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SERIES—List & Discussions > Miles Vorkosigan--THE WARRIOR'S APPRENTICE - initial thoughts *no spoilers*

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message 1: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
It's August 15th, so we're officially starting with book 3 of the Vorkosigan series, The Warrior's Apprentice. This topic is just to let us know if you're reading the book and give any initial impressions. No spoilers please! (I'll add some other topics later, or feel free to do so yourself - but make sure to put spoiler warnings.)

For the newer members of the group, there's a post with info about the series discussion here. Also, we're leaving the threads about Shards of Honour and Barrayar (books 1 and 2) open, so feel free to comment in those at any time.


message 2: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments This book has one of the finest kick off chapters ever, extremely well done. I felt invested in Miles right from the start. His vivid frustrations, extreme intelligence, and winsome personality torqued to driven effort - sublime plunge, for a reader, and an awed gasp, from the technical standpoint of the peer writer.

It read just as explosively well the second time.

This book, long back, was my first exposure to Bujold, and it catapulted her into the front ranks, as far as my favorites are concerned.

I realize now how deeply this book colored my appreciation for the earlier two books - that are not to this standard, but that filled in so much of the background of this book, I ate them up with the carryover enthusiasm.

It will be fun as heck to see what this group makes of this novel, so far as the people who started with Shards and have not encountered miles yet...


message 3: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 828 comments Janny wrote: "It will be fun as heck to see what this group makes of this novel, so far as the people who started with Shards and have not encountered miles yet..."

I'm excited to see what new readers think of Miles as well. I have to say he is one of my all time favorites. :)


message 4: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3218 comments Mod
I'm one of those new readers. I won't be starting this book for a while because I'm still in the middle of Mistborn The Final Empire. It will be hard to keep away from the discussion till then... and that's another of the many reasons I'm so glad we migrated our group to Goodreads. It's so easy to see which topics have new posts and to postpone reading some of them until the spoilers no longer will spoil things.


message 5: by DivaDiane (new)

DivaDiane | 176 comments I've started listening (!) to the W's A last week and am about 1/3 through. I will make a concerted effort to get through it as soon as possible. Only about 10 hours left to go...

I'm really enjoying it so far, and Miles is definitely an interesting character even at such a young age. I'm glad to have read Shards of Honor previously because I think the background info is important. I feel like I know Miles a little bit already and can understand his motivations.


message 6: by Staci (new)

Staci | 47 comments I read this book last year. I don't really remember much of the story. It was my first book in this series that I had read and I thought it was Ok, but it didn't make me want to go out and read the rest of the series. I'm going to read it again after I finishe Barrayar which I recently started (I'm a slow reader and have not been able to keep up with the pace of the discussions). I really enjoyed Shards of Honour and am enjoying Barrayar so far as well and think that having read those two books, will enjoy The Warrior's Apprentice more the second time around.


message 7: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (sisimka) This is my first encounter with Miles and I basically didn't put the book down until I was finished.

Warrior's Apprentice has a very different 'flavour' to the novels in Cordelia's Honor. As Janny put it, we kick right off with an irresistible first chapter. Despite initial misgivings, I grew to love Miles’ personality.

As I followed his adventure through the book, I laughed a lot, even while I was shaking my head and muttering, ‘but he’s only 17!’.

A really fun read.



message 8: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 828 comments Diane wrote: "I'm glad to have read Shards of Honor previously because I think the background info is important. I feel like I know Miles a little bit already and can understand his motivations."

The downside to reading in chronological order instead of publish order is that we loose a few surprises.


message 9: by DivaDiane (new)

DivaDiane | 176 comments Random wrote: The downside to reading in chronological order instead of publish order is that we loose a few surprises. "

I suppose, but we should remember that Bujold actually wrote most of Cordelia's Honor (Shards and part of Barrayar) as one book. And wasn't Shards of Honor printed first, then Warrior's Apprentice?




message 10: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 828 comments Diane wrote: "And wasn't Shards of Honor printed first, then Warrior's Apprentice?"

Warrior's Apprentice was published in 1986. Barrayar was published in 1992.


message 11: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (sisimka) In the edition I have, Cordelia's Honor, Bujold talks about how she intended Shards of Honor to be a longer story, but essentially truncated it, then used her leftover notes to write Barryar at a later point. Those first two novels were then published together as Cordelia's Honor.


message 12: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 828 comments Sisimka wrote: "In the edition I have, Cordelia's Honor, Bujold talks about how she intended Shards of Honor to be a longer story, but essentially truncated it, then used her leftover notes to write Barryar at a l..."

Whatever Bujold's intention or desire, the content in Barrayar was not published until after Warrior's Apprentice. I was just commenting that approaching the book without the knowledge of the other gives one a different point of view of the story. You discover things along with the characters instead of knowing it all before hand.


message 13: by Ken (new)

Ken (ogi8745) | 1348 comments Well, I have to say it took some arm twisting for me to pick this book up, after the disappointment that was Shards. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. This was a very good book. It was almost like a different writer wrote the book.



message 14: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 626 comments Just started reading the omnibus Young Miles last night. The first chapter was good. Nice to get reacquainted with some of the characters from Barrayar.


message 15: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Ken wrote: "Well, I have to say it took some arm twisting for me to pick this book up, after the disappointment that was Shards. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. This was a very good book. It was almo..."

