr is not the yo The Sharing Knife is not my favorite of this author's series, which still means it is above average fantasy reading - this is best for those who have read the series, since there's very minimal explanation of mud-men and malices and other world-building components. In this story, Barr has grown up from the feckless young patroller we met with Dag and Fern, and is checking up on the secret 14-year-old child he once had with a farmer woman, only to find Lily is missing. Suddenly Barr is not the youngling in trouble, but the worried adult, and it's good for him. There's not a lot of plot here, but a nice look at parenthood, secrets, and the meaning of adulthood.

  9. 5 out of 5

    S.J. Higbee

    Bujold’s claim that this novella can be read as a stand-alone is correct. While I suddenly recalled exactly who Barr was about a quarter of the way in, it really didn’t matter. As ever, Bujold absolutely nails the story. She has written a series of successful novellas, getting the story progression, characterisation and pacing spot on – something the majority of authors who attempt this writing form don’t often achieve in my experience. I have always had a soft spot for this particular world, whe Bujold’s claim that this novella can be read as a stand-alone is correct. While I suddenly recalled exactly who Barr was about a quarter of the way in, it really didn’t matter. As ever, Bujold absolutely nails the story. She has written a series of successful novellas, getting the story progression, characterisation and pacing spot on – something the majority of authors who attempt this writing form don’t often achieve in my experience. I have always had a soft spot for this particular world, where mages a long time ago let loose terrible magical creatures who feast on living energy, growing stronger and evermore powerful with every victim they consume. Theses malices can only be stopped by the death energy of a Lakewalker, who are the descendants of those irresponsible magic-users. Unsurprisingly, there is a gulf between the non-magical community, mostly farmers, who are at major risk from the malices and the Lakewalkers, who are the only people able to kill the malices – but at a very high cost to themselves. This story, where Barr is forced to confront the consequences of his wild past and try to fix things, drew me in from the first line and wouldn’t let me go until the final full stop. Like most of the other people who have reviewed this book, my main regret was that it ended. However, it was brought to a fitting conclusion that I found unexpectedly emotional. This is Bujold at her awesome best and is highly recommended for any reader with a pulse, particularly if they enjoy well written fantasy. 10/10

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    As is true of practically everything Bujold writes this is satisfying!! It was nice to be in this world again. A little visit with Dag and Fawn would have been nice, but I enjoyed spending time with Barr’s family. It was nice to see Barr grown up finally.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alealea

    Magnificent. I had to reread the whole 4 previous books before, just in case ;). Then yesterday, half spread on the couch, with one cat on my tummy and the she-dog lounging on my legs (and sometimes copiously licking the cat ear - no comment on their pastime), I plunged. It was everything I love about LMB writing. Beautifully-shaped sentences, complex characters that ring true and humor in the midst of darkness. To read & reread Magnificent. I had to reread the whole 4 previous books before, just in case ;). Then yesterday, half spread on the couch, with one cat on my tummy and the she-dog lounging on my legs (and sometimes copiously licking the cat ear - no comment on their pastime), I plunged. It was everything I love about LMB writing. Beautifully-shaped sentences, complex characters that ring true and humor in the midst of darkness. To read & reread

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Though my hopes to know more about Dag and Fawn were dashed, I still enjoyed the story ) As usual, Bujold talks about responsibilities towards one’s children - some of her message comes in a rather direct form and some is more metaphorical, but both are very clear.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline J

    How lovely to revisit the Sharing Knife world. A good sold enjoyable read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ay

