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The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
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really liked it

Once again, the Vorkosigan saga gives me a book that is not about the big, deep, mind-blowing questions that I like to see in a five-star book -- rather, it gives me a fun book with more subtle characterization than you see in most sci-fi works.

This book is the first real introduction in the series to Miles, and I really appreciate the fact that although he is a teenager, the book doesn't make him a clear stand-in for the reader. While science fiction has a strong tradition of escape fantasies for isolated teens (e.g. Have Space Suit—Will Travel), the precocious adolescent is far too often the go-to character. Not in Bujold's books. Yes, Miles is a precocious teen, but he has a subtle character. In particular, we see in the book that many of his greatest strengths come from his people skills -- this is definitely not a portrait of a loner.

Anyway, it's an enjoyable read. If you're going to read the series, you're going to read this one, of course, and if you're not, you're not, so I don't expect a review to tip you one way or another.

Once again, the reading order is problematic. Lois McMaster Bujold suggests reading in internal chronological order rather than publication order. But here, some of the suspense derives from long-ago events, which are detailed in Barrayar. It was probably the right thing to do to read that one first, but I knew a lot more than was revealed in this book.

Further, I read Captain Vorpatril's Alliance out of order so I could vote in the Hugos (I put it second, behind 2312). Since Elena is a character in that book, I think I know what happens to her (though there are two Elenas, so there's a slim chance I may be wrong). Also, two character's deaths weren't entirely surprising, since they were referred to as dead in the later book, though of course I didn't know which book in which they had expired.

I am not entirely sad about having broken my book-order-reading rule, but this experience reminds me why I had it.

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Reading Progress

June 2, 2013 – Shelved
June 2, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
August 5, 2013 – Started Reading
August 7, 2013 – Finished Reading

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