Shards of Honour by Lois McMaster Bujold

Toby Frost

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Is that the bit where the Marquis de Sade suddenly turns up and is going to rape/dismember here out of nowhere? Yes, I thought that was cheesy, although really as a cheap gross out/rescue thing rather than a sexual fantasy.

I get the feeling that Shards of Honour must be much weaker than the later ones.
 

Jo Zebedee

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Is that the bit where the Marquis de Sade suddenly turns up and is going to rape/dismember here out of nowhere? Yes, I thought that was cheesy, although really as a cheap gross out/rescue thing rather than a sexual fantasy.

I get the feeling that Shards of Honour must be much weaker than the later ones.
I’d forgotten about that bit! As Silentroamer said above, rape is a feature on some storylines but she throws up a lot of ethical dilemmas around it. The earlier books are less mature in their consideration - later things become much more thoughtful
 

Toby Frost

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It was originally Star Trek fan fix between a ST Officer and a Klingon.
Really? That must be very early fanfic.

I don't find anything "offensive" - by which I really mean "morally wrong" - in there: it just feels crude and a bit naff because if it. The hero rescuing the heroine from the clutches of a dirty old man feels to me like the female equivalent of James Bond just randomly bumping into some model in a bikini who speaks only in bad innuendo: it's just there to get the protagonist closer to romance/sex that the story (and readers) requires.

To be honest, I'm inclined to cut this book a bit of slack, since it was an early novel and (I think) quite an early mixture of SF and romance.
 

Parson

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Brian most certainly not anything like "rape."

I find it the weakest of her books by a long margin because of the insta-love. In fact it put me off reading her for ages - now she’s my fav SO writer
Yikes! talk about different strokes and all that. This and "Falling Free" are the two books by Lois McMaster Bujold that I think most highly of and recommend strongly. After about the third? or fourth? Miles book I gave up on the series and mostly with her.
 

Jo Zebedee

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Brian most certainly not anything like "rape."



Yikes! talk about different strokes and all that. This and "Falling Free" are the two books by Lois McMaster Bujold that I think most highly of and recommend strongly. After about the third? or fourth? Miles book I gave up on the series and mostly with her.
The first Miles books are meh but once Brothers in Arms and Mirror Dance are read it is explosively good for the next books - but only if you like that kind of thing. Falling Free was a miss for me :)
 

psikeyhackr

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However, the SF elements in the story are relatively weak. I've posted a full review on my blog.
Yeah, the first third of the story is really pedestrian, lots of walking around.

Bujold is American, it is "HONOR" get that French influence out of here. LOL

It is Barrayar that is really impressive.
 

Brian G Turner

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The part I mean is that after Cordelia "escaped" Vorkosigan's ship after their planet-side meeting, the story suddenly jumps forward 6 months - she attempts to run a Barryan blockade, gets captured, and ends up tied down naked in front of one of Vorkosigan's moustache-twirling enemies, who then gives one of Vorkosigan's officers the chance to rape her while he watches.

As long as that's going to go nowhere then I'll pick it back up.

rape is a feature on some storylines
If it's a background detail I can handle that, but I resolved a while back to put down any novel that shows rape. So if this series is going to do that at any point let me know so I can ensure I stop before it!
 

Jo Zebedee

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The part I mean is that after Cordelia "escaped" Vorkosigan's ship after their planet-side meeting, the story suddenly jumps forward 6 months - she attempts to run a Barryan blockade, gets captured, and ends up tied down naked in front of one of Vorkosigan's moustache-twirling enemies, who then gives one of Vorkosigan's officers the chance to rape her while he watches.

As long as that's going to go nowhere then I'll pick it back up.



If it's a background detail I can handle that, but I resolved a while back to put down any novel that shows rape. So if this series is going to do that at any point let me know so I can ensure I stop before it!
As SilentRoamer said - Mirrordance teeters at the edge but it’s still mostly implied. And it’s not exactly rape.
 

psikeyhackr

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I consider the Star Rating system that us usually used to be problematic because it has only 401 possibilities, 1.00 to 5.00. I have come up with a different equation for that same data.

Shards of Honor 4.12 > 41.76
SF density 0.509; Fantasy density of 0.058

Barrayar 4.31 > 152.16
SF density 0.425; Fantasy density of 0.071

My system more than tripled Barrayars score over Shards.

The Warrior's Apprentice 4.29 > 162.06
SF density 0.628; Fantasy density of 0.061

The Vor Game 4.28 > 181.97
SF density 0.585; Fantasy density of 0.016

Komarr 4.29 > 292.44
SF density 0.847; Fantasy density of 0.018

Warrior's Apprentice and Komarr got the same star rating on Goodreads at the time I checked. Still the same now. My system rates Komarr significantly higher. My opinions of the books is in relative agreement. I didn't like WA that much though.
 

Toby Frost

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The problem I have with romance is that it's often so trope-driven. It's not enough to say that here are two interesting people who happen to fall in love in the course of the novel: he has to be stern and rugged and a bit arrogant but really tender underneath when he meets the right woman, and she has to be an independent woman in her own right but actually vulnerable and ready to be rescued... It just feels trite and I feel that good characters deserve better.
 

pyan

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Toby said:
he has to be stern and rugged and a bit arrogant but really tender underneath when he meets the right woman, and she has to be an independent woman in her own right but actually vulnerable and ready to be rescued.
I very, very rarely review books that I read, and this is one of the reasons why - I can hardly recognise the characters that I 'see' in this summing up of Cordelia and Aral.

I first read Shards in the combination volume of that and Barryar, Cordelia's Honor. I really think that it gives a much better, balanced view of the complex relationship between Aral and Cordelia than anything that can be taken from the somewhat truncated and abridged version that is the stand-alone Shards.
 

Toby Frost

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Good point, and I am probably being harsh there (although I think the general point stands with forcing characters into romance). It might be that Shards really ought to be read as a lead-in to Barryar. I didn't get to Barryar but it certainly sounds like it's worth looking into.
 

Brian G Turner

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Okay, I've finished Shards of Honor - an enjoyable and interesting space opera, mostly focused on the relationship between Cordelia and Aral, with most of the plot occurring as exposition.

There were some nice details and story developments, but nothing particularly insightful or profound, which was a surprise considering the reputation of this series.

It lost a star on my Goodreads review for the sexual threat scene, which seemed more like a gratuitous author fantasy than a character experience.

Anyway, I'll continue into Barrayar and see what that's like.
 
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