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October Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

planet/space-scape in the back right, with a blue hand in the left foreground, showing squares around the fingerprint, giving the impression of a computer drawing Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner – B I am slowly making my way through the Vorkosigan saga. (Next are the 2 Miles romance books and I’m so excited!!) I had heard that Memory was very sad and many of my friends report sobbing as they read/listened. I must be heartless because I didn’t have that reaction at all.

I was a bit grumpy with Miles at the start because he was being dishonest and cheating on Ellie (Quinn). At least by the end of the book he had acknowledged that he was in the wrong on the latter (in relation to the former this happened much earlier in the story). Still, Miles is supposed to be better than that!

I also thought the story took a long time to set up and get going. I knew from previous books that all of the beginning would turn out to be relevant to the tale but it didn’t have any sense of urgency for me until after Miles starts investigating what’s happening at ImpSec (I won’t spoil the story by saying exactly what he’s investigating).

Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner

Mirror danceWhy I read it:  I am slowly making my way through this series and Mirror Dance was up next.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  The dwarfish, fetally-damaged yet brilliant Miles Vorkosigan has more than his share of troubles. Having recently escaped an assassination plot whose tool was a brainwashed clone of himself, Miles has set the clone, Mark, free for a new chance at life. But when he decides to let his clone brother assume his secret identity and lead the Dendarii Free Mercenary on an unauthorized mission to liberate other clones from the outlaw planet of Jackson’s Whole, things start to get really messy. The mission goes awry, Miles’s rescue attempt goes even more wrong, and Miles ends up killed and placed in cryogenic suspension for future resuscitation. Then, as if that weren’t bad enough, the cryo-container is lost! Now it is up to the confused, disturbed Mark to either take Miles’s place as heir of the Vorkosigan line or redeem himself by finding and saving Miles.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I hadn’t planned writing a review of this one. But there was a thing which happened late in the story which changed my mind. I won’t go in to a lot of detail about the thing (for reasons which, I hope, will become obvious) but given that it happens later in the story, I should probably give a SPOILER warning about now.

June Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

the cockpit of a spaceship looks out over a planet to the right and Miles Vorkosigan's face superimposed in the background on the left.Brothers in Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner – B Another strong entry into the Vorkosigan saga, (I’m getting close to the Miles romance books! Whee!!) which I am slowly making my way through. I listened to Borders of Infinity before Brothers in Arms and the former has a framing story around three novella length tales – I’m pretty sure at least one of those short stories takes place after Brothers in Arms so I did have a bit of cognitive dissonance when Miles was doing the business with Elli Quinn. I’m sure I’ve heard a story where Ellie falls in love with someone else. (Did I get that wrong? Am I confusing this series with something else?)

I enjoyed Miles’ ponderings on what makes family and I liked Ivan’s appearance in this one – he makes me laugh actually. Ivan strikes me as a fairly simple sort of guy, not at all stupid but a little lazy and almost Miles’ polar opposite. He makes a good foil for our hero. I also liked the way Elli and Miles hooked up here and how it was implicit that they were having, essentially, a FWB relationship. Appearances are another theme in this story – Miles’ appearance, Elli’s appearance and how it has changed since Miles has known her, the various consequences of their respective visages and bodies, not to mention the appearance of “Mark”.

Claimings series by Lyn Gala

Claimings, Tails and other Alien ArtifactsWhy I read them:  A number of people have recommended these books to me – most recently Sirius from Dear Author.

CLAIMINGS, TAILS AND OTHER ALIEN ARTIFACTS

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Liam loves his life as a linguist and trader on the Rownt homeworld, but he has ignored his heart and sexual needs for years. He won’t risk letting anyone come too close because he won’t risk letting anyone see his deeply submissive nature. For him, submission comes with pain. Life burned that lesson into his soul from a young age. This fear keeps him from noticing that the Rownt trader Ondry cares for him.

Ondry may not understand humans, but he recognizes a wounded soul, and his need to protect Liam is quickly outpacing his common sense. They may have laws, culture, and incompatible genitalia in their way, but Ondry knows that he can find a way to overcome all that if he can just overcome the ghosts of Liam’s past. Only then can he take possession of a man he has grown to love.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  This first book is a lot shorter than the other two in the series (so far – dare I hope for another?), at less than a hundred pages (the second book is the longest and the third is in between). I was impressed with the world building Gala was able to portray in a short word count and fascinated by the Rownt and the way they think. I love the way she used the Rownt to examine some things about people which are weird or don’t make sense and, seeing these things from an outsider point of view was deeply interesting. In particular, the way Dominance and submission is portrayed here is unique and quite charming.

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