heidi's Reviews > Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold
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Jul 26, 12

bookshelves: ebook, scifi, romance, reviewed, wiscon
Read from July 16 to 17, 2012

I have been eagerly waiting for Ivan: His Book since I heard rumors about it over a year ago. I am glad it happened!

I was surprised and delighted to find that the skeleton of the plot was that chestnut of romances -- Constrained To Marry, Accidentally In Love. I often think that the sign of true mastery in a writer is whether they can take something that ought to seem tired and make it seem fresh and new and vibrant. Bujold has certainly done that here.

Ivan is minding his own business, as he so often is when these things happen, when his ne'er-do-well cousin intrudes on his orderly life. Through a series of Ivanesque circumstances, he ends up with a new Lady Vorpatril and her lady-companion on his hands. She is a refugee from internecine Jacksonian House politics, and it's the only thing he can think of in the moment.

The real excitement starts when he gets home. His mother is thrilled and baffled. His stepfather is wary. And his new bride is uncertain about what she's going to do now. Then the whole calculus gets upended again, Ivan gets called an idiot, and we have all moved into the most hilarious heist ever to be ripped from the future episodes of Leverage.

I was laughing to the point of tears by the 90% point of the book. I had to go read it where there was no one trying to sleep. And yet all that humor wraps up with the sweetest, most Ivanesque declaration of love you could ever hope for.

Also, there are some amazing touches, loving additions to the universe that are almost fanfic like in their devotion to detail, canon, and character. For example, the first time we see the foyer of Vorkosigan house in this book, I harumphed. It was all done in a mosaic garden. Pfeh. As we all know, it's black and white tile! But then Ekatarine explains that Cordelia had negative associations with the tile, and invited her to redo the foyer as part of making it her house as well as Cordelia's. That was amazing, and I am all fangirl about it. It is accurate to both characters, to the story, to everything.

Read if: You love Bujold, you are hoping for something with joy in it, you want more Ivan, Byerly, etc. And a HEIST.

Skip if: You were actually looking for the grimdark bits of Mirror Dance or something. If you wanted something post-Cryoburn.

Also read: A Deeper Season, which is an alternate-universe fanfic collection that diverges just before Komarr. It has a really excellent adult Ivan. That should hold you until this book is released in non-ARC format.
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Reading Progress

07/16/2012 page 178
45.0% "Oh IVAN."

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