Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan returns to the planet that changed her destiny in a new novel by multiple New York Times best-selling author Lois McMaster Bujold.
Future imperfect: Three years after her famous husband's death, Cordelia Vorkosigan, widowed vicereine of Sergyar, stands ready to spin her life in a new direction. Oliver Jole, admiral, Sergyar Fleet, finds himself caught up in her web of plans in ways he'd never imagined, bringing him to an unexpected crossroads in his life. Meanwhile, Miles Vorkosigan, one of Emperor Gregor's key investigators, this time dispatches himself on a mission of inquiry into a mystery he never anticipated - his own mother.
Plans, wills, and expectations collide in this sparkling science fiction social comedy as the impact of galactic technology on the range of the possible changes all the old rules, and Miles learns that not only is the future not what he expects - neither is the past.
©2015 Lois McMaster Bujold (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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"Back to Barrayar"
After more than four years, since Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Grover Gardner again brings the Vorkosigan saga to life and back to Barrayar in the latest story “Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen.”
I personally began my adventure with this series starting with the “Warriors Apprentice,” and couldn’t get enough of Miles. Brittle boned, slight of build, and always over-matched physically in a world that prided itself on strength, he wass usually able to overcome all obstacles with his keen intelligent and equally sharp and witty wit. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every audible book in this series that Louis McMaster Bujold has so masterfully crafted and this latest release is no exception. Some of my favorited characters are back, including Miles, but this is a Cordelia story. Throughout the series we got to know her; “Shards of Honor” and “Barrayar,” centered on her. We learned of her diverse background growing up on a technological forward thinking planet called Beta Colony that was indirect contrast with the militant hierarchical planet from which her husband came from and which they both resided called Barrayar. Now three years after the death of her famous husband, Aral Vorkosigan, Cordelia, widowed vicereine of Sergyar, is ready to begin a new direction in her life. Insightful and heartwarming, this story does not have a whole lot of action but for those who have been following this series I think you will like this addition.
Grover Gardner, as usual, gives a great performance setting the tone perfectly.
"Only for Cordelia fans and, even then, be warned."
Where is her editor?
No plot, no conflict, minimal tension (either emotionally or romantically), and she creates events that happened decades before in the series that go against the characters' natures. I kept waiting for something exciting to happen, some difficulty for the characters to overcome. There isn't even any romance tension, which could have saved the book. According to the story, they're basically just re-kindling a relationship, so there's no 'falling in love' process and no wondering if/when they'll declare their love and consummate the relationship. There's mild tension where the hero has to decide to whether to accept a long distance job, but there's no crisis or anything.
There were points where I thought an exciting plot was about to start, but she never took the story in any of those possible directions. It's frustrating to know it could've been so good that it makes your disappointment so much worse.
Someone said she's ending her series and tying up loose ends, which is a good idea as the plots and writing have been going downhill. As someone said, this makes a nice, but boring, epilogue. It should not have been a stand alone book.
I would only read it if you're a Cordelia fan, which I am; so I continued listening all the way to its tedious end. But I would recommend buying a used paperbook, not an audiobook.
I expected a book similar to the others in the series - full of action, intrigue & humour. What I got was a badly handled & utterly boring romance between Cordelia & a new character that had no real conflict, angst or even interest. There were one or two minor characters that frankly were more interesting than the protagonists but they were never developed beyond the barest minimum. The whole thing should have been a short story or, at most, a novella. I can't see myself ever listening to this again, whereas all the other books in the series have been read & reread many times. Very annoying.
LMB is one of my favorite authors. I had listened to all of Miles several times over, so I could not wait for this one to come out. Her writing style hasn't changed but I did not care for the story itself. I did not get past the first chapter.
"I enjoyed it as a fan, but doesn't stand alone"
Grover Gardner is a great reader, I've enjoyed listening to him through all the Vorkosigan books.
I enjoyed this book as a fan of the Vorkosigan series, but it doesn't have the same intense action plotline as the others, and even as a romance goes it isn't all that novel. It read more like a prequel - except its set after everything else. I loved the return to Cordelia, one of my favorite characters and it is my hope that Bujold wrote this novel as a bridge to transition to a new series of novels with Cordelia's daughter(s) as a female lead.
"Not rollicking high adventure, but more personal"
For fans used to the adrenaline and constant forward momentum of Miles's books, "Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen"... well, isn't that. Instead it's a more introspective journey into the lives of characters we thought we knew well, to discover the portions of their stories that had been hidden between the pages of the more action soaked books. This book combined insight into life, death, the past, the future, and the family webs that hold all those and more. A beautiful sendoff to the series, if that is the purpose, although - as always - holding the seeds to grow again.
"Characters and images that stick with you"
"He looked as tall and cool as ever, but a faint panicked light in his blue eyes had put her oddly in mind of a cat that had just had an inadvertent ride in a dryer." Listening brings extra enjoyment of Bujold's wit and turn of phrase.
For wit, look also to the works of John Scalzi.
My favorite scene is usually the one I just finished.
It's hard when the book ends and you have to leave these characters. There is a temptation to not finish so you can spend time savoring what happened in the current scene.
Lois McMaster Bujold is my favorite author. I have all of her books in audio format. Only one had a reader whose precision masked the wit of the writing..
