Sunday, July 23, 2017

SciFi/Fantasy Book Review: The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga) by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Vor Game is the fourth (well 5th kind of, counting the book that doesn't include any of the titular family and takes place well before the others) book in the Vorkosigan Saga chronologically and the second book chronologically to feature Miles Vorkosigan.  Like Barrayar is to Shards of Honor, this is essentially a sequel to The Warrior's Apprentice and should not be read as a stand alone novel.  That said, it's a superior book to The Warrior's Apprentice, losing much of that book's silliness while maintaining the fun atmosphere, dialogue, and characters that are Bujold's specialties.

Long Review continues after the Jump

------------------------------Plot Summary--------------------------------
At the end of The Warrior's Apprentice, Miles Vorkosigan was trying to make it through the Barrayaran Military academy as an ensign.  Now, three years later, Miles graduates from the academy, only to find himself sent to a backwater (well, frozen and out of the way) military base as the base meteorologist, hardly something that appeals to his dreams of being a space captain.  The Dendarii seem to be in the past and he has lost track of them.

But his time at the base will confront Miles with a severe conflict between his need to do the right thing and his duty to be obedient of his superiors, and one thing leads to another until Miles finds himself suddenly working for Barrayaran Imperial Security, the intelligence division, trying to find out who is causing unrest in a major galactic wormhole hub.  And who would happen to be in the hub?  The remnants of the Dendarii Mercenaries of course....and Miles may need to take command once again in order to prevent a disaster....but this is Miles Vorkosigan, so none of this is ever going to be simple and logical.

The problem with The Warrior's Apprentice was that it was kind of silly for Miles to get away with what he was able to and for Miles to get into those situations in the first place - it kind of stretched suspension of disbelief.  Miles still gets into some crazy situations in this book, but the book does a better job at making each of these situations flow fairly naturally from the other, so it's less of a problem here.

Meanwhile, the characters remain excellent and Bujold's dialogue is still golden - it's hard not to smile half of the time at Miles' inner and outer dialogues.  The book further develops Emperor Gregor into an interesting character in his own right - it's maybe a little jarring since it does't really match with the Gregor we meet for a short time in TWA, although it matches the one we meet in Barrayar, so I guess it works out.

Anyhow, the Vorkosigan saga remains a space opera series (sometimes going into other genres, yes) with fun characters, snappy dialogue, and decent (if unremarkable) action.  Recommended - although again, this book shouldn't be read until after The Warrior's Apprentice.

No comments:

Post a Comment