There are few books labeled "fantasy" that I enjoy: too many smug elves that live off of the ether and never have to take the garbage out or pull thorns out of their little green-tinged feet. However, since Lois McMaster Bujold is such an all-around fabulous writer, I figured I'd try this one even though there are no space ships involved.
It's good. Trust me.
Bujold manages the common problems of invented worlds with impressive grace: her world is unmistakably not ours, and yet we are not overwhelmed with excessive anthropological detail, ala Ursula K. LeGuin. Strong characters, lush writing, and a good, bouncing plot... it's not the kind of book that makes me look at my world differently, but I wouldn't mind visiting this world again.