For a around two weeks, I’ve been reading Bujold’s Vorkosigan books like House pops/used to pop/once more pops/will have soon popped Vicodin. As such, the books are going to blur in my head in record time, and so I shall write down my impressions for all of posterity and post them here.
These are the Cordelia books. I’ll do the Miles ones I’ve read so far next.
Shards of Honor—The writing is shaky (it’s the first book in the series Bujold wrote, I think), but my happiness at having a strong female lead got me through the introductions. After that, I was hooked. I’m not usually one for romance, but the one in this book was unfraught with the usual repellant teenage-esque misunderstandings, love triangles, angst, and sparkly vampires, so it was all right. Also, although the characters fell head-over-heels for each other in a matter of days, you have to remember the extenuating circumstances. Trekking through hostile territory which is infected with hostile mutineers while herding a disabled underling tends to bring out dominant character traits, for better or for worse (hint: here, it was for the better). And I have to admit, Cordelia and Aral are pretty adorable together.
Barryer—I got a bit pissed at first, because my wonderful female protagonist got all preggers and domestic. She’s from Beta, a really forward and egalitarian planet, and she’s married a guy on Barrayar, a really sexist and backward planet. And she settled right into her role as housewife, and then spent part of the book being towed around on a horse through the woods while a usurper tried to claim the throne and all hell broke loose.
And she sat on a horse.
Later on she got her act together and devised a cunning plan to trick her pursuers into searching for her in a cave system she wasn’t actually hiding in, which was pretty awesome. Then she got a couple friends together to sneak into the capital and raid the palace for her uterine replicator (it was carrying her unborn child, and was being held hostage along with the five-ear-old emperor’s mother), during which she authorized one of her companions to kill the would-be usurper, then carried his head back to her husband’s headquarters as proof of what her little group had accomplished.
Totally badass, in other words.