Saturday, October 15, 2005

50 Book Challenge #51-54: Mirror Dance, Komarr, A Civil Campaign, and Diplomatic Immunity

At the urging of some of my commenters and against my own gut instincts, I checked out as many of the more recent Vorkosigan books as the Clerksville library had available. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of these books, as compared with Bujold's newest work, and am now begrudgingly willing to acknowledge that some of her more enthusiastic partisans may have a point.

The character of Mark, with his flaws, eagerness to dive into the world of entrepreneurship, and psychological complexity, was perhaps the most appealling aspect of both books in which he figured. Mirror Dance got boring whenever he was offstage; I was far more interested in what Mark was going to do than where Miles was. This is no doubt a result of my lack of previous attachment to the character and Miles fans will chide me for my cold-heartedness.

A Civil Campaign
lost some momentum when it became bogged down in Barrayaran politics instead of the delicate manueverings of people in love, but it was probably the most enjoyable of the books I read. At several points I laughed out loud, but then comedies of manners do appeal to me much more than the more modern sort.

Diplomatic Immunity definitely was the most tightly plotted of the four, although the motivations of the ba remained rather opaque, even after the neat explanation in the final chapter. And again with the babies! You know, I'd love a well written and psychologically perceptive SF or fantasy book with characters in adult relationships who don't go all hormonal and baby-crazy. Any recommendations?

Komarr was necessary, I suppose, as an introduction to Miles's love interest, but in all other respects is was underwhelming and dull. As mystery subjects go, murders and kidnappings are innately more interesting than embezzlement.

I don't plan on reading any more Bujold, but somehow I've been bullied into reading ten of her books this year alone, so saying that may just provide more incentive for people to write and suggest yet more titles that will display her subtle talent.
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