Top positive review
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An earlier look at Bujold's universe, and highly enjoyable
on July 7, 2003
There are those who consider this below Bujold's usual standard, but I found it quite a fun novel with several highly sensitive sequences, and therefore give it five stars.
It is a story to relax and enjoy, not overly analyze. It takes place 200 years before the Vorkosigan stories, and follows Leo Graf, an engineer sent to the planet Rodeo to be a welding instructor to the genetically altered Quaddies.
He immediately discovers an attitude on the part of the administrators on the planet toward these mutated beings, but takes them as they are, a human species most of whom are still developing youngsters.
This is primarily an adventure story with well developed human and mutated human characters. There are tender scenes such as that between Silver who's deeply attuned to music and Madame Minchenko, the project physician's wife who also is deeply musically inclined. But there's also plenty of action, and the underlying plea for respect for all forms of life.
Read for enjoyment and I think you'll quite appreciate it.