Still, I found a lot to like in this story. I enjoyed seeing how the quaddie civilization grew and changed since they gained independence. Bel and Miles together again was wonderful, as was Miles's maturing relationship with Ekaterin. It's clear that Ekaterin understands Miles on a level no one else does -- I loved her explaining Miles's thought process to Vorpatril, and the way she kept reminding him not to skip steps. She gets more awesome with every book.
I also liked having Cetaganda back in the mix. The complex connections among Cetaganda, Komarr, and Barrayar are interesting to me, and it felt to me as though the Cetagandan leg of that triangle had been been neglected for awhile. The Jackson's Whole clans and Komarran rebels make for interesting-enough enemies, but I find the Cetagandans far more compelling. I wonder if this is influenced at all by my having read the books in universe-chronology rather than publishing order; I get the impression that, in publication order, Cetaganda starts out as a faceless, militaristic "Big Bad", and its identity as a fascinating multi-layered society is only revealed much later. Anyway, it was good to see that aspect brought back into the series.
And now, a dilemma. I am now caught up on all the older books, with only Cryoburn left to read. Cryoburn is only out in hardback, and I am reluctant to buy fiction in hardback -- I don't like carrying them around, they take up more shelf space, and they cost more. But the paperback isn't published until September. So I have three options, as I see it: suck it up and buy the hardback, wait five months for the paperback, or get on the longish waiting list at the public library. The last one has some appeal, but my fundamental laziness comes into play because it's been so long since I've checked anything out from the library that I would have to go into the library to get my card reactivated before I could even place the hold. Yes, I know this makes me a bad librarian. Please don't judge me. Any thoughts?
As of this writing, it looks like the DW crosspost failed, so I'm reposting by hand. Apologies if this winds up a duplicate. DW original is here.