My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Vorkosigan books are another of the iconic series in science fiction that I somehow never got around to reading. I have been trying to discover some of those books and to catch up with them a little. When I looked at the Vorkosigan series, it was a bit daunting to figure out where to start. I suppose that’s a problem with a series that is essentially complete. While trying to decide, I found several recommendations to start with this one, since it focuses on Miles. And I found it available as an audiobook, so I jumped in.
The Warrior’s Apprentice begins with Miles Vorkosigan, son of Aral Vorkosigan and Cordelia Naismith, at seventeen and beginning officer’s training in the Barrayar military. He suffers from dwarfism and brittle bones brought on by poison gas used in an assassination attempt on his parents before he was born. Because of his disability, he breaks both legs on an obstacle course and thus ends his officer training. He decides to go visit his grandmother Naismith on Beta Colony. Along with him are his bodyguard, Sergeant Bothari, and Bothari’s daughter, Elena. It doesn’t take long for Miles to get involved with a washed-out starship pilot, purchasing a ship with money he doesn’t have, and ending up with a crew of mercenaries out for adventure.
I like Miles. He’s a bit of an odd main character for a military scifi story. He’s not strong and rugged. He’s short and has real physical limitations. But he has a knack for military strategy, an almost perfect memory, and a quick and brilliant mind. He comes up with the solution to every problem, sure, but not without a bit of flailing about and panic. It’s fun to watch.
Other characters are nicely rounded, as well. Elena starts out wanting to find information and perhaps the burial site of her mother, who her father refuses to talk about. What she finds changes not only her relationship to her father, but her own self-image, as well. Bothari is complex and has a history that not even Miles, who has known the sergeant closely for seventeen years, knows. Secondary characters are just as interesting and are rarely static, moving forward and changing along with the story.
The writing is fast-paced and action scenes are never far apart, which fits well with the military scifi genre. The plot is well constructed, and any issues in it were never enough to stop my enjoying the read.
Fans of military scifi, protagonists who are smart and cunning, and just a good scifi story will enjoy this one. I know I plan to look up more in the series.
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The Demon’s in the Details, the third story in my urban fantasy series the Yo-Yo Files is now available.
Urban fantasy like the above not your thing? Well, I have science fiction and more traditional fantasy stories available, as well. Look here for all the deets on the above series and the rest of my published stories.