Lois McMaster Bujold
Beguilement Cover



I used the 2019 release of the novella Knife Children as an excuse to first go back and pick up the rest of this series, which I had never read. I'm a huge fan of Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, and a fan of the World of the Five Gods series, but I'm convinced that this book is a trunk novel which was dug out after 30 years and polished up for publication. It's... not at all up to the level of her other series.

The worldbuilding and the prose are pretty good, but the characters seem very one-dimensional in comparison to those in the Vorkosigan and Five Gods novels. And the vast majority of the plot in this book and the sequels is only somewhat about the adventures of, and mostly about the more-than-a-bit-squicky relationship between, a worldly, powerful 55-year-old man and a naive, sheltered, inexperienced 18-year-old young woman. It honestly read to me like a story which was written by a 16-year-old girl with a huge unrequited crush on one of her middle-aged male teachers (and not in a good way). And there's a whole lot of Montague-Capulet family-feud angst goings-on which I found really tiresome.

Fans of stories which are mostly about relationships might enjoy this a lot more than I did.