A marvellous four-decker novel,
This review is from: Passage (Sharing Knife) (Mass Market Paperback)
I'd endorse what reviewer Paul Durrant says in reviewing *Beguilement* on this site -- if you like *Beguilement* you'll certainly want to read the other three parts -- but while *The Sharing Knife* does divide into two diptyches (Beguilement + Legacy, Passage + Horizon), it's all one novel : a marvellous four-decker that *seems* simple as you go along but adds up to an extremely subtle and intelligent work that explores romance tropes, in the senses of both adventure and love, but is also a telling critique of many elements in fantasy.
Some of that critique lies in the very subtle web of connections Bujold creates between her protagonists and their respective cultures, and in the nature of the central totemic object, the sharing knife of the general title. But there's also a sustained engagement with Tolkien's *The Lord of the Rings*, a book Bujold rates and values highly but has also, over forty years, come to find religiose in the wrong ways, as well as sexist in predictable ways.
Bujold said in an interview given when the last volume was published that she thought *The Sharing Knife* was her "subtlest work yet*, and it is ; it's also perhaps her best, and as intelligent a fantasy as you can find in print today.