Sunday, April 06, 2008

"PG Wodehouse and Tolstoy"

Barrayar gets its one implausible thing out of the way early and suffers from adding another at the end unsanctioned. Our heroine has given up her life on her homeworld and travelled to the planet with which she has just fought a war and marries her one-time enemy. This isn't the implausible bit, really, because it actually happens in the book that precedes this one. The man she marries turns out to be a relative of the dying emperor and the one man said emperor trusts to be regent until his grandson comes of age and can ascend to the throne. No, we're still not there yet; that's from the previous book too. She and her new husband then decide that they're going to use this opportunity to overthrow hundreds of years of culture and change the ethical system on the planet to something more enlightened. Okay, it's a bit much, but I'll accept one stretch.

Later on, when she leads a commando raid into the heart of an enemy-occupied city, that's when it all gets to be too much. All things considered, it's not a bad book, though it ought to have been combined with the previous one (Shards of Honor) from the get-go. (It has since they were written, you can find it as Cordelia's Honor now.) The world (galaxy?) is well-crafted, there is a nice balance between the unexplainable and the credibly explained and the dialogue is reasonable. I'll keep going with the series for at least another book or two, especially since the character that's so popular with everyone was only just born at the end of this book. And it was much better than the next two sci-fi novels I read.

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Listening to: Kenny Wayne Shepherd - Live On - 13 - Where Was I?
via FoxyTunes