    A nice entrée into the sharing knife universe and bujold’s work. It’s exactly what you’d expect from this writer. Ie a wonderful novella that I know I will be rereading. It was lovely to revisit the sharing knife world. I hope she writes more set in this universe.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I am so pleased Lois McMaster Bujold decided to write a new novella in the Sharing Knife series. While not about the main characters in her novels, I easily fell in with the characters and was sad when I finished it. I hope there are more stories up her sleeve.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    4.5 stars. A thoughtful tale of what it means to be a parent. Barr has grown up a lot since first met. The story starts with worry about what may have happened to 14yo runaway Lily, but even once Barr finds her, the problems are far from resolved. It's a very minor (early) spoiler to say that half-blood Lily is developing Lakewalker abilities and, being completely ignorant of Lakewalkers, much less her own secret heritage, had no idea what's happening to her, on top of which she's been accused o 4.5 stars. A thoughtful tale of what it means to be a parent. Barr has grown up a lot since first met. The story starts with worry about what may have happened to 14yo runaway Lily, but even once Barr finds her, the problems are far from resolved. It's a very minor (early) spoiler to say that half-blood Lily is developing Lakewalker abilities and, being completely ignorant of Lakewalkers, much less her own secret heritage, had no idea what's happening to her, on top of which she's been accused of lying about her culpability for a family tragedy. As Barr cautiously convinces the prickly girl to accompany him to seek assistance with training her uncontrolled groundsense, he shows his concern for her at first merely in teaching her as he would a young patroller, unsure about how much he should reveal, or how. It's another slight spoiler (in that things clearly don't go as Barr had planned) but Dag, Fawn, and Arkady (and Remo), of the original Sharing Knife tetralogy, are only mentioned; none of them directly appear. Instead, a crisis encountered sends Barr and Lily racing to his home camp, where they rest and recover, while secrets come out, Barr faces his self-doubts and sees his youth, his family, and his camp authorities from a new perspective, and Lily chooses where she'll make her place. The story is told from Barr's PoV (in limited third-person), but there are sensitive insights into how a number of the characters are feeling, including (at two points in the story, near the beginning and the end) the farmer who raised Lily. Some good intentions or self-protective silences may have lead to greater difficulties, but the end is a promising new start, and the epilogue shows the promise growing. This novella is mainly a low-conflict plot, centering on personal-scale thoughts and feelings, not action or good vs. evil. The farmer-patroller cooperative initiatives begun in Horizon are slowly continuing to widen their reach, but most outsiders still believe more dark myths than facts about Lakewalkers. My favorite quote isn't beautiful, but vivid and wise: Lily muses on the clean and honest anger of Patrol Captain Amma Osprey, whom she has come to admire, "'[S]he may get mad, but she isn’t whiny or naggy about it. She doesn’t store it up like a, a compost heap, all hot on the inside and rotting. ... I like the way she’s angry,' Lily concluded, in a tone of bemused discovery. 'It’s just all out there in front of you, not lying up hidden to ambush you later.'” (I have to say, I suspect I wouldn't much like Lily's mother, even if I got to know her better, even with secrets no longer desperately concealed.) The proofreading is excellent: I didn't catch a single error. The story ends at around 96%, with the end containing LMB's standard ebook appendix: a discussion of the recommended reading order[s] for all her books

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Martin

    Patroller Barr Foxbrush stops at what he knows as Lily's farm to discover that it has burned down. Fourteen years earlier, when he was a new patroller, he had an encounter with Lily's mother that resulted in Lily. He didn't know about her until she was about 2 and since has been keeping an eye on her. Odds are that she'll take after her farmer mother, but if she started developing Lakewalker powers, he'd have to do something. Barr tracks down the family and learns that Lily has run off. She's be Patroller Barr Foxbrush stops at what he knows as Lily's farm to discover that it has burned down. Fourteen years earlier, when he was a new patroller, he had an encounter with Lily's mother that resulted in Lily. He didn't know about her until she was about 2 and since has been keeping an eye on her. Odds are that she'll take after her farmer mother, but if she started developing Lakewalker powers, he'd have to do something. Barr tracks down the family and learns that Lily has run off. She's been accused by her younger brother of starting the fire that burned down the farm and, since the younger brother died, she is dealing with the suspicion alone. With her newly emerging groundsense, she can feel that her mother doesn't believe her and might even hate her. She takes off and Barr, still keeping the secret of her parentage from her mother's husband, begins searching for her. Once he finds her, he has to decide what to do with her. His first thought is to take her to Dag and Fawn who might know what to do with a girl who was farmer raised but has Lakewalker powers. However, an encounter with a sessile malice in which Barr is injured makes it necessary to head to the nearest Lakewalker camp to dispatch a crew to take care of it. The nearest camp is Pearl Riffle which is where Barr's family is and where he grew up and where he has the reputation of being something a of screw up and prankster. This means that Barr has to confess his sins and hope that his family will take in both he and Lily. I liked learning more about the lakewalkers and sharing knives. I liked seeing Barr realize that he is growing up and accepting responsibility. I liked his relationship with Lily and Lily's introduction to the lakewalker lifestyle. I liked Lily's resiliency. Bujold's storytelling ability is unmatched and filled with all sorts of thought provoking moments.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kateblue

