“Cryoburn”

Cryoburn is the reason there was no Wednesday post. Sorry.

Wednesday I finally had the opportunity to read Lois McMaster Bujold’s latest Miles Vorkosigan book, Cryoburn. It takes place after Diplomatic Immunity by approximately six years, and is set almost entirely off of Barrayar, save a few brief parts in the epilogue. I read the entire book in one sitting. Needless to say, I found it compelling and enjoyable. It was a fast-paced read, with no suitable breaking-off points where one could put the book down for a minute. The tension was a constant low simmer throughout, without peaking or plateauing at any point.

In this book, Miles travels to a hitherto unheard of corner of the wormhole-nexus, Kibou-daini on an investigatory mission from Emperor Gregor and his Empress. Naturally, being Miles, he gets sidetracked into other adventures which bring the Kibou culture into prominence. I admit that these days I can’t help looking for the author behind the story presented, and usually finding them. In this case, the commentary on corporation-dominated societies is rather clear, as is her view on the unhealthy effects of a society obsessed with death.

Interestingly, Cryoburn took the opportunity to explore secondary characters more thoroughly than usual, particularly Armsman Roic. His character development was quite thorough, with a significant portion of the book following his POV rather than Miles’. The style of the writing is Bujold’s typical light-heartedly amusing space-operaish sort that she developed with the Vorkosigan books, and that is never more clear in this book than in poor Roic’s exasperated (yet loyal) thoughts about his Lord.

The end of the book however, changed gears slightly, adopting a slightly melancholy tone which moved me nearly to tears (though of course that might merely have been the effect of the late hour). The epilogue of the book was a series of 100 word vignettes in the POV of each of the series’ many most important characters. Some have never had a POV before, others had, but overall it made a fitting end in this particular case. It also made me wonder if this is the end of the Vorkosigan timeline. There are certainly spots where Bujold could return to fill in gaps if she so desired, but there was a certain finality to this book which seemed to speak of series’ endings. I could be wrong of course.

Of course, none of the Vorkosigan books can compare with the hilarious awesomeness of A Civil Campaign but I still greatly enjoyed reading Cryoburn. It had plenty of standard Miles hijinks and humor, and I will undoubtedly read this one again.

Thought for the Week: “Only five days on this benighted world and already total strangers are trying to kill me.” Cryoburn by L.M. Bujold

Currently Reading: Dreamweaver’s Dilemma by Lois McMaster Bujold


Comments

“Cryoburn” — 4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Bujold's Cryoburn | Ex Libris Bookewyrme -- Topsy.com

  2. Color me underwhelmed. I felt like I’d met all the characters and all the plot twists, earlier and better, and adding a kid was about as good for the series as it was for Indiana Jones.

    If you want to read the full savaging it’s on my Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/132001396), but in short…meh. And the major plot shift in the last chapter sure as hell deserved more than a high school writing workshop prompt’s delicate handling.

    Grump.

  3. Hrm. I’m not surprised you were disappointed, knowing you. It certainly isn’t anything like any of her earlier Vorkosigan books (i.e. pre-Civil Campaign books). But I really did enjoy this one. I certainly don’t think it was similar to earlier plots really. Chris and I were talking the other day about it and he mentioned the “rescue the damsel” syndrome Miles always had, and how he had the same thing. But I don’t think he did at all in this one. Miles no longer wants to rescue the damsel. He just wants to do his job in his over-the-top sort of way and then get home.

    I may be having a different view on the final chapter mainly because I knew it was coming (I forget who spoiled it for me but…screw them. Grrr.) so I was expecting it. Maybe not though.

  4. Oh, I knew it was coming — Lois McMaster Bujold mentioned it on her blog some time ago. Something along the lines of the loss of a parent being the next logical change in Miles’s life. Which sort of give you the sense that it’s going to matter to the book, doesn’t it? Ah well.

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