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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-09 14:16
Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold
Memory (Vorkosigan Saga, #10) - Lois McMaster Bujold

If you choose an action, you choose the consequences of this action.

 ... and this novel is ripe with consequences.


First of all, Miles's cryorevival comes with a seizure-condition that rears its ugly head in the most inconvenient moment - moreover, Miles then lies about it in his mission report, and Illyan has little choice but to dismiss him from service.


And Miles now has to learn for himself who he is if he doesn't have ImpSec and through them the Dendarii Mercenaries to prop him up. Who is he on Barrayar? Just the little mutant who gained access to the Imperial service through nepotism? Can he be Lord Vorkosigan, and survive without the little admiral?


Add to that Gregor falling in love - and Illyan himself falling to pieces. And Miles's focus quickly shifts from personal anguish and depression to that which he does best: problem-solving.


I've reread Memory now 5 or 6 times from cover to cover with countless repetitions of the various most memorable scenes, like the confrontation with Illyan over lying, or all the meetings with Gregor... and I'm still as pulled into this story as if it's the first time. The Vor Game was Gregor's story, Mirror Dance Mark's - and this is finally Miles coming fully into his own, accepting and embracing who he is (and not only what he created for himself). He's wrestling with temptation: go down the easy route, or do it right; the realization that despite all insecurities and yearnings there are lines that he won't cross; and the moment calm finally settles his mind, and clarity focuses it - that's still immensely satisfying to read.


Some prices are just too high, no matter how much you may want the prize. The one thing you can't trade for your heart's desire is your heart.


It doesn't come as much of a surprise that I especially love the Barrayar-set novels within this series. First of all, Bujold's talent to create characters is fantastic, and it's one thing to see Miles in all his glory among the Dendarii (as head of the chain of command), but it's a wholly different experience to see him in a more socially complex setting. Remember, on Barrayar children like him were killed not so long ago (and boy is it an intense scene when he seeks out Raina and Harra Csurik to ask for forgiveness!), even his own grandfather tried to kill him. He's had to fight his whole life to make a place for himself, and most people still think that nepotism is all that got him into service. And that most of his service was in covert ops doesn't help with his self-esteem issues. So, coming from the top of the food chain, he's suddenly the odd one out, having to find his way against prejudice, suspicion and jealousy.


Seeing him interact with Gregor, his foster-brother, friend and ultimate liege-commander is always a joy because of the various, sometimes contradicting layers of their relationship. Love Gregor, pure and simple, and seeing him find love and joy is one of the many highly enjoyable facets of this novel (as is his courtship told from Miles's PoV - the horse, groomed to within an inch of its life!!!). The same goes for Illyan who was a confidant of Miles's father, always the protector... but who couldn't protect Miles from himself. Again, so many layers of loyalty, familial and personal, not to mention the chain of command make for a complex and differentiated relationship. Add to that Ivan and Galeni whose lives are inextricably bound to Miles's through various reasons, and the story unfolds. Loyalty, friendship, trust, all these build the foundation and, paired with Miles's (and Gregor's) inimitable judgement of character and indomitable drive, make for a fascinating study of loss, betrayal and overcoming adversity.


Yes, Memory isn't an action-packed, fun romp through the galaxy. It's introspective, it's sometimes painful, but, again, oh so rewarding. Chicken always come home to roost. My favourite of the entire saga.

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review 2017-01-27 21:09
Book Review: Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold
Young Miles - Lois McMaster Bujold

This is easily one of my favorite books ever. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be. My college roommate hyped it up like crazy, so when I finally got to reading it, I was expecting disappointment because it didn’t seem like it was going to be as good as she promised.


But it was.


This particular edition consists of two novels and a short story that all revolve around a young man named Miles Vorkosigan who has a birth defect (not congenital, he frequently assures others) and because of that is fragile. His bones break under the smallest pressure and he’s less than five feet tall. The problem is that he was born on a militant planet to a very important family. When he washes out of the military academy, he has to find his own path to greatness — and find it he certainly does.

What impressed me the most about this book (and the rest of the series) is the level of characterization. Firstly, I love Miles. He is practically a cripple, but he doesn’t let that stop him, because while his body is weak, he is a genius. I appreciate that Bujold has created a character that doesn’t go into situations and use his strength or extreme fighting prowess to save the day; instead, he thinks about solutions and launches schemes to achieve his goals.


