Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2)
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Challenges - Discussion > Vorkosigan 3 -- The Warrior's Apprentice

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message 1: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3611 comments Mod
Here's a thread for the third book. Now the next question is--how are we counting these? Is Mountains or Mourning 4, or 3.5? I say 3.5

Note that the numbers we are assigning here are just for us.


Antti Värtö (andekn) | 727 comments 3.5 sounds right.


message 3: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3405 comments Mod
3.5 like the GR list.

and I plan to read it quite soon, after finishing re-read of Leviathan Wakes


message 4: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3405 comments Mod
I started it today. I assumed Miles will be even more disabled (and small) based on the final of Barrayar. The story so far is good even if once again I can see some plot-lines to happen (what will happen but not how)


Allan Phillips | 1861 comments Mod
I started Barrayar yesterday, got about 15% in. Then I needed a new audiobook and The Warrior's Apprentice came off hold, so I started that too. Had some time to listen and got about 20% in. Not sure what I'll finish first.


Corey Eiseman (toegristle) | 5 comments I’m starting Warrior’s Apprentice tonight finally, excited to be getting back to this world!


message 7: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3405 comments Mod
I finished it and even while clearly seeing Chekhov's guns at the start (view spoiler) I was surprised how it turned out


message 8: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3611 comments Mod
Z, I'm not understanding your comment about "Chekhov's guns." Elaborate, please?


message 9: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (last edited Jan 23, 2020 09:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3405 comments Mod
Kateblue wrote: "Z, I'm not understanding your comment about "Chekhov's guns." Elaborate, please?"

There is a famous saying by Anton Chekhov: "One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn't going to go off. It's wrong to make promises you don't mean to keep." In the usual interpretation this is a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary. So if one buys (view spoiler)


message 10: by Eva (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eva I think you should perhaps use spoiler tags. ;-) Are you faulting her for using good story-telling technique and establishing the existence of a space ship (view spoiler)


message 11: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3405 comments Mod
Spoilertags added, I tried to be not very revealing, thus hasn't used them initially.

I don't criticize author's choices it is just (view spoiler)..


Allan Phillips | 1861 comments Mod
After the excellent Barrayar, this one feels like a step down to me, more like Shards of Honor. Almost Python-esque in the way Miles comes up with unlikely ways of resolving situations, it reminded me a lot of Going Postal, February's group read that I finished on audio right before this one. Miles and its main character, Moist von Lipwig, are very similar, as you will see if you take on February's group read. Still, it's been entertaining but not really my favorite type of story. I'm not much on lighter fare and I hate uplifting books, movies and shows. Give me deep, dark drama anytime.


message 13: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3611 comments Mod
Allan wrote: "After the excellent Barrayar, this one feels like a step down to me, more like Shards of Honor. Almost Python-esque in the way Miles comes up with unlikely ways of resolving situations, it reminded..."

Yes, this book is Bujold's second and it is not as accomplished as Barrayar which won all the prizes. I think that's why it seems too light in comparison. Also, he's still a kid. He grows in later books


Allan Phillips | 1861 comments Mod
Finished this one tonight. It got better for me as it went but not up to the level of Barrayar. I think that audio is not the best way for me to read these. I do much better on audio with simpler plots - I get distracted too easily and lose the thread. I also squeezed in The Mountains of Mourning, which was excellent and deserving of its awards. Next up is The Vor Game.


Lee at ReadWriteWish (leeatreadwritewish) | 68 comments Just finished. It was almost a book of three parts for me. I liked the beginning, Miles's struggle to make it in the military and his subsequent failure. Then, the middle part where he becomes a mercenary I, like Allan, found a little confusing with too many characters and battles. I too was a little bored with this part of the book. The third part of the book, the focus of Barrayar and its politics again, brought me back around; I loved this part.

I instantly loved Miles. Who wouldn't? His inner thoughts especially are heartbreaking.

I still adored Aral and Cordelia. Perhaps this is why I disliked the middle part of the book. They were not featured. I also missed the other supporting characters of those books, Kou and Drou and Illyan who feature very briefly.

