Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Lois McMaster Bujold is continuing the Vorkosigan saga, even though all the Vorkosigans are pretty much retired.  The successor protagonist is Miles' cousin, Ivan Xav Vorpatril.  I looked forward to reading this one, if only to see where she is taking this venerable and overall quite good series. 

And the answer is--pretty much to the same place.  Not nowhere--Captain Vorpatril's Alliance is a decent enough book, Bujold is a great writer with a good sense of how to hold interest.  But not anywhere else, either.  Bujold has built a large space in the Wormhole Nexus, and has explored some of the other cultures there (Beta Colony, Cetaganda, Jackson's Whole) but except for Ethan of Athos the series is pretty much fixated on Barrayar, a feudal culture suitable for galactic fantasy but not so much for science fiction.  Ivan is not much of a character--the other characters (mostly Jackson's Whole denizens) carry the story.  He's just a bit generic as a handsome slacker hero (now growing up a bit) to carry the series.  Miles has large shoes to fill on Barrayar.  If Bujold doesn't move the series focus offworld for the next novel (assuming there is one), the series is pretty much done as far as I am concerned.  Three stars from me, and slightly disappointed.

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