Thursday, October 27, 2011

Komarr, by Lois McMaster Bujold

I am now moving into the latter part of Miles Vorkosigan's career in Komarr, part of the omnibus volume Miles in Love.  And this one is all about Miles' love, Ekaterin Vorsoisson.  Her hapless husband ends up involved in a plot to attack Barrayar by closing its wormhole, but this is something of a sideshow.  In Komarr we return to the style of Shards of Honor--the galactic fantasy, a romance novel set in space.  Ekaterin and Miles have intense conversations laden with internal dialog.  Her failed marriage has caused her to harden her heart--can it be softened again?  An odd place for a hard SF fan, but not so odd for SF itself--Mercedes Lackey has written a lot in this space, and a very strong fraction of fantasy literature is romance-novel inspired.

Miles doesn't get as much development here, other than as possibly having found his love at last.  He's having a lot of fun on the Imperial Auditor gig, it's just what he needed, and lets Bujold go anywhere with him.  And we'll see where, there's only a few books left.  Onward...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Memory, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Continuing my reading of the Vorkosigan series, this week I picked up Memory.  I went ahead and paid for this at Baen Webscriptions for a Kindle version.  Oddly enough, it is the only one in the series not on the Cryoburn CD, kind of an odd omisson, but there it is.  I could have gotten it at my public library, though, and am sure you can too.

It's a worthwhile read, especially if you have read the others.  Bujold is really enjoying Miles as a character.  He's going through a lot of troubles in this one, most directly related to being killed and revived in the last one (Mirror Dance).  He's having seizures, making him unfit for combat or anything stressful (his denial of this is a big part of the plot).  Being an adrenaline junkie this is really painful.  It looks like he is going to have to let go of his pet project, the Dendarii Free Mercenaries and Admiral Naismith.

What follows is a very satisfying story of personal growth.  Miles finds a new dimension to his capabilities while investigating an attack on his supervisor.  Death smacks some of the megalomania out of him, even as he gets more opportunities to indulge it. 

This story very strongly indicates that Miles is heading in a different direction--adventuring days may or may not be done, but they don't define him anymore.  Am looking forward to the rest of these, it is a series worth revisiting.  The technical references are few and feel dated since they are from 15 years ago, but the characters are the point.  Four stars for this one.  Onward and upward

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mirror Dance, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Coming off the disappointing Brothers in Arms, I approached the companion in Miles Errant with some trepidation.  Had read some reviews that it was better.  And those reviews were right.  This may be the best one in the series so far. 

Mark really comes into his own as a character here, differentiating himself in as many ways as he can from his brother.  He likes to eat more, does not like combat, and is much more analytic.  Being a clone, he defines himself in terms of his progenitor, but by the end of the book he has worked through all that.  Though he definitely seems to have more than his share of the bad luck between the two.

It will be interesting to see if Mark gets to play an ongoing role in the future books.  The synopses are still all about Miles.

And Miles himself goes through some changes here, having ended up dead trying to rescue his "brother" early in the book.  He comes back considerably weakened, but since he is pretty weak anyway this doesn't change his perspective much.  He's getting better all the time at seducing women--even manages it as a particularly nasty looking convalescent.

This is one to look forward to in the series.  I give it four stars, just because I don't hand out five stars easily.  Matter of fact, I haven't done it yet.

I've been reading all these on my Nook, and rate it a very pleasant way to read.  But I think we're going to get a Kindle Fire.  We'll see what we think of it.