book review: april 2011 bulk edition

I have been neglecting my reviewing duties. But don’t worry, I’ve still been reading. I haven’t given up on the printed word (and image). Just been slow in typing about them. So here is a list of the books I read before coming to Australia.
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book review: the vor game

Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Vor Game is another of the Miles Vorkosigan space opera books. They’re fun stuff, nothing dense, just a lot of crazy stuff happening. You know there’ll be ridiculous coincidences and that people will be brilliant just in the nick of time. You aren’t worrying about huge amounts of ethical implications, though the characters do a lot better job of being human than in some books I’ve read recently.

The thing about this one is that it felt like two books bolted together. There’s the arctic mystery story and then the rollicking space opera with Ensign Miles being very insubordinate. In the afterword McMaster Bujold talks about how they probably should have been split in two. I agree.

Executive summary: good light adventure fiction, like the rest of the series.

book review: the mountains of mourning

The Mountains of Mourning is a long short story in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga. Miles is sent out to the countryside to dispense justice in the murder of a deformed infant. Dispense justice with restraint. It was a thoughtful story about soft power and knowing your audience. The big problem Miles faces is that the villagers he’s investigating have no reason to trust in his ability to do the right thing and not just trample them. It’s very reminiscent of the stuff we’re talking about in my Community-Led Libraries course, to bring things from sf nerdery to library school nerdery.

book review: the warrior’s apprentice

Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga is a space opera classic. There are wormholes and space battles and currency discrepancies between worlds. This book, The Warrior’s Apprentice, is about Miles Vorkosigan who doesn’t get into the Imperial academy and then sets off to accidentally create a mercenary company.

It’s exciting and fun and there’s actually a bit more darkness in terms of war crimes and consequences than I’d expected. I was a little surprised at the shying away from depicting the climactic mercenary battle, but it followed that up with some interestingly manipulated politics to get Miles out of a treason charge, so that was pretty neat.

I think I own a couple of Vorkosigan books but have never read them. I only started them now because Baen made nearly the entire series available as free ebooks so I could bring the entire collection on my winter travels. Which is pretty enjoyable.