Which Vorkosigan book to start with?

Brian G Turner

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Miles Vorkosigan seems to be the key character in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series, so I'd like to read the novels that feature him.

However, the first few books, Falling Free, Shards of Honour, and Barrayar, don't appear to feature him as a main character - he only seems to come up in the book descriptions for The Warriors Apprentice onwards.

Would I be missing out if I looked to start with The Warriors Apprentice? Do I need to start with one of the earlier books to understand context properly?
 
Not at all -- that's the way I generally recommend them. Falling Free is a side trip all its own, and Shards of Honor and Barrayar (combined into the book Cordelia's Honor) are the backstory, written after some of the Miles ones. You can absolutely start with Miles in The Warrior's Apprentice (combined with The Mountains of Mourning and The Vor Game in the book called Young Miles), and I consider that the best way to go. Once Miles has his hooks into you, you can go back at any time along the way and catch up on his parents and how Miles came to be. It's a very good book (or books), and I wouldn't let yourself be put off by the fact that Miles isn't exactly in it -- his parents are fantastic characters in their own right, and it's a great insight into the dynamics that come into play in the other books.
 
Have you gone all space opera on us, Brian? ;) :) I started with the Cordelia stories and it put me right of - now knowing the world better I love them.

You can start with Miles - the Warrior's Apprentice is good and work through them by order. Of them, I think Cetagandan is the weakest but it sets up events in later books so I'd bear with it. Once Mirror Dance and Brothers in Arms is reached, you sail through Memory into the Miles in love compendium, and those are the best five books in the series, imho.

Then, go back to Cordelia.

Oh, @TheDustyZebra - she has announced she's working on a new Cordelia book. Fangirl squeee.
 
Oooh, we finally get to find out what's been going on out there on Sergyar all this time? :)
 
I usually suggest Cordelia's Honor which is really Shards of Honor and Barrayar in one book.

The curious thing about the Vorkosigan series is how Bujold creates the culture and how the culture creates Miles. If anything the problem for me is that I did not find Warrior's Apprentice to be that good. It was one of her first books from 1986. It was Barrayar (1991) that got me hooked on the series. In fact the first half of Shards of Honor is rather pedestrian in my opinion. It is as though you can watch Bujold become a better writer.

psik
 
You should start with the first book that deals with the Vorkosigans, which is Shards of Honor.
 
I started with the Cordelia's Honor omnibus and, whilst I thought Shards of Honor was just okay, I thought Barrayar was brilliant. Knowing about Miles's background before he appeared in the series added a lot of depth, for me at least.
 
I started with the Cordelia's Honor omnibus and, whilst I thought Shards of Honor was just okay, I thought Barrayar was brilliant.

Exactly! The first half of SoH was very pedestrian. Must have been all of the walking.

psik
 
I really like the Vorkosigan series as easy to read, complex, page-turning space opera.
I started with Mirror Dance, which I thought was brilliant. However, the rest of the series is a different kettle of fish, and I don't think Mirror Dance is a good reflection of the style of the series. I really like all the books, but Mirror Dance has a depth and compexity that I don't think is present in the others. Consequently, I would and wouldn't recommend MD as a starting point; it's a great book, but it's not the rest of the series.
I would start chronologically, with Shards of Honor. But then, I like my history in date order.
ABS
 
I am definitely in the minority, but I thought the books went downhill after Shards of Honor and Barrayar, both of which I loved. Eventually I could no longer stand Miles and gave up on the series all together.
 
the books went downhill after Shards of Honor and Barrayar, both of which I loved. Eventually I could no longer stand Miles

That is interesting. Of course Miles is not in those stories.

Where in the series did you stop?

psik
 
I am definitely in the minority, but I thought the books went downhill after Shards of Honor and Barrayar, both of which I loved. Eventually I could no longer stand Miles and gave up on the series all together.
You might enjoy the latest one, then - Captain Jole and the Red Queen, which is centred on Cordelia. Very reflective and different from the Miles stories.
 
You might enjoy the latest one, then - Captain Jole and the Red Queen, which is centred on Cordelia. Very reflective and different from the Miles stories.

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance is not about Miles either.

psik
 

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