Reading roundup 15/06/22

Welcome to this week’s Reading Roundup post. This was an unusual and rather extraordinary week of reading. First of all, I managed to finish three books without rushing. Secondly, I loved all of them and gave them all five stars (I am on a bit of a five star roll at the moment – lucky me!). Thirdly, all three were from the same series.

So, apologies if you are not a fan of:

  1. Science Fiction.
  2. Lois McMaster Bujold.
  3. Her Vorkosigan Saga.

Some of you may remember that I read her Fantasy series, World of the Five Gods, a couple of years ago. The books are so brilliant that I was left wondering why I hadn’t read much of her work before. Since then, I have been meaning to try her Vorkosigan books, but hadn’t got around to actually buying or borrowing them. Well, the other day I finally took the plunge and got started and all I can say is…

Wow by Erich Ferdinand on Flickr

Just one thing to note: like many long series, this one was not written in one long chronological arc. Bujold herself has listed the series in a reading order, and I am trying to follow that as far as possible. There is a prequel to the first book and I will read that when I feel like it!

Right, let’s get started with book 1…

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

OK, before I begin, yes these are the worst covers for a science fiction series that I have seen for a very long time. What were they thinking!

The first book of the saga, and the first written, is Bujold’s Shards of Honor. This is the, very short, blurb:

“When Cordelia Naismith and her survey crew are attacked by a renegade group from Barrayar, she is taken prisoner by Aral Vorkosigan, commander of the Barrayan ship that has been taken over by an ambitious and ruthless crew member. Aral and Cordelia survive countless mishaps while their mutual admiration and even stronger feelings emerge.”

Here is my review on Goodreads and I did make it one of my “favourites”:

Shards of Honour (Vorkosigan Saga, #1)Shards of Honour by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading Bujold’s Fantasy books, I have been meaning to start her Science Fiction. In fact, I have had this series at the back of my mind for years. Now, people are saying that this book is rather different to the rest of the series. I suppose I will eventually find that out for myself.

For a start, I really loved this book. The main characters were great and well-written. The fact that they weren’t the usual kind of hero and heroine – looks or age-wise – was more than merely interesting. The plot was unusual and exciting, with, perhaps, a little dip in the middle of the book. The final chapters set the reader up nicely for a sequel.

As I was reading the final chapter, I realised that I had just read it as a short story in the Federations collection a couple of weeks ago! How is that for a coincidence?

Oh, one negative. The design of the Kindle book cover is dire! What on Earth (or any other planet) has it got to do with the content?

Right, on to the next book…

View all my reviews

The next book continues Cordelia’s story…

Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold

This book, Barrayar, follows straight after Shards of Honor, although it is listed as Vorkosigan Saga #07. Confusing, eh? Anyway, here is the blurb and note the prestigious award!

“Cordelia Vorkosigan’s plans for a peaceful married life (after all the bloodshed and trials recounted in SHARDS OF HONOR) are shattered when a poison gas attack, intended for her husband Aral, leaves her ill and her unborn child damaged. Resisting enormous pressure to abort her son, Cordelia struggles to keep her unborn child–transferred to a uterine replicator–alive while thwarting plans by a ruthless opponent to murder the young emperor and assume absolute power over all of Barrayar. Once again Cordelia displays her courage and her remarkable combat and leadership skills. Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel.”

This is my response:

Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7)Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I followed the reading order advice, so jumped straight to this book. Once again, this was a superb read. The main characters, especially Cordelia, were really well-written. I do love strong, realistic but humanly flawed heroines!

The first part of the book was quite slow going, although still very readable, it then moved into an exciting and satisfying adventure. I enjoyed reading a book so clearly written by a woman. She brought issues that can only be experienced by a female to the fore, but not in a clumsy way.

I am now gripped totally by this series and have gone straight to the next book!

View all my reviews

I seem to have raced through these books so far! I became so absorbed that many of my usual activities were put on hold. Anyway, I also finished a third book in the series…

The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold

This book, The Warrior’s Apprentice (listed as Vorkosigan Saga #02), follows Miles Vorkosigan as a young man. This is one of the better blurbs that I could find:

“Between the seemingly impossible tasks of living up to his warrior-father’s legend and surmounting his own physical limitations, Miles Vorkosigan faces some truly daunting challenges.

Shortly after his arrival on Beta Colony, Miles unexpectedly finds himself the owner of an obsolete freighter and in more debt than he ever thought possible. Propelled by his manic “forward momentum,” the ever-inventive Miles creates a new identity for himself as the commander of his own mercenary fleet to obtain a lucrative cargo; a shipment of weapons destined for a dangerous warzone.”

This is my rather rave (or raving!?!) review on Goodreads:

The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2)The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, how I loved this book! Totally brilliant, imaginative, ingenious, clever and wryly humorous! Bujold is a genius and I can’t stop reading this series. As soon as I finish one, I have to buy and download the next.

Miles Vorkosigan is a well drawn and wonderful character with such unexpected abilities. I can’t wait to follow his adventures further!

View all my reviews

OK, I know that I have probably irritated quite a few regular readers of the blog by focusing on this series. And I must admit that I am presently reading the fourth book, The Vor Game. I will try to drag myself away after this one and read something else in time for next week’s post.

Well, I will try…

Until then: Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

📚📕📚📕📚

Image credits

Wow by Erich Ferdinand on Flickr, accessed 15/06/22

About The Librain

Retired School Librarian
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