Shards of Honor (Vorkosigan Saga, #1)
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Shards of Honor (Vorkosigan Saga in Publication order #1)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  11,910 ratings  ·  630 reviews
Shards of Honor is the novel in which Lois McMaster Bujold introduced the SF world to Barrayar and Aral Vorkosigan, Beta Colony and Cordelia Naismith. From this beginning the author has created a multi-generational saga spanning time as well as space. Bujold is generally recognized as the current exemplar of the character-based SF adventure story.
Hardcover, 239 pages
Published July 1st 2000 by Nesfa Press (first published June 1986)
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mark monday
Cordelia Naismith is the captain of an astronomical survey ship from the peaceful Beta Colony. Lord Aral Vorkosigan is the leader of a secret military mission from the warlike planet Barrayar. the title "Shards of Honor" no doubt refers to the small bits of honor that Aral must cling to as he finds himself a central figure in a massive undertaking that will sacrifice thousands of innocents for the greater good; it also may refer to the honor that Cordelia herself gains and loses and gains again...more
okay, so let me just say that i was totally dreading this book.

i promised some of the ladies in my online life that i would "read more fantasy" and this was suggested, even though this is more sci-fi/space opera to my untrained eyes, yeah?? i mean - where are my unicorns!? just one token unicorn will do!

this cover's got spaceships on it, and laser beams and futuristic clothing, and that is just not appealing to me, as a reader. i look at books like this, and i feel like the author probably will...more
Mar 18, 2011 Joel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joel by: Elizabeth
What happened? What are these sensible, mature adults doing in the middle of my space opera? Where are the hot-headed, brash heroes? Where is the sass-mouthed young princess? WHERE ARE THE ROBOTS AND ALIENS?

This is not your father's science-fiction novel. But it might be your mother's. I don't mean that in a sexist or dismissive way, but reading this book felt more like reading a romance than it did a sci-fi book. I don't mean a bodice-ripping (space bodice!) romance, but a realistic, measured a...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Be warned: the jacket blurb describes only a minor portion of the story.

My version, you ask?


Love in the background of space opera! Female captain leads research team investigating exotic planet. Expedition is attacked and a researcher is killed. Hostile man takes woman prisoner, and they fall in love while death-marching across alien planet. Alas! Woman and man are soon to be adversaries in an interstellar war, and are torn apart by loyalties to t...more
Jan 01, 2012 Tatiana rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: read Le Guin's "Four Ways to Forgiveness" instead
Maybe one is spoiled for sci-fi forever after reading Ursula K. Le Guin? Maybe Le Guin is as good as it gets? Because Lois McMaster Bujold is supposed to be one of the best sci-fi writers, Hugo-awarded, etc., and yet, I don't see anything of note in this sample of her work.

Shards of Honour is painfully reminiscent of Maria V. Snyder's later books (anything written after Poison Study really). In a way that this novel has a promising plot, but is suffocated by the superficiality and blandness of...more
Apr 03, 2010 new_user rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to new_user by: Sandra
I really enjoyed Shards of Honor. Though Lois McMaster Bujold's writing is a little more sparing with emotion than I generally enjoy, she's concise while eloquent and provides evidence for her claims. When she wants to convey that Lord Vorkosigan is honorable, she lets him demonstrate in deed or gesture, as I'm sure Vorkosigan would prefer. ;)

This first entry in the Vorkosigan Saga is unique among novels because both the plot and characters are strong. Shards begins as kind of a survivor romance...more
I read this in line for a ticket to Dragon*con last year. Thus began the Autumn When Miles Vorkosigan Ate My Brain.

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my FINISHING THE SERIES! list.

I loves me a good series! But I'm terrible for starting a new series before finishing my last - so this reading list is all about trying to close out those series I've got on the go.

Somehow, Shards of Honor didn’t hit the sweet...more
4.0 to 4.5 stars. This is the first book in the phenomenal Vorkosigan Saga and concerns the first meeting and ensuing relationship of Miles' parents, Aral Vorkosigan and Cordelia Naismith. I thought this was one of the more important installments in so far as it explores the mutual respect and love between Aral and Cordelia and provides some background on the extraordinary people so critical to the life of Miles Vorkosigan. Highly recommended for all fans of the Miles books.
I read this when it first came out & kept up with the series, but have now started listening to them as audio books in chronological order. In the Vorkosigan universe, this is the second novel (Dreamweaver's Dilemma, a short story is first, for now.) & takes place after Falling Free with entirely different characters & setting. This has the effect of putting two dots into the mural of a very interesting universe that Bujold eventually fills in over more than a dozen books & stori...more
David Sven
I would probably call this Space Opera lite. I mean it is set in the far future where humans have colonised planets, have wormhole technology, and wage war with each other in space battleships. So there’s space battles, plenty of political intrigue, as well as encounters on strange planets with strange animals, like aerial jellyfish that will suck your face off as it feeds on your blood. But ultimately, all that is mere background and props for what is essentially a love story between two people...more
I listened to the Blackstone Audio app. The narration is decent, but not outstanding. A pleasant male voice, probably a baritone. Given the 3rd-person POV was mainly the heroine's, a female voice would have served better, IMO.

