REVIEW SUMMARY: Oustanding, simply one of the best.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: These two books follow the character of Cordelia Naismith as she meets her husband and begins her life on a rival planet as a part of its aristocracy. The sci-fi isn’t the leading element here – the characters and plot are.
PROS: Great characters, really interesting plot and story arc
CONS: First book isn’t the award winner the second is, some of the secondary character names are too similar making it hard to keep them straight
BOTTOM LINE: I don’t think you can go wrong reading this book. I can’t wait to read more of the series – Bujold has three more Hugo award winners!
This book is the chronological beginning of Bujold’s space saga and a combination of two previously published works, Shards of Honor, and Barrayar. The later book won a Hugo award and it is easy to see why – this book is fantastic. The writing style is excellent, the characters interesting and believable, and the story is personal and epic. I can’t stress enough how well done this book is. The first book isn’t bad, but the second it just so good it clearly outshines the earlier work. Due to the vagaries of publishing while the first book was published later, it is the first part of the series and the first work Bujold wrote.
Bujold wrote in her afterward to the combined work that her main plot device was to think of the wrost possible situation for a character and put them there. I think that’s an interesting idea and she really pulls it off in this work.
On a side note, Bujold has to be one of the most awarded sci-fi authors in recent times. She has won 4 Hugo awards, two Nebula awards, and almost all of her works have been nominated for Hugo’s. She is good, I’ll give her that.