That's great to hear, Ken. I'm glad you stuck with the series. This is one of a few series where I'm always afraid that people will give up because the first book or books aren't up to par with the rest of the series (see also, the Culture novels by Banks, Pratchett's Discworld series). I think it's fair to say that the rest of the Vorkosigan series ranges from good to great, with the exception of maybe one novel I'm not entirely crazy about.


message 16: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (sisimka) Although I loved reading this first book involving Miles, I really think I liked Shards of Honor and in particular, Barryar better. They're deeper. I do get the feeling that Miles is going to grow though and that a lot of the themes we've already talked about are going to continue through these novels, making them just a little more than light-hearted frolicking through space.


message 17: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3218 comments Mod
I was just going to get a taste of this book before going to bed and at 12:30 AM and 150 pages later, I finally told myself it was time to sleep! I was hooked in right away--Miles as an adolescent, with all his other issues, is a very intriguing character.


message 18: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 626 comments Me too! I've been reading it non-stop (until I passed out last night) since I started it yesterday.

It's such a fun read!


message 19: by William (new)

William (williamjm) It was about 6 or 7 years ago that I read it, but I also remember it being very hard to stop reading, even when it was late at night and I had to get up to go to University in the morning.




message 20: by DivaDiane (new)

DivaDiane | 176 comments Sisimka wrote: "Although I loved reading this first book involving Miles, I really think I liked Shards of Honor and in particular, Barryar better. They're deeper. "

I do believe I agree, Sisi. This one is a wonderful introduction to Miles, how he thinks, the things he does, but Cordelia's honor had more going on, in a way.




message 21: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Diane wrote: "Sisimka wrote: "Although I loved reading this first book involving Miles, I really think I liked Shards of Honor and in particular, Barryar better. They're deeper. "

I do believe I agree, Sisi. ..."


The themes and conflicts portrayed on Cordelia's honor were far more adult, far more complex, and far more reflective of moral ambivalance and conflict - how to make a right choice, and what is the right choice, when you must interface with a hidebound society fighting its old and new and uncomfortable with the change.

Miles' perspective was far more exuberant, far more elastic (morally) and much younger - so while the other book was deeper, with regard to maturity of viewpoint, if this book had tried to do that, I think the freshness of the story would have bogged. Miles is too young to have seen all the impacts with that degree of experienced awareness.

I found his wet-behind the ears, try anything today, don't worry about tomorrow (it is going to explode, but fix in the present) - his adolescent I CAN DO IT ALL, until he can't - suits the tone of this story perfectly.

One of the fun bits to this character is we get to see that inventive exuberance and the brash innovation mature with experience. He keeps is basic traits but they evolve with each book. A credit to Bujold - as so many series just "stick" the character in time - they never change attitude or get shifted by their experience. It's always the mark of a superior writer, to me, when you get to share the character's learning curve and see them emerge the wiser for their mistakes.


message 22: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (sisimka) You're right Janny. Bujold seems to have perfectly captured the ages and attitudes of her characters, as reflected in their stories and roles. Makes you realise how flat the characters are in other books!


message 23: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 828 comments Janny wrote: "One of the fun bits to this character is we get to see that inventive exuberance and the brash innovation mature with experience. He keeps is basic traits but they evolve with each book. A credit to Bujold - as so many series just "stick" the character in time - they never change attitude or get shifted by their experience."

I think this is why I like Bujold's work so much. She knows how to treat characters so they feel like real people.

This time around we got to see a young and inexperienced Miles. It is fun watching him mature but at the same time retain that certain insane spark. :)




message 24: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments Sisimka wrote: "You're right Janny. Bujold seems to have perfectly captured the ages and attitudes of her characters, as reflected in their stories and roles. Makes you realise how flat the characters are in oth..."

I can be an extremely demanding customer, in that regard. I don't care how much action there is to a story, or how fast a plot moves, or how innovative and clever and convergent its ideas, if the characters are not well developed and individual and emotionally fleshed out, their motivations just do not work for me.

My keeper books always have this sparkling quality. Bujold has been a sterling example of a keeper author, for me, for years.


message 25: by DivaDiane (new)

DivaDiane | 176 comments Miles' perspective was far more exuberant, far more elastic (morally) and much younger - so while the other book was deeper, with regard to maturity of viewpoint, if this book had tried to do that, I think the freshness of the story would have bogged. Miles is too young to have seen all the impacts with that degree of experienced awareness.


I hadn't really thought about that, but now that you mention it, Janny, that is exactly the case. And since I am experiencing this series for the first time, I now know that I have lots of great characterization to look forward to. It's the thing I really look for and appreciate in a novel, above and beyond the plot or action.




message 26: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) Sisimka wrote: "This is my first encounter with Miles and I basically didn't put the book down until I was finished."

I felt exactly the same way - other than having to go to work and dinnertime, once the little one was in bed I stayed up late each night reading it - started it Tuesday night and finished it last night (Wednesday.)

My only previous exposure to Miles was a short story I read many years ago, but I think he's shortly going to move up to my 'favorite characters' list - I love a clever character that solves problems with brains and not [just:] brawn.

I'm looking forward to watching his character grow and mature, without losing his inner-Miles spark!


message 27: by Barb (new)

Barb (barbtrek) | 40 comments I am a couple of chapters in and enjoying this so far.

I just finished Shards and Barrayar and I'm trying to imagine if I would be enjoying this book more or less if I hadn't already read those...

I did enjoy the first two books & I am looking forward to continuing. I can already tell that Miles is going to be a very unique and likable character!


message 28: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) I'm glad I read Shards/Barrayar first, because now I feel like I 'get' all the little comments and asides about Miles' mother and about Bothari...


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