Top positive review
Strength of characters carries through a coincidental plot
on December 8, 2001
The Vor Game is the second book in the "Young Miles" collection, and it is the weaker of the two. It did manage to win the Hugo though, so it must have something going for it.
That something is the characters. Miles and the rest of them shine off the page. Miles gets into bad situation after bad situation, but his intelligence and quick thinking manage to get him out of it all the time. He starts out being assigned to a weather station in the arctic north of Barrayar. There, his independent streak rears its head again and moves him on to something else. More misadventures happen until Miles is going all over the sector of space dealing with crisis after crisis, each one usually being caused by his solution to the previous crisis.
What makes this the weaker book of the two is the huge number of coincidences that are required to move the plot forward. Miles gets lucky more than anything else, and some of the people he runs into he only does because the plot requires it. It's too bad, too, because I think the story would have been very strong even without all of them. When Miles meets one of the main villains, it strains credulity to the maximum. The person is somebody from Miles' past who happens to pop up again. It would have been different if this person would have been directly after Miles, because at least then the person would have a reason to show up. Unfortunately, that's not the case.
That being said, though, there is more great humour, more drama, and more space action to cover all of it the coincidences. It is a fun book to read, and it is a page-turner. You'll never be bored, and you'll never want to put it down. It's certainly worth a read, especially if you're going to be reading the whole series. It's not necessarily important to, though, as most of the books seem to be pretty self-contained (at least that's the idea I get).
If you can deal with the coincidences, then this is a great book to read. I heartily recommend it.