    The introductory part wasn't as good as I expected, perhaps because I read the four books so long ago that I was concentrating more on remembering than on the writing. Then a few pages in, when he (view spoiler)[found the burnt out farm and tracked down the family (hide spoiler)] , well, I was hooked. And I didn't need to remember the four books anyway because Bujold did her usual magnificent job of introducing you to the world in dribs and drabs just when you need the details. One thing that bu The introductory part wasn't as good as I expected, perhaps because I read the four books so long ago that I was concentrating more on remembering than on the writing. Then a few pages in, when he (view spoiler)[found the burnt out farm and tracked down the family (hide spoiler)] , well, I was hooked. And I didn't need to remember the four books anyway because Bujold did her usual magnificent job of introducing you to the world in dribs and drabs just when you need the details. One thing that bugged me, though, was (view spoiler)[why would the farmer let his wife and sister-in-law meet in private with a suspicious Lakewalker? (hide spoiler)] Struck me as unusual. But otherwise . . . Although I never liked her Sharing Knife series as well as her other series, now I say . . . Please ma'am, may I have another?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Henry Lazarus

    Lois McMaster Bujold returns to her sharing knife world with a short tale of Knife Children (hard from Subterranean Press). Barr Foxbrush made a mistake when he was eighteen, using his lakewalker abilities to enjoy a young farm woman. Two years later he discovered he had had a daughter. Unfortunately Lily runs away at age fourteen because of her growing lakewalker abilities. Barr finds her, and because of a series of misadventures ends up in his home lakewalker camp, trying to explain the daught Lois McMaster Bujold returns to her sharing knife world with a short tale of Knife Children (hard from Subterranean Press). Barr Foxbrush made a mistake when he was eighteen, using his lakewalker abilities to enjoy a young farm woman. Two years later he discovered he had had a daughter. Unfortunately Lily runs away at age fourteen because of her growing lakewalker abilities. Barr finds her, and because of a series of misadventures ends up in his home lakewalker camp, trying to explain the daughter no one in his camp had ever heard of. This is a good tale to enter this complicated world, and a nice addition to those already familiar with the series. A warm family drama.Review printed by Philadelphia Free Press

  20. 4 out of 5

    John Loyd

    Barr has been patrolling in the north for two years, finally on his way back home, when he makes a detour to Hackberry Corner to check on his half Lakewalker half Farmer daughter. When he learns that she has run away he offers to aid in the search. He is the one that finds her, and she does have Lakewalker abilities. He can't take her back to the farm untrained, even if she was willing to go back. Barr comes up with a plan but it's sidetracked by his work and he has to go his camp and face his f Barr has been patrolling in the north for two years, finally on his way back home, when he makes a detour to Hackberry Corner to check on his half Lakewalker half Farmer daughter. When he learns that she has run away he offers to aid in the search. He is the one that finds her, and she does have Lakewalker abilities. He can't take her back to the farm untrained, even if she was willing to go back. Barr comes up with a plan but it's sidetracked by his work and he has to go his camp and face his family who never knew about his indiscretion. Fantastic. Great job of telling us this story of an angry scared teenager being thrust into an unfamiliar group and learning that she is related to these people. It's been ten years since I read the Sharing Knife books, and only had a general sense of the world. You could definitely read this one standalone.

  21. 4 out of 5

    MB (What she read)

    Okay, that was super! I hesitated to spend $4 on 150 pages, but I'm glad I did. I'd love to see more novellas set in this world. And it was a true pleasure to see Barr older and wiser and the wise way he handled this sticky situation. Now, I need to go re-read Beguilement. Heading off to do that now... Okay, that was super! I hesitated to spend $4 on 150 pages, but I'm glad I did. I'd love to see more novellas set in this world. And it was a true pleasure to see Barr older and wiser and the wise way he handled this sticky situation. Now, I need to go re-read Beguilement. Heading off to do that now...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Fayley

    Fans like me of Lois McMasterBujold will be thrilled with a new book, especially in this world which we never got to revisit. New readers might want to start somewhere else, like the original Sharing Knife stories (actually 1 book split into 4). Personally, I didn’t find the thoughts and insights of Barr believable for his character, and there were too many repetitions from the Sharing Knife, but as always I enjoyed reading her style of writing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dan Ferguson

    I have been waiting for this book for a long time, Loved the first series of the Sharing Knife. Was hoping for more of the Original characters but I really liked these new ones as well. set some time after the end of the first series. I hope there is more to follow in the world.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John

    A little low on action, but typically rich in feeling, nuances of character, and world building.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chuck Gatlin

    Excellent codicil to THE.SHARING KNIFE Since Lois McMaster Bujold has been writing novellas over the last few years, there hasn't been one that wasn't a good read. However, with KNIFE CHILDREN the author has continued the story of one of the original characters from THE SHARING KNIFE with a tale that stands on its own while further developing that world a decade later.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shaw

    Some of the Sharing Knife series are rambling and not well edited. This novella is tight, elegant, and tells the story of familial love, a subject frequently overlooked or overwrought.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rohan Macdougall