I do ramble on a bit about the theme of paternal love in this book in my review.


message 16: by Joe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joe Santoro | 194 comments I find I really want to post spoilers... there is much to discuss! But it seems people are not doing so yet, so I'll post some more general stuff.


I hadn't thought of it before, but 'Python-esque' is a perfect description of the action(nice job Allan!).. things just sorta dribble into place by accident alot.

and what kind of group of Mercenaries is that, that don't demand money for months on end, but still love their commander? Seems awfully idealistic.

There were far too many coincidences (especially the one HUGE one that even the character in the book thought was ridiculous).

I did like some of the mercenaries (especially Capt. Tung and the drunk pilot whose name escapes me at the moment).. I kinda want to change the channel and read about them and the wider universe instead of Miles to be honest.

Miles, yes, well, is it just me, or does he remind anyone else of Tyrion Lannister? Obviously there's the short thing, but it's much more than that... maybe that's just the best way to write a character that isn't physically imposing?

One last non-spoiler comment.. the copy I got from the library is 'Young Miles' while has Mountains of Morning and the next one... talk about the worst cover ever!


message 17: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3405 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "I find I really want to post spoilers... ."

You can do them using spoiler tags, like this (view spoiler)

re Cover - true, it is hideous


Lee at ReadWriteWish (leeatreadwritewish) | 68 comments Joe wrote: "I find I really want to post spoilers... there is much to discuss! But it seems people are not doing so yet, so I'll post some more general stuff.


I hadn't thought of it before, but 'Python-esque..."


Mods - do we really need spoilers on the individual book posts? I mean, I understand spoilers on the challenge post but these individual book ones, I think it should be up to members to only open them once they've read the book. Or is that just me?

These new covers are not too bad:

The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2) by Lois McMaster Bujold

But you're right, most LMB books have awful covers.

I thought that the mercenaries and their pay questions was there for comic relief but, you're right, they didn't seem very realistic.

Yes, I've thought of Tyrion more than once but then I sometimes think he's not quite that short. Sometimes I imagine Michael J Fox with a sloped back. LOL!

The pilot character almost reminded me of a Star Wars character; any number of them actually. I even wondered if his name of Mayhew might have been a shoutout to Peter Mayhew.


message 19: by Eva (last edited Feb 07, 2020 01:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eva Miles came long before Tyrion Lannister, so if anything Tyrion could remind you of him! ;-)


message 20: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3405 comments Mod
Eva wrote: "Miles came long before Tyrion Lannister, so if anything Tyrion could remind you of him! ;-)"

And the primary influence for Tyrion Lannister are two man Richard III of York and the Emperor Claudius


message 21: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3611 comments Mod
Lee wrote: "Mods - do we really need spoilers on the individual book posts? I mean, I understand spoilers on the challenge post but these individual book ones, I think it should be up to members to only open them once they've read the book. Or is that just me?.

I am not the person to ask about the spoilers because I have read these books several times. However, I do think if I read too many spoilers just out there in the middle of a discussion of a book I hadn't read, I would be annoyed, so at least type SPOILER really big above your spoiler, I guess. Any other opinions?


message 22: by Eva (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eva Some people also get these posts as emails or as notifications and would have to turn them off to avoid getting spoiled, so I'm for using spoiler tags - they're not hard to use and make sure that people's enjoyment isn't ruined.


message 23: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 3 stars

Art | 2549 comments Mod
Spoiler tags are really easy to use (view spoiler)


message 24: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3405 comments Mod
We can make a rule on spoilers for an individual book in multi-month long challenge that spoilers w/o spoiler tags are allowed one month after the stat of the thread. Or at least us SPOILER ALERT before the spoilers


message 25: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Feb 07, 2020 10:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3611 comments Mod
I agree that when someone is behind on a multi-month challenge that there is less of a spoiler problem for them, although I think a month might be too short.

I suggest spoiler tags if possible for now, or, second choice, SPOILER ALERT, but let's play it by ear. As I say, I'm not the person to decide for this challenge.

