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[personal profile] paradox_dragon
Cryoburn is the latest in Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series. It's character-driven SF, and I love it. The main character, Miles, has a range of disabilities as a result of being exposed to a teratogenic toxin in utero, including twisted and brittle bones for which he's had multiple corrective surgeries, and a very short and somewhat hunched stature. He also has a mostly-controlled seizure disorder as a result of some spoilery trauma that occurred a few books back. He's driven, manic at times, brilliant, with a genius for manipulating people (though usually with the best of intentions), loyal, devious, and possessed of a tendency to get so caught up in his own schemes that he starts buying his own bullshit. He's incredibly sympathetic and deeply flawed and he manages to be larger-than-life without seeming like a caricature or being too special for words.

The planet he lives on, Barrayar, is a pretty backwards monarchy supported by a military-aristocratic class of which Miles is a member, which causes no end of political issues for him and his family, especially considering that Barrayar is the kind of place where families often kill their infant children for being "muties." Miles is the worst person at keeping a low profile ever, so he's a constant headache for the Emperor (who is also his foster-brother of sorts) and his father, who is a military hero and a high-ranking politician-aristocrat. The earlier books in the series deal more with the social and political aspects of his disabilities and Barrayaran society. And also Miles's Awesome Adventures in Space. By the time of Cryoburn, Miles is pushing forty and he's pretty comfortable with himself and his position. Cryoburn takes place off Barrayar, on a planet called Kibou-Daini where cryogenics his taken on sinister aspects as corporations hoard the proxy votes of their frozen employees, and Miles inevitably gets involved in the intrigue. It's an interesting book, and Bujold is awesome at speculating about the social aspects of technological advances (one of my favorite things about her writing) and I really liked some of the new characters, but it's sort of removed from the familiar milieu of the series and I missed my old favorites (Cordelia! Ivan! ILU!). It wasn't exactly slow, but it lacked much of the drama I'm used to in the Vorkosigan novels--right up until the end, at which point Bujold delivered an incredibly spoilery gut-punch that has me dying for the next novel.

Bottom line: I enjoyed the book very much, but if you're interested in the series I wouldn't recommend jumping in with Cryoburn; it's worth it to find an earlier book or omnibus collection.


Reading Challenge Community: Disability


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