"Almost a prequel, hopefully"
Lois McMaster Bujold's latest Vorkosigan saga takes place on Sergyar three years after the death of Aral. While Miles makes an entrance, the tale is focused on his mother Cordelia who is in the process of transitioning out of running the planet with plans to retire and raise a crop of daughters. Beyond the routine administrivia of managing a bureaucracy and some minor political infighting, she also reignites with an old fling that provides some interesting background on Aral. There is little to no suspense, other than a possible job offer, possibly something brewing with Cetaganda, and has the feel of a setup for future adventures with Miles and his mother.
The sci-fi elements are all the well established conditions of the Vorkosigan universe. Instead of action and suspense, the story is a more intimate portrait of mid to late life struggles of coming to terms with diminished impact on the larger universe and merely hoping to positively impact near space. We can only hope that Bujold is simply setting the stage for a new set of adventures involving Miles, his mother, and growing supporting cast of new sisters and half brothers.
The narration is as usual excellent. Grover Gardner is among the masters with a solid range of voices for both genders and solid pacing. One particular talent is the ability to inflect his voice to convey thought versus speech with the characters.
"A very flat story"
It's happy ending, happy start and happy in the middle. I have read or listened to all Bujold's books so purchased this out of principle although it seems I would stop with this one. The story progress very lazily and has virtually no rise.it's slightly more adventurous than watching paint dry. On the other hand if you have a condition that requires you to avoid strong emotions then this is the book.
"More romance than usual for the Vorkosigan series."
More introspection with characters and a focus on the romance aspects than in previous stories. This is fitting with the characters aging and life changes. Still, not quite as adventurous as I would preferred as I am more of a fan of Mile's frantic capers. (I am stating this as a preference not an actual criticism of the book.). Overall a good enjoyable story that is well written and flawlessly narrated.
"Every trace of an exciting plot dispensed with"
I have read them all. This was the one that appealed least - even less than Diplomatic Immunity and Cryoburn.
A difficult question, since the genre it appears to be written for isn't the genre in which most of Ms Bujold's books are set. It's a lazy, self-indulgent self-congratulatory conclusion for Ms Bujold's own favourite Mary Sue, bringing in character after character who had submerged all other attributes to support her. If you like the ideas of BayBees! and Toddlers! and agonising over long-dead secrets - secrets which within days they seem happy to tell to anyone who's interested, all of whom accept with it grace and tolerance.The only one of the on-going problems that actually boiled over was deal with so efficiently by Mary Sue's idealised devoted swain that it became an anticlimax. No wrecks, and nobody drownded, in fact nothing to laugh at all. I began to wish that Miles would poke the hexapod with his stick with the horse'shead handle. If you are going to write an episode in a space opera, don't buy plot bunnies, then decide not to use them to any effect.
The important question is - which scenes would I have insisted on being inserted. They would have been scenes with some more significant action than a made up game, competed in by characters we neither knew, nor cared about, with rules that might have been comprehensible, but were, absolutely, irrelevant. There might have been a dastardly Cetegandan plot, or a raid by Jackson's Hole on the mothballed Prince Serge, or even a sudden eruption of a volcano. But instead we got kids eating cake.
I am keeping it because I have the others, and have only myself to blame for not heeding the warnings.
"Very disappointing read."
I felt quite let down by this addition to the saga. I finished it simply out of loyalty to the grand story world I love. I wish I could travel back in time, give my younger self a short summary and save the credit for something more worthy.
"No Space drama its just a mills & boon romance"
I have the purchased them all since the Warriors Apprentice and really enjoyed them. I really like the wheeling and dealing that the author can generate and tell with interest. I was so looking forward to this.
This was put forward as a Miles Vorkosogan story. He just appears hafl way through kind of thing. Its a romance not adventure. The story is well crafted and highlights a number of issues. However its not about beating the bandwagon
Gardener is a brilliant narrator its just this book content with nods to previous storylines isnt for me .
Non question its the authors work - they have to get it right
On the edge of sending this back - but I wont , mostly because of Grovers narration , it can play in the background. If you are new to the Vorkosogan Saga don't start with this one you wont want to read the rest
"Vorkosigan, but not Miles"
Somewhat. It's a nice enough story, but a real departure from other vorkosigan saga.
Probably not. It's really not my cup of tea.
Nothing really springs to mind. Not that it is bland, it just did not grab me the way the usual vorkosigan saga would.
No. Give me back the space opera!
I was tempted to return the book, but I did enjoy the narration, even if it was disappointing. It's like ordering a ribeye steak, and getting nicoise instead. I still enjoyed it, but it is not steak
"Different but does draw you in."
Not quite what I was expecting but Grovers usual beautiful reading and the authors careful, polished writing is like an old friend.
These books are I think unique. I only hope Lois continues to delight us for many years to come.
"Not a typical Vorkosigan saga novel, but still good!"
I enjoyed the much more personal story in play in the book - not least the chance to catch up with an older, wiser Cordelia. The development of the plot may not have the sweep of Miles' adventures in his pomp, but the issues raised are no less interesting, nor the relationships explored.
A change of pace certainly, but not an unwelcome one.
"A life of work dwindling down"
This is a good good, no doubt of that, but it feels ... sad. To me it really feels like a goodbye to old friends, which you know you may never see again.
The book really feels much better than the last three Vorkosigan, neither Diplomatic Immunity nor Cryoburn had any real oomph in them and Capt. Vorpatril was oddly unfinished. This book feel more cohesive and well written, with more heart in. Actually, that is what is in it ... heart.
The first chapter hit me like a emotional broadside, and the rest of the book my poor soul was shell shocked.
Vox Day would hate this one I guess...
But in the end, it feels like an epiloge ... or an eulogy of some sorts.
The reading was unexceptional but adequate.
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