Problem, though, if I hadn't already read them, I would hate to read accidental spoilers because I hate previews (as I'm sure many of you have heard me say for the last two years!)

Hey! When exactly did Bryan create this group in 2018? February what? We should have a party!


I FINALLY learned how to post pictures! Everyone watch out!


Allan Phillips | 1861 comments Mod
I didn't think of it before, but Tyrion Lannister is a decent comparison. Tyrion seems much more seasoned and diabolical, where Miles doesn't plan as well but adapts to situational changes perfectly.


message 27: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3405 comments Mod
Allan wrote: "Tyrion seems much more seasoned and diabolical, "

This runs in the family. In Miles' life his family is paramount too, but with a positive sign.

Happy group anniversary, folks!


message 28: by J.W. (new) - rated it 5 stars

J.W. | 22 comments Okay this is another reread (the whole series is), but I love it even more the second time. This series is fantastic. Barrayar was transcendent. This one was great.


message 29: by Joe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joe Santoro | 194 comments On the comparison between Tyrion and Miles.... I definitely pictured Miles at first as more just shorter than average, but it was quickly made clear that's not the case. They specifically list his height at 4' 9'' somewhere (might have been in Mountains of Mourning). When reading Game of Thrones, that's sort of how I pictured him, too, but clearly the show has offered otherwise.

I'd actually say Miles is pretty 'diabolical' as well... I mean, he did defraud quite alot of people in this book, and it's not clear if he made it all right by the end.

(view spoiler)

That's why I wondered if Martin has ever mentioned this series.. it seems there could be a connection (though the common historical reference is also quite possible).

I guess the other part we'll stick with the spoiler tags

(view spoiler)

I'm taking it as a good sign that the book is inspiring me to want more stories, for sure :).


message 31: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3611 comments Mod
Thanks, Allan. Interesting list


message 32: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3405 comments Mod
re Bothari (view spoiler)


Lee at ReadWriteWish (leeatreadwritewish) | 68 comments Oleksandr wrote: "re Bothari."

You might be right. (view spoiler) I love Miles connection to Bothari which is portrayed in this installment, however. It might have been Miles's best moments in the book. That and his connection with his grandfather.


message 34: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3405 comments Mod
I think that Bujold tried to show that we may see different facets of the same person and be en-charmed or repulsed by them


message 35: by Joe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joe Santoro | 194 comments I hope fandom wasn't the motivation.... that's terrible if true. I want writers to be able to challenge us as readers with hard issues. I don't want things white washed, I was to SEE the bad stuff, so we can be sure to understand it and avoid it.

It's like reading old stuff...pull out a WWII era comic and you'll see Japanese that are literally yellow with buck teeth, and Africans with huge lips and crazy eyes. We need to know that stuff used to exist so we can see how terrible it is and we can understand and avoid it,

Bothari's story is one of redemption... he's supposed to make you uncomfortable (he makes everyone in the story uncomfortable as well). My main issue with that scene as that Miles should have seen it coming and not created it.


Antti Värtö (andekn) | 727 comments Finished. This was very different from Shards/Barrayar: this was much lighter, almost like a "rogue story" or picaresque. Your comparisons to Pratchett's Going Postal were pretty spot on, Miles and Moist are definitely quite similar in many aspects.

I liked the quick-tempoed pacing, the feeling that Miles is just digging his hole deeper and the whole thing will explode on his face at any moment. It made the book a real page-turner.

But I really disliked all the improbable coincidences: those that you have already discussed in the spoiler tags, but also (view spoiler)

I liked the fact that Miles had (view spoiler)


message 37: by Joe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joe Santoro | 194 comments I'm not sure I'd count that as a co-incidence... Miles but that point knew what was going on... I agree with you about trial though... some series that would have been a book all by itself... definitely too easy.

That seems a bit of a trend in this series, which is interesting. It seems LMB is simply writing the adventures she's interested in at the time, and not worrying about chronology. I bet that was a bit weird as the books were being released, but it's clear she had a plan, as there hasn't been any continuity issues I've noticed so far.


