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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold. Science fiction.

This is an omnibus containing two novels and one novella, and is, if I understand correctly, the second according to the internal chronology of the Vorkosigan series. Thanks again to everybody who nagged me to read these. You were right.
  • *****+ The Warrior's Apprentice.

    The first Miles book. Apologies to Corrina, but I love Miles, even more than his mother. I am, however, mostly convinced that it was best that I read Barrayar before this one. I might have enjoyed Barrayar more if I'd already been acquainted with Miles, but understanding his earliest history made The Warrior's Apprentice more understandable initially. I think. Eh. It's degrees of excellent, not the difference between 3 and 5 stars.

    At the start of the story, Miles is trying to uphold the Vor tradition as well as his parents' more democratic ideals by attempting to enroll in the service academy like everyone else, rather than allowing political pull to just give him a position in the military. He fails the physical test, which sets in motion events that end up with him leading his very own band of mercenaries.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Cordelia's Honor, but The Warrior's Apprentice blew me away. It's definitely my kind of story. Impossible odds, humor, excitement, adventure, and a hero with serious disadvantages who gets by on his wits and a talent for leadership. Hmm. Sounds familiar.

  • ****½ "Mountains of Mourning".

    This is the novella. It's a murder mystery, set in the Vorkosigan universe, with Miles as the detective.

    After the events of The Warrior's Apprentice, Miles has to keep a bit of a low profile, and he's sent as his father's representative to solve the crime when a woman claims her husband killed their deformed daughter, in accordance with tradition, but against the new laws. Deformed himself, Miles is the perfect representative to try the case and to demonstrate the reason for the new laws.

    It's an engaging story, and the characters and world-building details are excellent. It was just a bit of a let-down after all the excitement of The Warrior's Apprentice.

  • ***** The Vor Game.

    Miles gets his first posting...as the weather officer at the nastiest training post on Barrayar. He runs afoul of the insane post commander, getting himself arrested saving trainees' lives, so he's reassigned, which sets in motion events leading to him rescuing the Barrayaran emperor and averting a major war, while staying a half step ahead of the people trying to kill him.

    As I've come to expect, the characterization is complex and detailed, and the plot has more twists than a Christmas bow.

It's safe to say that I'm hooked. I have A Civil Campaign in my TBR pile, but it's going to wait until the next omnibus in the series arrives from Barnes & Noble. Besides, I need to spread these out a little. Too many excellent books in a row, and my head will explode.


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Hmm ... if the next omnibus volume is Miles, Mystery, and Mayhem that means you have to get through one more volume before starting my personal favorite 'trilogy' fragment of Brothers in Arms, Mirror Dance, and Memory. All of those are helpful introductions to Komarr and A Civil Campaign, where our hero finally meets his match ... and considering the 'problem' he has in Mirror Dance can't even stop him ...
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