Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Third read, update 12/6/17:
The love story between Aral and Cordelia continues, but it's really a tale about Barrayaran politics and cultural horrors. To cull genetic mistakes or not? To break from the hold of barbaric cultural practices or not?
Hell, it even goes a long way to toward teaching us forgiveness for the mentally ill. Although, to be perfectly fair, Cordelia's bulldog of a man has a lot of nobility in him for latching on to a truly noble mistress, but maybe that's missing a point somewhere. It's not him. It's her. Cordelia. And my goodness she really kicks ass. :)
Besides all that, I'm REALLY enjoying the hell out of all the characters who get more screen time here and it spurs me on toward all the times I see them in big roles later and I'm loving how the whole series gels together. Even the development of certain themes told with different nuances are all here, set up and knocked down and will be knocked down just as gloriously later.
Am I a total fanboy? I must be if I'm chomping at the bit to re-read the whole series. Again. For the third time. :)
I remembered this fondly as I reread it now, and more than ever, it was nice to revisit. Revolution, stolen babies, friendly monsters, it really had it all, especially if you're looking for a solid space opera that has very little in the way of spaceships. I jest, but not really. The worldbuilding is very solid, the characters are really amazing and memorable, long, long after first reading them. I found myself smiling at what I remembered to come next, and chuckling at the ignorance of later characters when it came to the past (of which this novel is the present).
It can certainly be taken on its own merit, and should be, but it is all the greater in the wider tapestry.
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