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Shards of Honor

Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons. And Captain Cordelia Naismith of the Betan Expeditionary Force would be forced into a separate peace with her enemy, Lord Vorkosigan.

Shards of Honor is the novel in which Lois McMaster Bujold introduced the science-fiction world to Barrayar and Aral Vorkosigan, Beta Colony and Cordelia Naismith. From this beginning the author has created a multigenerational saga spanning time as well as space.

Bujold is generally recognized as the current exemplar of the character-based science-fiction adventure story.

©1986 Lois McMaster Bujold (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[Bujold] gives [her] characters enough emotional depth, and enough sense, to raise their story beyond cliché." ( Locus)

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  • gam
  • 26-03-2017

The first in a great series

I loved the characters, setting and plot. Highly recommend the book and the series.
Narrator voiced the different characters accents well without interrupting the flow of the story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

One of my favourite books ever

This is a re-read. I've decided to finish off a few series I've started. Not sure why I started with this series as it's a lot longer than some others but I was in the mood for some good scifi.

Loved this book as much as the first time. I read it in a couple of days; couldn't put it down. My favourite part is still when our heroine, Cordelia, returns to her home planet and they think she's suffering from a type of Stockholm Syndrome from being with our hero, Aral, and it doesn't matter how many times she tries to reassure them that he was not abusive, they do not believe it. This section also highlights how the media and governments can twist events to make you believe whatever they want.

Written in 1986, you'd think a lot of the book's content should be dated but it isn't. A lot of the scifi aspects/gadgets are probably more relevant (the environmental issues of Cordelia's planet, for example) and believable in 2019.

This book's plot twists were unique and very clever and the romance was as fabulous the second time around as when I read it originally.

I tried the audio version and it's okay. I think I would have preferred a woman narrating though.

Still a strong 5 out of 5 and on my favourite list. Highly recommend.

Original review:

I read this book on a friend’s recommendation (that is, she nagged until I relented). I will readily admit that I had never heard of this series of books (which, interestingly, has no official name, but most people call it the Vorkosigan Saga), nor its author (Lois McMaster Bujold) when she first told me to read it. Then, funnily enough, I started seeing it mentioned all over the internet, and came to the conclusion that it has a cult following. I think I can see why after reading the first book.

Yes, it’s science fiction. Yes, it has futuristic space settings, battles, and technology. But, like all really good science fiction, the charm of the book is in the characters. They’re characters whose story could still work if it was set in any place or time.

This book introduces us to Captain Cordelia Naismith from the Beta Colony. She’s on a scientific study on an uninhabited (by humans) planet when all hell breaks loose, in the form of Commander Aral Vorkosigan and his soldiers from a planet called Barrayar attacking her ship and crew. Betans and Barrayarans have been sworn enemies for eons apparently, but in a typical fiction twist, Cordelia and Aral find themselves stranded on the volatile planet, alone, and have to work together to survive.

Cordelia is smart, sassy, and quite handy in a crisis.

Aral is not considered good looking by anyone on either colony. He’s known to be bloodthirsty and sadistic. Cordelia’s slow journey of learning none of this is true is so much fun.

Yes, the obvious ending is romance, and the obvious plot is conflict between our lead couple. But in between their series of Austen-like misunderstandings and learning to appreciate each other, I believe there is enough political intrigue, fight scenes, and creepy local fauna to keep most readers who dislike romance happy.

Bujold does UST very well. It practically crackles up from the page at times.

I enjoyed the way the supporting characters see our leads; their ages and looks especially. My favourite part of the book was when Cordelia returned to Beta Colony and how she coped (or doesn’t cope) with her fellow Betans’ opinion of Aral.

The ending of the book is not only satisfying, it’s also completely intriguing, and made me straight away purchase the next book to find out what would happen. This is how all books of series should be!

(Now, I have to add I’ve gone onto Barrayar, the seventh book published in the series, but the book set second chronologically. The reading order of this series is also a hotly debated subject too, it seems, with the author herself coming out and weighing in on the subject!)

Overall, I loved this book. Just proves my friend was right after all. 5/5