3.5 stars for this space opera / romance, written under the guise of sci-fi, even though there is very little scientific innovation beyond the odd species in the opening chapters -- big bloodsucking balloon-like creatures, and some novel carnivores and herbivores. Of cours...more
Honestly, I'm fairly new to the world of Sci Fi, although I'm a huge Fantasy fan (why are these two so often lumped together? They're completely different genres!). Strangely, I've been more into Sci Fi on the screen than in books - Star Trek, Farscape, etc. So I decided to try out the Vorkosigan Saga because it seems like a pretty big one, and one that's not hardcore because I don't know if I'm ready for that.

I'm still not sure what I think. This was a decent start to a long series. It took so...more
I have to review this using my iPod, since my computer can't currently post reviews from my browsers, so pardon me if this is a little brief. I'll come back and add more, perhaps, when/if the bug is fixed.

I've been meaning to read Bujold's books for a while. Everyone has sung her praises, it seems -- though there hasn't been a reliable consensus on which book to start with, Cordelia or Miles, so I finally plumped for doing things chronologically. I'm told the later books are higher quality, but...more
First book in the Vorkosigan series. Cordelia Naismith, high-tech surveyer, meets and becomes romantically and politically entangled with a controversial military officer from the backward planet of Barrayar.

Hmm. First time through I found this book divertingly readable but ultimately clumsy. Second verse, same as the first. The romance interested me more this time, I think because I was in a better frame of mind to accept the way it happens in that sudden, regency romance way. I still winced wh...more
Count me as someone unashamed to read YA, but one of but one of the things I love best about this multi-planet, clashing cultures, space opera is that its main character is a mature, take-it-as-it-comes thirty-something not an excitable, inexperienced sixteen. Cordelia Naismith is the captain of a survey ship from the peaceable, democratic Beta Colony, where the climate is harsh and desert-like. Her expedition is attacked by a military group from the warlike Barrayar planet which is lush with ve...more
Jul 09, 2014 Laurel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
As usual, Lois McMaster Bujold has created a phenomenal work! I had started with Warrior's Apprentice, and was unsure I would want to go back and read about Miles' parents. I'm so glad I did. Their relationship is beautifully written, and the last chapter of the novel is simply genius! What a great book!

First read December 2010

Re-read March 2014
Ben Babcock
The Vorkosigan Saga is one of those series I’ve been meaning to read for a while. And, in fact, I read Cryoburn last year for the Hugo Awards voting. Going back to the beginning and reading the series in order has been a task long overdue, so let’s get this party started.

I love space opera. Technically speaking, Shards of Honour and its sequel, Barrayar, which I read in omnibus form, is probably more planetary romance. It is the first of a two part story of Cordelia Naismith falling in love not...more
Lois McMaster Bujold is an author I have been meaning to read for the longest time, she has won so many major sf awards it is clear that she must be some kind of major talent in the field. However it took me years and years to get around to picking up one off her books simply because the synopsis of her Vorkosigan series never seem all that interesting to me. Fortunately for me Lois has graciously decided to make most of her Vorkosigan books available for FREE in digital formats on her publisher...more
Charlie George
Far less well written than Bujold is capable of. Don't get me wrong, there were some fine character moments, especially early on, while Cordelia and Aral were first getting to know one another. But much of the latter half of the story felt meandering, as though she was trying to meet a contractual obligation or didn't know how to connect to later story elements.

I hate to say these things about such a fine author as Bujold, whose fantasy is truly outstanding for the genre. This book, on the othe...more
Chance Maree

I'm glad I didn't know this was a sci/fi space opera romance novel, for those are stories I'd normally avoid. The beginning hook worked quite well -- a team of survey scientists from a peaceful/liberal world are exploring native lifeforms on a new planet when they are attacked by foes from a military/dictator society. During a brief Survivor-like episode, the two main characters fall in love in a slow, back-burner simmering way with a thankful lack of bodice ripping and pec flexing. Flying vampi...more
Pamela Lloyd
Jun 10, 2008 Pamela Lloyd rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shards of Honor is Bujold's first published novel and the first in a long series of novels, if I can claim that it, along with Barrayar, are part of her Miles Vorkosigan series. (The main characters in these two novels are Miles' parents.) Generally, they fall into the category of space opera, but frankly, they transcend the genre.