    I can’t love McMaster Bujold too much. Complaints? It was too short. I want more real books in this world. In all her worlds. Lots of them.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Loved it! But Lily's turning out to be a Lakewalker is telegraphed by the existence of the novella. I particularly enjoyed Barr's teaching Lily as much as he crammed in in 3 days, before they found the sessile, & how everyone at his home camp razzed him about what a blight he had been at 18. Loved it! But Lily's turning out to be a Lakewalker is telegraphed by the existence of the novella. I particularly enjoyed Barr's teaching Lily as much as he crammed in in 3 days, before they found the sessile, & how everyone at his home camp razzed him about what a blight he had been at 18.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I sat down and devoured this sliver from the Sharing Knives world. I wish I didn't read so fast. Fingers crossed there are more. I've just started re-reading the series, this story took me back so much.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Harrison Schweiloch

    Knife Children by Lois McMaster Bujold [content warning - spoilers and discussion of sexual assault] I have loved everything else I have previously read by Lois McMaster Bujold. I wanted to love this book. But I just could not. The entire plot is predicated on a rape that not only goes unpunished, but only barely acknowledged as rape by the rapist or any of the other characters. Let me go back a step or two. I had somehow missed Lois McMaster Bujold’s entire of body of work until recently. Probabl Knife Children by Lois McMaster Bujold [content warning - spoilers and discussion of sexual assault] I have loved everything else I have previously read by Lois McMaster Bujold. I wanted to love this book. But I just could not. The entire plot is predicated on a rape that not only goes unpunished, but only barely acknowledged as rape by the rapist or any of the other characters. Let me go back a step or two. I had somehow missed Lois McMaster Bujold’s entire of body of work until recently. Probably because I am not really into military science fiction and had never read any Baen books (except the bardic magic books of Mercedes Lackey). After her Vorkosigan series was nominated for the best series Hugo award, I decided to give it a go. I found the Tor.com reread (which is excellent, I cannot recommend enough) and I embarked. I feel in love. In love with the writing style, the world building, the characters. I started slowing down because I knew that the series, although vast, was finite. Every day while reading A Civil Campaign I went into the office of my coworker who had read the entire series and told him that the book was just “goddamn delightful.” So when I saw a novella from Bujold from a series I hadn’t read yet on NetGalley from Subterranean, one of my favorite publishers, I thought I couldn’t go wrong. But quickly when I began reading I realized my mistake. Which is not to say the book is bad. The writing style and the world building and the characters are all excellent. Ms. Bujold is a clear master of her craft and deserves all of her accolades. But I do not like a book where the entire plot revolves around a rape and the rapist ends up with, at most, a light scolding. Barr is our narrator and rapist. He is a Lakewalker, which is a person with some magical powers including “beguilement,” which functions a lot like a Charm Person or Animal spell. When Barr was 18, he used his powers to beguile a woman into sex. I will quote the passage from the book that explains this: “He’d been eighteen, just woken to what he’d naively imagined to be his full powers as a new patroller. The same beguiling persuasion that worked on animals worked on farmers, he’d heard, and, encountering that pretty young farmer girl when his patrol had camped on her family’s land, he’d been more than tempted to try it out. Bluebell hadn’t been unwilling. He’d not mistaken those artful glances of admiration she’d cast his youthful good looks. From admiration to arousal turned out to be but a step, and a step more from there to the loft of her father’s barn. Where he’d tried his best to give her as good a time as what he now recognized as his clumsy inexperience could provide.” Although Barr claims she wasn’t unwilling, it is clear that he used his magical powers on her to get her to agree to have sex with him. Even if she seemed interested in him before he magicked her, his beguilement removed her ability to consent. That is not sex. That is rape. This rape results in a child, whom Barr stalks from afar until she is a teenager and her Lakewalker powers develop. She has run away from home, and Barr finds her, brings her home, and explains her parentage to her and his family. As mentioned above, there is some light scolding from Barr’s clan, and none from his daughter, the result of the rape. As for the rape victim? She is mostly offstage and is depicted as harried and shrewish, when she might in fact still be suffering from PTSD. In the end, the daughter chooses to remain with her mother’s rapist and live with him and his family. I do not think that Ms. Bujold likes rape or is a fan of rape. I do not know her personally, but from reading her other novels, her blog entries on Goodreads, and her occasional comments on the Tor.com Vorkosigan reread, I feel pretty safe in concluding this. She does seem to understand that rape is horrific and has serious emotional consequences for rapist, victim, and progeny, as demonstrated by her portrayal of Sgt. Bothari, Elena Bothari, and her mother. So I do not understand why she doesn’t treat beguiled sex as rape in this novella. Because she does not, I did not like this book.

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