Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Vorblogging: The Warrior's Apprentice

A few days after finishing Cordelia's Honor, I attempted to find Young Miles at the bookstore (which, for me right now, means the Borders closest to work). They didn't have it, and so rather than going on a mission, I made my way to Amazon, where the book was eligible for the 4-for-3 promotion. As a result, I now have a stack of Vorkosigan omnibuses (plus Memory) on a table in the living room. I suppose that means I'm committed to this project now...

Anyway, I finished The Warrior's Apprentice today. Before I get into more details, one thing: I kept expecting the title to actually have some relevance to the book, but as far as I could tell, it never connected. Anyone know what it's supposed to mean? Or was it created by the publisher?

This was a fun read. Although it shares its less-mature writing style with Shards of Honor, it had less of a fanfiction-y feel to it, possibly because the worlds and the characters seem better developed. I liked Miles right away. [personal profile] justira had warned me that some people find teenage Miles to be annoying. He certainly is a young male child of privilege -- hard to avoid, when you're the only son of a wealthy and powerful house in a patriarchal, hierarchal society -- but those aspects of his personality tempered a lot by his having grown up disabled. There's a tension there and Miles is keenly aware of it; one of my favorite bits in the book is when someone, perhaps his cousin Ivan, says something wistful about "the old days", and Miles responds by pointing out that, under the old order, he'd have been killed at birth. The balance works, even when he's overcompensated by being theatrical. He feels real to me.

Elena is great, too, as are Baz and most of the mercenaries, especially Thorne, Tung, and Auson, plus the little bit of development we get on Elli toward the end. I wish we'd gotten more time with Thorne -- the concept of a society with a fully-integrated intersex population is a pretty fascinating one. Even if I found the use of "it" as a personal pronoun jarring; I had to pretend it was a translation error. The concept that Miles's habits of picking up strays and bluffing his way through tough situations eventually snowballs into the creation of a mercenary fleet is maybe a little much, but each small step was so believable that I was able to go with it. He also has a real talent for turning enemies into allies, which I expect to become more important over time.

[personal profile] justira had asked me for my thoughts on Bothari. Those thoughts are complicated and not fully formed, and I found his death so jarring that I'm not sure what to make of it. I had fully expected Bothari to be one of the main characters in this series, so I'm still adjusting to the idea that Bujold killed him off so quickly. Also unexpected was Elena marrying Baz -- when a character starts off a series of books secretly in love with a childhood friend, I expect the tension around that relationship to play out over several books, rather than being resolved, unhappily for the protagonist, in the very first one. I'm not complaining, really; I enjoy a good subversion of expectations. But it's still a shift that I have to adjust to in my reactions.

Anyway, Bothari. He is a difficult character, in many respects: a man who has committed horrors, cannot remember the specifics but knows in an abstract way what they were, and has spent the rest of his life trying to atone for them. (Possibly this is just because I watched it recently, but I'm reminded of the Babylon 5 episode "Passing Through Gethsemane".) I find it interesting that Bujold killed off Bothari and Miles's grandfather -- the two people in Miles's life most tied to the old Barrayaran traditions. Clearing the decks for a new order? Maybe.

I have to wonder how thoroughly Bujold had plotted out "Barrayar" before writing this book, because there are call-outs to things that happened in that time frame that are really specific, like the deaths of Vorhalas's sons. So far, I haven't noticed any plot holes caused by jumping back and forth through the timeline; hopefully that stays the case.

This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/512579.html. There are currently comment count unavailable comments on DW.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 16th, 2011 02:38 am (UTC)
I think the titular apprentice is Miles. As for the warrior, I always imagined it to be Bothari, though I suppose you could make cases for Aral or even Piotr as other warriors that he is trying to emulate, in his own way. But I think it's Bothari.
Jan. 16th, 2011 02:42 am (UTC)
I have seen arguments for Tung as the warrior, since he's the one with real combat experience and practice leading fleets. Which Miles lacked at first, despite his talent for getting everyone to do things his way, even if that way tends to be dangerous to friends, enemies, ImpSec chiefs, and innocent bystanders.
Jan. 16th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
I guess you can make that case too. I didn't think about him just because, although he is important to the plot, he is far less significant to Miles's character development. The whole "apprenticeship" thing is thematically intertwined with the idea of growing up, and Bothari is the figure that is most significant in that here. I guess when I listed Bothari, Aral and Piotr, I was really listing father figures. Tung plays a kind of father-like role, but in a much more abbreviated way.
Jan. 16th, 2011 04:20 am (UTC)
If Tung had been a longer-term presence in the book, I could see a good case for that, especially as Tung is basically the only person Miles ever encounters who sees through his act. Actually, I wish that we *had* seen more of Miles with Tung; I really enjoyed what we did see of their dynamic. I mostly agree with peachespig, though, that he's not as significant to Miles over the course of the book as Bothari, Aral, or even Piotr.

Also, heh. Miles is one of the most charismatic characters I've come across lately; it's fun to watch, but it does tend to lead himself, and everyone else into trouble.
Jan. 16th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)
I agree that the apprentice can only be Miles, and that Bothari is the closest he has to a mentor figure, in terms of their relationship during the story. My confusion is more that the book isn't really about Bothari (or anyone) teaching Miles to be a warrior; as far as I can discern a theme, it's not that. Does that make sense.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

April 2017


Page Summary

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner