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review 2018-04-20 19:29
Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Warrior's Apprentice - Lois McMaster Bujold

This is an enjoyable science fiction caper. As a rule I don’t like sci-fi, so if it sounds like the sort of book that will push the right buttons for you, you should expect to like it better. Warrior’s Apprentice seemed like a good choice for me because its focus is on the characters rather than the technology, and it’s better-written than a lot of genre fiction. As these books tend to go, it is mostly lighthearted – with a plot driven by the protagonist’s prowess at social engineering, with which he digs himself deeper and deeper into a hole – but there’s war involved so there’s also some death and gruesomeness.

At age 17, Miles Vorkosigan flunks the imperial officer exam in a disability-related accident. But he soon finds a new adventure when he picks up a couple of desperate men in need of work, and a dated spaceship providing exactly the kind of work they need. The small crew tangles with a mercenary army and things escalate from there. It’s a fun and fast-moving adventure, with reasonably well-defined characters. Miles fits a lot of sci-fi and fantasy stereotypes: the boy who’s a native military genius; the physically disadvantaged, snarky guy who runs mental circles around everyone else; you’ve all seen this before. I think he’s a good example of the type though, perhaps because Bujold is writing less from her id than other authors with similar protagonists. Miles was born with his disadvantages, but he also has a lot of advantages, and the book doesn’t try to engineer sympathy for his circumstances in place of making him a sympathetic character. Some authors will have a character treated absurdly badly for no fault of his own and use that to justify anything, in place of giving the character a moral compass; Bujold doesn’t take that shortcut. Miles is also more explicitly defined as a disabled character than I’ve seen in spec fic before.

Overall, this was fun but I wasn’t over the moon about it, likely in part because this simply isn’t my genre of choice. I might read the sequel someday, though it’s hard to tell which book in this complicated series picks up where this one leaves off.

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text 2018-04-01 05:35
March Reading
The Lost Plot - Genevieve Cogman
Endurance: My Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery - Scott Kelly
Nelvana of the Northern Lights - Adrian Dingle
Medicine Walk - Richard Wagamese,Tom Stechschulte
The Prey of Gods - Nicky Drayden
Out Standing in the Field: A Memoir by Canada's First Female Infantry Officer - Sandra Perron
City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris - Holly Tucker
Ester and Ruzya: How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace - Masha Gessen
Lavinia - Ursula K. Le Guin
Penric's Fox - Lois McMaster Bujold

Fourteen Books Read:

The Lost Plot - Genevieve Cogman 

Endurance: My Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery - Scott Kelly 

Nelvana of the Northern Lights - Adrian Dingle 

Medicine Walk - Richard Wagamese

Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters - Dick Winters, Cole C. Kingseed 

The Prey of Gods - Nicky Drayden 

Out Standing in the Field: A Memoir by Canada's First Female Infantry Officer - Sandra Perron 

Place to Belong - Claire Boston 

City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris - Holly Tucker

Ester and Ruzya: How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace - Masha Gessen 

The Girls in the Picture: A Novel - Melanie Benjamin (DNF)

Lavinia - Ursula K. Le Guin

The Covert Captain: Or, A Marriage of Equals - Jeannelle M. Ferreira (DNF)

Penric's Fox - Lois McMaster Bujold  

 

Women Writers Bingo: 10/25

(Personal take: Finish 25 books by new-to-me female authors in 2018*)

Finished in March: Nicky Drayden, Sandra Perron, Claire Boston, Holly Tucker, Masha Gessen**

 

Gender Balance:

Fiction: 7 by women, 2 by men, 0 by non-binary

Non fiction: 3 by women, 2 by men, 0 by non-binary

 

Format:

Paper books that I own: 1

Paper books from library: 4

E-books that I own: 2

E-books from library: 1

Audiobooks that I own: 5

Audiobooks from the library: 1

 

March Goals:

Read two Hugo nominated novels and all of the short stories.

 

*Women Writers Bingo Bonus Points:

5 of those books in translation: 1/5

5 of those books are non-fiction: 4/5 (Warmth of other Suns, Out Standing in the Field, City of Light, Ester and Ruzya)

 

Bingo Companion Round:

5 books by non-binary authors: 0/5

 

**As per this essay, I'm not completely sure about listing Masha Gessen under female authors, but it seems at the moment the best option.

 

Previous months:

January Reading

February Reading

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review 2018-03-30 00:46
One of the best so far.
Penric's Fox - Lois McMaster Bujold

I must say I'm enjoying the books set mid-series more than the adventures of older Pen and Des. Pen here is still figuring so much out. He's excited about the world, working out how he fits in, and generally pretty happy with how things are going, except he keeps getting dragged away from fishing trips to solve murder mysteries.

 

The actual murder mystery element was straight forward, but I liked how it explored the world, and the interaction between shamanism and sorcery was well done. I'd be happy to read a dozen low-stakes stories like this.

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text 2017-11-03 12:12
November TBR
I, Claudius: From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius - Robert Graves
The Vor Game - Lois McMaster Bujold
Birdcage Walk - Helen Dunmore
Between Two Fires: A Novel - Mark Noce
Updraft - Fran Wilde
Cheddar Off Dead (An Undercover Dish Mystery) - Julia Buckley
Murder in the Manuscript Room: A 42nd Street Library Mystery (The 42nd Street Library Mysteries) - Con Lehane
Cane River - Lalita Tademy
The Memory of Us: A Novel - Camille Di Maio
East of Eden - John Steinbeck

So here are the books I'm planning to crack open this month. 

 

My goal is to shake things up with historical fiction and science fiction mixed in with some mystery. 

 

I, Claudius is off of the 50 Essential Historical Fiction Novels list done by Abe Books.  

 

Between Two Fires and Updraft are re-reads because it has been too long since I read them for me to read their sequels with any kind of authority.   I've been meaning to get into re-reads for a while. 

 

The Vor Game is the next book in the Vorkosigan saga for me. 

 

East of Eden is a classic I've been meaning to get to. 

 

I will no doubt switch this up. I am the moodiest reader I know - but this is the plan so far. 

 

I will enjoy looking at everyone's TBR for the month and,  as usual, count on your reviews to break my book budget. 

 

Happy reading! 

 

 

 

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review 2017-10-14 00:00
Legacy
Legacy - Lois McMaster Bujold I read two hundred pages of this and realised that I didn't actually care, skimmed to the end and sent it back to the library. I enjoyed the first one a fair bit, so I'm not sure from whence my apathy about this one, but I sure wasn't invested in a story that should have been my jam. Oh well.
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