Second, all the characters are written in shades of grey; she shows the softer sides of rampaging killers and the darker sides of sheltered researchers. This is achieved through ingenious storytelling. With adventure, mystery, suspense, and plot twists that give you whiplash, I kept turning the pages and the characters kept evolving and growing. All this, combined with in-depth universe (not world) building and fascinating cultures, this book made me want more and more and more.


And don’t think it’s all just running around and doing brave deeds — though there is a lot of that — Bujold adds a lot of humor to these books and I found myself laughing aloud quite often.


I really can’t recommend this book strongly enough. It’s SO good! And I don’t think it’s just for science fiction fans; there is plenty of material for all kinds of readers to find something they like.

Source: www.purplereaders.com/?p=1141
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text 2015-08-31 19:52
August Recap!
A Curious Beginning - Deanna Raybourn
Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7) - Lois McMaster Bujold
A Regimental Murder - Ashley Gardner
The Glass House - Ashley Gardner
The Whites - Harry Brandt
Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb
The Sudbury School Murders - Ashley Gardner

I read 13 books in August.  That's a pretty slow month for me, but I have two friends getting married so that's eating away at my reading time...


I did, however, read some great books this month!


A Curious Beginning, The WhitesBarrayar and Assassin's Apprentice were all rave worthy and I recommend all of them. They were the stars of my month.


I also continued in my read of a great mystery series -  The Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries. I love this series. I read three books from the series this month. Here's the first book.


I  learned I am not a fan of the Sebatien St. Cyr mysteries. I read 3.5 of them and have no desire to read any further.


I did not like Rain Girl - depressing and disturbing.


I had quite a few DNFs -


I could not get into Paris He Said, Bull Mountain, or Avelynn to name a few.  A Crown of Thorns and Roses was my most disappointing one as I really wanted to like it.


I will say that I don't mind the DNFs as I spent more time with books I actually liked and didn't have to trudge through. I feel more satisfied with my reading this month because of not being afraid to put a book aside.


I believe in the power of the DNF.


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review 2015-08-03 15:10
Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7) - Lois McMaster Bujold

Author: Lois McMaster Bujold

Series: Vorkosigan Saga #2

Rating: 5 stars


Spoiler warning for the following review.


I couldn't find anything wrong with this book. So I'm just gonna gush. I can't gush without spoilers so consider this fair warning.


1. Cordelia is my hero. How awesome is this woman? Her intelligence. Her insight. Her mother instincts. Her soldier instincts. Just one of the best female characters on paper. I loved her protectiveness of Miles. I loved how she handled Piotr when he deemed Miles less cuz he was damaged in vitro. I loved how when politics tied her husband's hands and their child was in danger she said, Bump that. I got this and I'm going to save my son.  And she wasn't Alias or Lara Croft saavy. She was a brave soldier and a mom who was going to do everything to save her child


2. Aral and Cordelia- I keep going on and on about them as a couple but seriously. They deserve it. My favorite part is when he had things ready for her return. For me, though she had went against what he wanted, he had her back and confidence she would not fail.


3. I love the grownup, serious themes that permeated this book. Aral's struggle to move forward as a leader while faced with impossible choices. Reading him deal with the consequences of the choices he made was heartbreaking. The push and pull of the Beta and Barryan cultures - which one was better? I felt like it was hard to come to concrete conclusions on right and wrong for a lot of the conflicts. This book made me think and I was completely engrossed.


Highly recommend this book.


I'm starting The Warrior's Apprentice.

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text 2015-07-30 15:14
Reading progress update: I've read 49%.
Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7) - Lois McMaster Bujold

This is my current audio book.


Excellent so far.


Some thoughts:


The circumstances surrounding Miles birth, the debate on whether to have a child who more than likely has been damaged - that decision is handled so well. I was emotional and I didn't expect to be. Knowing now Miles' history, how he gets his name, listening to Cordelia's exchange with the grandfather (which had me fist pumping during my morning walk btw) about the name, I'm looking forward to see what Miles accomplishes in further books.


I love Aral and Cordelia's relationship. It's romantic in that it's through actions you can see their love for each other as opposed to flowery descriptions. It's different, I like that. They're a more practical couple and I love when they're on the page together.


I have only one reservation. I know the books in the future deal with Miles which leaves me disappointed only in that I really like Aral and Cordelia and will miss them...

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