Laura's Reviews > Memory

Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold
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's review
Mar 31, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: hero-s-journey, science-fiction, mystery
Read in March, 2011 , read count: 3

I think Bujold is showing off. The previous book is awesome space opera with great fight scenes. Also, violent sexual perversity, human trafficking, torture, and some truly disturbing things involving . . . . Yeah. Don’t want my name associated with it on a google search, come to think of it. I don’t think there’s a single fight scene in this whole book, except maybe when Miles has to extricate his dress boots from closet where a cat has had kittens. He spends much of the book in a depressed funk caused by loosing his heart’s desire, loosing imperial permission to be the little admiral Miles Naismith and sail beyond the sunset having wacky adventures. Poor guy, left with nothing except his likely position as third in line for the throne on a world where most people think he’s a dangerous mutant; fabulous wealth; and heavily armed men to take care of him. He drinks whole lot for a while there.

Like the guy said, though much is taken, much abides. Miles finds something to do. He finds a role. Not what he would have picked for himself, but something worth doing. As different as this book is from its predecessors, Miles is still Miles. Instead of Miles as cosmic adventurer, this is Miles as detective. Even without the huge sweeping awesome fight scenes, the conflict is still there. It’s just being fought in falsified paperwork and misdirection.

Ten books earlier, Miles’s father, on orders of the emperor, does something horrible to stop a worst horror. Then he goes home to drink heavily. Miles’s mother was a scientist and soldier on the other side who becomes tangled in the plot and ultimately defects to keep certain sacrifices from being in vain. 30 years later, Miles has an opportunity to get everything he ever wanted, on the cost of keeping a particular secret and letting a particular man be sacrificed. He chooses not too. It’s an interesting parallelism. For a series that started out space opera, it’s got some real moral nuance.
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