I am rereading this book for the umpty-umph time. There are very few books, except those by Bujold, that I reread more than once or twice; many, of course, I never pi...more
Lilia Ford
Initial Reaction: Best Book Ever. 272 stars (with one subtracted due to lack of sex scenes.)

Added after finishing first five books in the series: Please forgive the review self-plagiarism, but the following applies to all the books I've read in the series. So here it is:

I think Bujold is the best Sci-Fi writer I've ever had the pleasure to read, NO QUESTION. I found no weaknesses here but I will put in a special word for her absolutely superlative plotting. I also deeply respected the author's...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Being a big fan of Lois McMaster Bujold's fantasy works, I recently decided to give her science fiction a try, starting with, of course, the first book of her Vorkosigan series Shards of Honor. It's most definitely a space opera if I've ever seen one, but I don't use that term pejoratively. I still think I prefer her fantasy, but this was great nonetheless.

As usual, Bujold shines at writing strong female protagonists, but I also very much enjoy the characterizations of her male leads. Aral Vork...more
The solid and pleasurable beginning of the Vorkosigan series of space opera novels. Aral and Cordelia end up getting marooned after his mutinous troops from semi-feudal world Barrayar attack her biological survey crew from the more liberal, enlightened Beta Colony. During their long dangerous trek to a supply cache, they come to respect each other’s adherence to honor, despite vast cultural differences. As they return to a situation where their planets engage in a politically manipulated war, th...more
My first reading of Bujold was enjoyable, but I have to say that there was nothing in it which really hooked me. The prose was clear and competent, but the two main characters, Cordelia Naismith and Aral Vorkosigan, never really came alive for me—Cordelia was just that little bit flat, and Vorkosigan was a little too much of a cipher. I am curious to see where she's going to go with this, though (since I am right in thinking that this is essentially a prequel to the major action of this universe...more
I've been considering the Vorkosigan saga for a while now, knowing how many people (whose book tastes I often share) adore these books, but somehow never really got around to actually reading it.

Anyway, I have now officially dipped my toes into the water, and enjoyed this first book a great deal (I'm sort of hovering between three and four stars but ultimately, going with Goodreads' ratings, it's just a little bit more of an enthusiastic "I liked it!" than a "I really liked it").

It does show, I...more
Speaking of Audiobooks Listening Challenge 2011- (Listen to a book some else chooses for you.)
2011 TBR Challenge
2011 Sci-Fi Romance Reading Challenge
Sci-Fi Romance Group- April Book of the Month

That's a lot of "reading challenge" birds to kill with this one book, and what a marvelous book it is. Bujold is a gifted writer and her skill at writing dialog is top-notch. If only more authors could write dialog that is natural-sounding, as well as witty and informative. In Bujold's books, the dial...more
After reading through lots of recommendations, I chose Shards of Honour to introduce me to the Space Opera genre. Now that I'm done with the book, I feel confident to say that I'm a fan of the genre.

Shards of Honour has a lot of political drama, which I would normally find boring, but because the characters are so entwined and affected by the politics, I can deal with it.

Although the whole Vorkosigan saga takes place on distant planets and involves space ships and wormholes, it doesn't feel like...more
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Flights of Fantasy: April 2014 - Sci-Fi: Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold 32 59 Apr 29, 2014 07:37PM  
Sci Fi Aficionados: Shards of Honour 43 91 Apr 25, 2014 10:20AM  
What book to read next? 4 75 Mar 17, 2014 11:40AM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: October Science Fiction Selection: Shards of Honor 20 58 Jan 01, 2014 05:44AM  
She-Geeks: The Vorkosigan Saga 11 34 Mar 14, 2013 10:28AM  
Goodreads Librari...: This book does not actually exist 4 53 Feb 18, 2013 08:19PM  
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One of the most respected writers in the field of speculative fiction, Lois McMaster Bujold burst on to the scene in 1986 with Shards of Honor, the first of her tremendously popular Vorkosigan Saga novels. She has received numerous accolades and prizes, including two Nebula Awards for Best Novel (Falling Free and Paladin of Souls), four Hugo Awards for Best Novel (Paladin of Souls, The Vor Game, B...more
More about Lois McMaster Bujold...
The Curse of Chalion (Chalion, #1) Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7) Paladin of Souls (Chalion, #2) The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2) The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga, #6)

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