Bujols, Francis McMaster. The Sharing Knife (Quartet). Vol 1-4 (Beguilement, Legacy, Passage, and Horizon).

These four fantasy novels follow the meeting of Fawn, a naive farm girl running away from a loss of virtue with an unworthy farm boy (and the subsequent pregnancy) where she encounters a spot of trouble of the unnatural sort and the (D&D) ranger-like Lakewalker patroller Dag who offers her the guidance to rescue both of them from an untimely (and series ending) end.  When the loss of her child (caused by the unnatural being) leads to some unusual complications for Dag, he is forced into close quarters with Fawn, upsetting the preconceived notions of both with regards to their respective Lakewalker vs. Farmer societies and cultures.  Over the subsequent books, both Fawn and Dag are forced to seek acceptance in both worlds and attempt to forge a path bridging both and combating the misconceptions and misunderstandings between their respective societies to combat the unnatural menace to both.

I can’t say that these are the *best* fantasy novels I have ever read, but they were enjoyable enough that I managed to breeze through all four in under a week.  Light on romance, heavy on the do-it-all alpha male prodigy meets unlikely but plucky heroine cliché, the series is set amongst an unique but overly simplified society.  Fawn and Dag, our main couple, are met by a series of compatriots (some of which I would have liked to see more of) that shape their quest to unite the factions they were born to, in an almost Romeo and Juliet (I say almost because of the lack of tragedy) sort of way.

If all this sounds a bit derogatory or overly flippant, I apologize…I quite enjoyed this series (enough that after rereading the first at a friend’s, I went to two different book stores the very next day to pick up the rest of the series and read all four in about four days).  Though I did find the Farmer vs Lakewalker dichotomy overly simplistic, I did find the Lakewalker culture building to be quite interesting—from the “native” Lakewalker food of the “plunkin” (an aquatic sort of potato-like staple) to the idea of owning no permanent structures (the idea being that all belongings can be picked up and moved whenever necessary).  While the overall premise follows along several common themes, in both the fantasy and romance genres, the story itself was well written with an engaging style, and the characters were sufficiently likeable to make up for their stereotype fulfillment.

Four plunkins of five.

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