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One nice thing about cross-country plane flights is getting a lot of time to read.

A Civil Campaign
Very different from all the other books so far -- in the Afterword, Bujold describes it as her take on Regency romance; having not read many Regencies I have to take her word for it, but it makes sense. I enjoyed all the layers of politics and seeing them come together at the end. There seemed to be a strong theme of an old society dealing with the implications of new technology, most obviously in the story of Lady Donna/Lord Dono (which I loved), but in other areas as well: Rene Vorbretten was almost brought down by genetic testing; Lord Vormuir and his 118 dowries; the promise and problem of the butter bugs; Kareen getting a taste of the freedom allowed by reliable contraception and hungering to make her own way. That last thread probably resonated with me the most in its beginnings of a critique of Barrayaran society, although I also loved Cordelia's observations about how Betan methods of controlling reproduction come with their own problems.

It was nice getting the perspective of many voices on this one, and I think it helped with keeping track of so many plot threads; I liked following the stories from different perspectives. I especially appreciated getting a look through Ivan's eyes at last: getting his unfiltered thoughts on Miles, and Barrayar politics, and his unwillingness to settle down.

I had figured it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Miles and Ekaterin were going to end up together (and ditto with Mark and Kareen -- "mutual option", hah! I love it), but in this case it's the journey that matters, and I certainly would never have imagined anything like the proposal in the Court of Counts, especially after that dinner party that I pretty much had to read with my fingers over my eyes, it was such a disaster. Poor, stupid Miles. But it was fun to see them work it out, in public and dramatic fashion. Although I suppose from Miles, I should expect nothing less.

And once again, of course, Gregor rules all. I hope we get a story from his POV someday.

"Winterfair Gifts"
Telling the story of Miles and Ekaterin's wedding from the POV of Random Armsman #37 was a stroke of genius. We hear very little of "ordinary" Barrayarans, so this made for a nice change. Of course, it's the mark of the Vorkosigans that their Random Armsman #37 rises up to save the day in a time of need. Recruiting, retaining, and inspiring people seems to be the one thing they all have in common. Enjoyable little story, and the Roic/Taura romance is sweet and believable.

One weird thing, though -- I don't know if it's the story or just this edition, but the text was riddled with errors. Typos, punctuation and spacing mistakes, wrong words used. Well below the standards I would expect of a published book, and I found it jarring.

This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/523464.html. There are currently comment count unavailable comments on DW.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
peachespig
Apr. 4th, 2011 03:34 am (UTC)
There seemed to be a strong theme of an old society dealing with the implications of new technology

Yes, and most all of it to do with sexuality and reproduction ("biology", as Lois calls it). She is so good with taking near-future technology and following it wherever it leads to reexamine the notion of identity and what it means to be human. She did it with all the Jackson/clone/Taura stuff, and she does it again in this one on Barrayar.

I don't know why, I just love Barrayar. A big chunk of it is because she has such a rich cast set there. And all of Miles's real fears and ambitions. I love a few other worlds of hers too, particularly Jackson's Whole (in a negative sense) and Cetaganda. The books that take place on random world #87 don't speak to me as much.

I especially appreciated getting a look through Ivan's eyes at last: getting his unfiltered thoughts on Miles, and Barrayar politics, and his unwillingness to settle down.

Oh Ivan. There is a chunk of the beginning of her Ivan-POV book floating around the internet, and the other character Ivan is interacting with, through mutual snark and suspicion, is Byerly. I am so looking forward to this book.

Speaking of which, just two more for you now, and you're all caught up to the rest of us!

Of course, it's the mark of the Vorkosigans that their Random Armsman #37 rises up to save the day in a time of need.

Lois really, really likes... competence. The few non-Vorkosigan books I've read seem to have that trait, too.

I just read Winterfair Gifts in electronic version, and I didn't notice any issues. I wonder why the omnibus blew it. Definitely a fun story. LOL at Ivan's humping rabbit sculpture. You know, for a long time I imagined Taura as she is on the cover of Miles Errant, but I don't think that's right.... a little too bestial and furry, I think. I should go check her original description, but this story just made her sound very large, very muscular, and with claws and teeth...
owlmoose
Apr. 4th, 2011 07:18 am (UTC)
The cover art seems to be terrible all around. I haven't seen a version of Miles that seems right to me yet.

Speaking of which, just two more for you now, and you're all caught up to the rest of us!

It's true! I hardly know what I will do with myself...
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