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Vorblogging - "Komarr"

"He's not short. He's just... concentrated."

There's a part of me that wants to just leave it at that.

It was a little too obvious, perhaps, that Ekaterin is being set up as Miles's new love interest, and I was a bit put off by the lack of subtlety in the picture of her bad first marriage. Tien was clearly a jerk at best, a villain at worst; it's hard to have sympathy for his mostly self-inflicted plight when the toll it took on Ekaterin and Nikki was so plain.

I do like Ekaterin, and I love how she can be strong and clever but also just normal -- not a soldier or royalty or spy, just a woman. Although a part of me still misses Elli, she will make a much better match for Miles, especially in his new life. Speaking of which, Lord Auditor Miles is going to take some getting used to, although it's nice to see him growing into the role.

The secret of the wormhole destroyer was fine, although the last couple of books have been so intense by comparison that it was harder for me to get really invested. Probably the most interesting thing about this book is the picture of a conquered world and the different ways its people have adapted to the change, or how they decide to fight. The contrast of Soudha versus Riva, I found particularly interesting. Riva is tempted by her knowledge, but you know she would never take action; Soudha is a practical revolutionary (or so he believes himself). As Miles suggested, I can't imagine Soudha rots in jail for long. The Professor and Professora (and how awesome a title is Professora?) were great, both individually and in their relationship.

So I think I would be hard-pressed to call this one of my favorites -- at this point, I would probably pick Memory, or Cetaganda, or maybe Mirror Dance -- but as the first story fully committed to the series's new direction, it does quite well.

This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/523221.html. There are currently comment count unavailable comments on DW.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
peachespig
Apr. 3rd, 2011 05:08 pm (UTC)
It was a little too obvious, perhaps, that Ekaterin is being set up as Miles's new love interest, and I was a bit put off by the lack of subtlety in the picture of her bad first marriage.

Yeah, I think the whole naming the omnibus "Miles in Love" was a little much (it didn't exist when I read the books), but even without that it's pretty clear where things are going with Ekaterin. And I agree about Tien: he is just a little too cartoon bad-husbandy. I'm not saying he's terrible, just a a little bit over the line.

Komarr is definitely not a bad book but I do think it's a tiny bit of a lull, compared with its exalted company. The next one (A Civil Campaign) is my other favorite, besides Mirror Dance, and it and Memory seem to be the consensus favorites for most fans I've talked too. ACC is also a polar opposite of Mirror Dance; read the subtitle and the dedication for hints as to what kind of book you are getting yourself into. :) (And if the four names in the dedication don't mean anything to you, I can help.)

The secret of the wormhole destroyer was fine, although the last couple of books have been so intense by comparison that it was harder for me to get really invested.

I've felt this a little bit in general with the "Auditor" books, as opposed to the "Dendarii" books. They are more mysteries than the earlier ones, but sometimes the mysteries seem a little less personal somehow. For me the plots are always enjoyable but usually come second to the characters, so the books rise and fall for me on what the characters are going through. Miles's life is usually in jeopardy, but my favorites tend to be the ones where his inner self is also in jeopardy.
owlmoose
Apr. 3rd, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
I would probably have figured that Miles was going to fall for Ekaterin even without the spoilery omnibus title, because he always falls for the attractive intelligent brunettes...

Upon reflection, the thing that saves Tien from being too far over the line is that his particular brand of villainy is very human. I've known guys (and women, but they're mostly men in my experience) like this: always certain that the good thing is around the corner, unwilling to work within an imperfect reality to make it better.

I just finished ACC this afternoon (Finished Komarr near the start of my plane ride yesterday, tapped out my notes on the phone, and then posted this when I got home, so by the time this post went up I was actually about halfway through ACC), but the omnibus edition includes neither the subtitle nor the dedication! Boo. What are they? (I'll hold further thoughts on ACC for its own post, which I'll probably write up with Winterfair Gifts once I finish that.)

peachespig
Apr. 3rd, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, Tien's failings do seem very male; they all stem from an unwillingness to ask for help or admit weakness.

"A Civil Campaign: A Comedy of Biology and Manners" has the dedication: "For Jane, Charlotte, Georgette and Dorothy — long may they rule."

Looking forward to your writeup! You know, I never read Winterfair Gifts (since I bought those novels separately, and the other place it appeared was an obscure collection of romance short stories), but I think I have it somewhere on the CD of stuff that came with Cryoburn. I should hunt that down.
owlmoose
Apr. 3rd, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
Heh, nice. And fitting. (Is the fourth a reference to Sayles, Parker, or another Dorothy I'm not remembering off the top of my head?)
peachespig
Apr. 3rd, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
Sayers, the author of the Lord Peter Wimsey books.
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