Antti Värtö (andekn) | 727 comments Joe wrote: "I hope fandom wasn't the motivation.... that's terrible if true."

Happily that isn't true: LMB had already written Warrior's Apprentice before the Shards of Honor was even published.

She tells in the Afterword in omnibus Young Miles that (view spoiler)


message 39: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kateblue | 3611 comments Mod
Interesting. I didn';t know she worked backwards from Bothari's death

You know we might be wanting to use spoiler tags for these discussions


message 40: by Kat (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kat | 8 comments It's true that this book was on the lighter side, but I actually liked Miles better as a viewpoint character than Cordelia. There's an anything-goes quality to him, due perhaps to youth and gender or perhaps to his particular way of dealing with disability, that makes him exciting to be around. I agree that the events were unrealistic, but not more than in the comics!


message 41: by Joe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joe Santoro | 194 comments Comics and realism are not usually friends... I do like my sci fi to at least be internally consistent. It was really the coincidences that were the issue, Miles taking over the company, while a bit unrealistic, at least made sense as the momentum was running.

That doesn't make it a bad story, though!


message 42: by Kat (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kat | 8 comments I think realism of character is more important to me than realism of incident, and LMB does well with that, I think. I tend to be more forgiving of coincidences in works like this one. I almost felt LMB was winking at the genre. I read a reference to this as a space opera, if so, it's definitely opera buffa (comic opera). :)


message 43: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new) - rated it 4 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3405 comments Mod
Kat wrote: "I almost felt LMB was winking at the genre. I read a reference to this as a space opera, if so, it's definitely opera buffa (comic opera). :)"

I agree. In the books so far she played with different tropes: survival on a hostile planet, political thriller, space opera, mystery, spy adventure...


message 44: by Nick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nick Imrie (nickimrie) | 137 comments I was procrastinating starting this book for the irrational reason that it's not about Cordelia - and I am still grieving that she's not the star of 16 books. However, we're still in the first couple of pages and I reach this:
"It's a little hard on me, you know," Kostolitz complained.
"Why? It hasn't got a thing to do with you. None of your business at all," Miles added pointedly.
"We're put in pairs to pace each other. How will I know how I'm doing?"
"Oh, don't feel you have to keep up with me," Miles purred.
Ok, now I love Miles, too!


message 45: by Kat (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kat | 8 comments Nick wrote: "I was procrastinating starting this book for the irrational reason that it's not about Cordelia - and I am still grieving that she's not the star of 16 books. However, we're still in the first coup..."

I know just how you feel.


Allan Phillips | 1861 comments Mod
I agree too. Cordelia is a great character, and she makes appearances, you wish she had her own books. I thought Miles would be something of a disappointment relative to her, but he grows on you quickly and isn’t at all!


message 47: by Nick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nick Imrie (nickimrie) | 137 comments I really love Bujold's ability to illustrate side characters with witty, deft little sketches. It's very Austenesque. Like:
The Count could be trusted to argue himself down, taking both parts, in a little time.
It's so perfect - doesn't it immediately evoke that cantankerous personality type?

She's also got that amazing economy of words when it comes to the difficult emotional parts of the book, like:
I've always thought of myself as an agnostic. It's only lately that I've come to - to need for men to have souls.
There's a whole philosophy of pain, humanity, hope, and humility packed into that little quote.
I think it's part of what makes these books so popular. Anyone who just wants an exciting space adventure can easily breeze over these little asides - but if your eyes are open for character development and depth, it's all there if you want it.


message 48: by Joe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joe Santoro | 194 comments I definitely agree the characters feel very real... that's certainly the strength of the series. And not just the main ones, but no one is just a trope of a set of powers and abilities, which is really nice.


message 49: by Nick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nick Imrie (nickimrie) | 137 comments I was absolutely blind-sided by (view spoiler)


message 50: by Joe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joe Santoro | 194 comments I agree! I was shocked, but it did work, which was nice. Something such things can be done for shock and don't make sense, but this worked very well.


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