Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
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This is probably my favourite book so far in the Vorkosigan series; my major complaint with Bujold’s writing up to this point – her often dreadful lack of plausibility – is largely absent in this book as is, somewhat surprisingly, virtually any significant action. I would normally classify Bujold’s work as military science fiction with large doses of big action – battles and sundry other forms of fighting – all of which is largely absent here. Not, I would stress, to its detriment.

Miles is no longer in the military and no longer active in his role as Admiral Naismith. That would seem to remove the core of what all the Vorkosigan books have been up until now and may raise concerns with fans of her military science fiction writing but actually, for me at least, her writing has improved greatly by leaving those aspects behind. Instead Miles is now a diplomat investigator giving this story more of the feel of a detective story, albeit an investigation into a rebel crime rather than a civil one. I wouldn’t say the mystery side of it ranks up there with Christie or Conan Doyle – the nature of the crime was pretty obvious early on if not the nature of the final action – but it was a plausible and engaging plot.

The main downside of this story was one particular to me; Bujold’s inclination towards romance is much stronger here than it has been in previous books and I am not a great lover of romance books. By the end of the book I was finding Miles’ lovelorn fantasies more than a little tiresome. But that is very much a preference particular to me; I’m sure many other readers will love that aspect of the story.

In summary I found this book more plausible and Miles’ actions more mature (when he wasn’t mooning on about his frustrated love) than the earlier books in the series and consequently enjoyed it that much more than them.
 
Yes the ending of this one sort of lead me to expect that, but so long as the rest is good then I can live with it :D And Bujold's humour does seem to be getting better as the books roll on so I'll probably survive!
 

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