The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My head spun. Really. It did.
I will not go on record saying that this was anywhere near my favorite Vorkosigan novel, but there is enough plain fun and wild plotting and vibrant characterizations to satisfy any old-school Space-Opera junkie.
I make no excuse. Miles is a superhero. He rides the wave of superheroic Bujoldian coincidence and Miles always happens to be the right person in the right place with the right quippy tongue and the right mind for the job. Even when he isn't. He just happens to have a rather quick imagination and the ability to spin tales that anyone believes.
That, I guess, is pretty damn amazing. :)
It also says a lot about Bujold. :)
This was a great fast tale, and satisfying on many levels, but I have a few issues with it. Perhaps it's my same issue with all of the tales. It's plot providence. It ties up all of the side issues quite nicely, true, but it's almost unbelievable. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the different sections of the book almost as if it was a collection of short stories, and it really had the feel of just that, but when Miles comes up against his previous commander in the employ of the other mercenaries on pure chance, I went... Huh? He was old guard, and very unlikely to leave his beloved homeland. Perhaps he could be convinced to participate in a coup, but not to work as a mercenary. I might not have had this reaction if he had just been a completely different man, but then, the same level of hate wouldn't have made sense.
Sometimes, it's impossible to satisfy readers.
That being said, I had a great time reading it and Mile's antagonists were crushed to my great satisfaction. It can only be described as a great yarn. A lot happens, and I even accepted the fantastic chance that brought the Emperor into Miles's care (or neglect) as a funny way to up the stakes. Actually, the emperor kinda stole the show at one point.
Actually, a lot of Ms. Bujold's supporting cast tend to steal the show, often. I'm reading all of these with a keen eye on Ivan, too.
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