The first novel in the Vorkosigan series with fascinating insights in the world of Barrayar and its culture. Definitely not a rose-colored view of either the military mind-set or even of any mind-set. A very dispassionate view of what many cultures humans might fragment into if we ever make it into space. And not a bad love story either. Highly recommended.
Lois McMaster Bujold is the best!---This is a sort of 'prequel' to Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan books...........
It was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons. She even wore the wrong uniform; Cordelia Naismith, Betan Expeditionary Force, had been hurried into battle still wearing her old tan Astronomical Survey fatigues.
Now, captain of a throwaway ship on a mission of deception, she convoys a weapon of wicked subtlety to entrap and destroy an enemy armada.
But Cordelia will discover deception within deception, treachery within treachery, until finally she is forced into a separate peace with her chief opponent, Lord Vorkosigan. It is a peace that earns her only ignominy--even though it forshadows a new beginning, for herself, her lover, and both their peoples . . .
Short review: Two stars. This book disappointed me. Based on its ratings, reviews, and cover summary I was expecting one thing, but got something less enticing; like expecting vodka, but getting water.
!***Long review contains serious SPOILERS***!
Long review: First, let me complain to you about the wording of the book summary. On the back it says: Cordelia will discover deception within deception, treachery within treachery, until finally she is force into a separate peace with her chief opponent, Lord Vorkosigan. It is a peace that earns her only ignominy even though it foreshadows a new beginning, for herself, her lover, and both their peoples.
From this, I expected Lord Vorkosigan to end up her enemy. After all, thats what opponent usually means, right? But no, he wasnt her enemy, and he didnt really betray her at any point. They fell in love and by the end of the book were married.
I did not pick up this book for romance. Based on what Id read about it, I expected battles, politics, fighting, desperation, and action. I did not expect romance. But really, thats what this book is at heart: a romance novel. Sure, it takes place in space, and yes, there are politics, but thats all secondary to the growing relationship between Cordelia and Vorkosigan. And considering that I dont like romance/love stories, I would never have read this book if I had known that was the primary focus.
Second, this book took too long to interest me. The stuff from page 135-142 nearly made me quit, but I clawed through it. It finally started to get interesting around page 179, more than halfway through the book. I quit most books before then if they fail to catch my interest.
Finally, the story felt small. Intimate, I guess you could say. Despite taking place in the future, in space, on multiple planets and spaceships, the story stayed focused between Codelia and Vorkosigan and their interactions. I wanted something more, something broader.
I will say that Cordelia isnt the bratty, selfish, simpering, lovesick, and/or just plain stupid heroine common to the YA genre. She was no female Rambo though either. She was average, I guess. Tolerable, but nothing exciting; at least she wasnt irritating.