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The Flowers of Vashnoi

An Ekaterin Vorkosigan Novella
Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Series: Vorkosigan Saga (chronological), Book 14.1
Length: 2 hrs and 50 mins
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Still new to her duties as Lady Vorkosigan, Ekaterin is working together with expatriate scientist Enrique Borgos on a radical scheme to recover the lands of the Vashnoi exclusion zone, lingering radioactive legacy of the Cetagandan invasion of the planet Barrayar. When Enrique's experimental bioengineered creatures go missing, the pair discover that the zone still conceals deadly old secrets.

©2018 Lois McMaster Bujold (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Profile Image for IreneMBBT
  • IreneMBBT
  • 24-10-2018

Yay! A Vorkosigan novella

Loved this novella featuring Lady Ekaterin Vorkosigan, with Dr Enrique Borgos as side-kick. I’ve already read and reviewed the ebook a few weeks ago. I really hope Bujold is moved to write more in this world.
I love strong, intelligent women characters, which Bujold excels at writing. She also excels in strong plots and logic. I have all the audios of her books and have been acquiring any ebooks I’m missing. I’m always amazed at how much I underline or clip audio in her books because she makes so many good points.
Yes, I feel they are worth the time and money and I can recommend all her books, wholeheartedly.
I think Grover Gardner is one of the best narrators out there. Though I wish he had kept Enrique’s charming and funny accent.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • 15-11-2018

Dear Lois, please keep writing!

The only thing I found disappointing about this was that it is a novella rather than a novel.

And that's only because I wan't more, more, more. The story the author chose to tell fits perfectly into the novella form. It's neither to short nor to long to tell this story. I just want the story to keep going! And I hope that at some point, she does pick up on the beginning she's made here.

One of the joys of this novella was that it focuses on characters that haven't been focused on before. Ekaterin, Lady Vorkosigan, has of course, been an important character in several other books, but by the very nature of Miles Vorkosigan as a character, he pretty much always steals focus. Ekaterine was free to shine in this story. And while Enrique Bogos has always been presented as clearly insanely brilliant, he's also been (in context) more of a clown than anything else. Here we get to see a more fully fleshed out picture of him as a person in a way that doesn't in any way invalidate what we've seen of him in the past.


It's also a tiny slice of things. In a series that spans literal space empires, it was nice to have everything take place in a relatively small and intimate setting. It's one that not only fits into the universe Bujold has created, but actually fleshes out a part of it that has in many ways been central to the rest of the series without ever having been visited.

As always, Grover Gardner is supremely brilliant as a reader. Not only in his own right, but as an incredibly consistent voice of the whole Vorkosigan series. He doesn't disappoint in any way.

I wouldn't try to start the series with this story. No particular reason not to, but I'm not sure that without knowing the characters and the setting and why they're important, it would make nearly as much sense to a new listener unfamiliar with the series. For those who know and love the series, it's a delightful addition.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • KerPow
  • 18-12-2018

Skippable

As a fan of Komarr and Civil Campaign, I got excited to see a new Ekaterin story. Alas, while it was written well, with Bujold’s usual wit, I found it didn’t live up to my expectations. The plot felt predictable and too easily resolved (Ekaterin solved things on an individual level without addressing the larger societal problems). The story has obvious echoes of Mountains of Morning but suffers in comparison for it’s lack of depth. It feels like we meet the antagonist for what feels like five minutes yet Ekaterin gives her a Betan psychological rundown for her crimes that I feel like the author expects you to swallow whole. I personally felt like the goats had the same amount of character complexity as Ma whatsit.

I feel like I learned more about old count Piotr then Ekaterin. And Enrique’s character was kind of gutted. Not once did he refer to his bugs as his “girls”.

Mediocre Bujold is still Bujold, so still decent, but this one is just okay. I’d rather reread Mountains of Morning.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Carpria
  • 30-10-2018

Sweet

I love Miles and his family. Wonderful wit with words of wisdom. Must have read previous books to appreciate the story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ian
  • 24-10-2018

Beauty

Haunting. Funny. Touching. Insightful. In other words, typical excellent Lois. There is meaning on so many levels, and beauty in fractal scale, echoing down and up the story, characters, plot, and metanarrative of this work of prose poetry. The language and symbol is too packed with truth to call it anything else. I consent to this lie. This fiction is more true than many facts. And more factual than many beliefs.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Eideann
  • 06-05-2019

Nice Entry in the Saga

Progress is possible, even on Barrayar. I read the reviews here and seriously considered skipping this novella because of all the comparisons to Mountains of Mourning, with the clear implications that it's much the same story, which I found distressing since it's set 10-15 years later in time. However, while there is a similarity to the theme, this tale shows that life on Barrayar has indeed progressed past the heartbreaking situation Miles encountered in the village of Silvy Vale. I won't give too much detail, not wanting to spoil the story, but I can assure you, it is not a simple replay of Mountains of Mourning.

I also saw a review that complains that Ekaterin dealt with the problem on an individual level without addressing the society implications, and I'm sorry to say that I think the reviewer in this case is seeing something that isn't there. This tale doesn't demonstrate a societal problem in my opinion, or at least not a current one.

Now, there were a lot of complaints regarding the lack of personality displayed by Dr. Borgos, and I have to agree on that point. I, however, am not so sure that the problem lies with Bujold, or at least not wholly. I always enjoy Grover Gardner's narration, but this one caused me some difficulty as Dr. Borgos sounds just like everyone else in the story, which was a lot startling after the heavy Escobaran accent from his dialogue in A Civil Campaign. There wasn't even a hint of an accent, and I think that really took a lot away from the character. I honestly wish they'd go back and redo this audio with the accent back in place, because there were moments when I wasn't actually sure who was speaking when Dr. Borgos spoke, and that isn't usually a problem with Gardner's reading, and it was NEVER a problem in Civil Campaign.

Nevertheless, the story is excellent, and a good addition to the Vorkosigan saga.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew Explosion
  • 05-01-2019

Another satisfying side story

It’s another Vorkosigan novella. If you’re into that then you’ll probably be into this iteration as well. If you haven’t read the series, there are better places to start. That’s about all there is to it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryssa
  • 30-10-2018

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!!

A lovely visit with Ekaterine .Lois McMaster Bujold does what she always does by providing us with a charming, witty, hopeful and insightful story. Mr Gardener’s narration is delicious icing on the cake!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • F. Gokey
  • 24-10-2018

YAY

A welcome brief visit to Barrayar by my favorite author and narrator. Thanks to both!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Onerka
  • 27-11-2018

Well, the old Lois is back!

After gentleman Joe I was worried the Vorkosigan Saga had petered out for Lois. Although this is it short story, it was a joy to hear and gave me new hope the Vorkosigan Saga will continue in it’s old form other than the gentleman Joe direction.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful