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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Book Review by C. Douglas Baker
The Warrior's Apprentice is a typical Miles Vorkosigan adventure. To those who are not familiar with Miles that last sentence may look like a derogatory comment. That could not be further from the truth. The Warrior's Apprentice is typical because it is a fast paced, seat of your pants, romp through the universe adventure with the...
Published on July 7 2004 by C. Baker

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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and superficial
Having just finished "Shards of Honor" and "Barrayar", I simply couldn't wait to pick up the first book in the Miles Vorkosigan series. Unfortunately for me, it seems Mrs. Bujold has shifted tones when going from Cordelia to her son Miles.
Where Cordelia's novels were sometimes funny, sometimes inclined to the romantic, but as a whole well-crafted...
Published on Feb. 17 2004 by Daniel Roy


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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, July 7 2004
By 
Book Review by C. Douglas Baker
The Warrior's Apprentice is a typical Miles Vorkosigan adventure. To those who are not familiar with Miles that last sentence may look like a derogatory comment. That could not be further from the truth. The Warrior's Apprentice is typical because it is a fast paced, seat of your pants, romp through the universe adventure with the eccentric Miles Vorkosigan. Bujold's entire cannon set in this universe merits high praise.
The Warrior's Apprentice finds Miles breaking his leg and being unable to complete his training in the Barrayan military academy. A deeply depressed Miles feels he has let his father and grandfather down and becomes inconsolable. His mother, Cordelia, sends him to Beta Colony hoping it will take his mind off his troubles at home. Once on Beta Colony the fun begins. Miles saves a deranged jumpship pilot from Betan security forces and in the process purchases a jumpship. He then offers to use his new found toy to deliver armaments to a warring planet in a dead-end worm hole nexus. The catch is he must break through an embargo being enforced by mercenaries on the other side of the worm hole. In the meantime Mile runs across a deserter from the Barrayan military who he decides to take along with him. Miles, accompanied by a mentally unstable jumpship pilot, a Barrayan deserter, Sergeant Bothari, Bothari's daughter Eleni, and the agent for whom Miles is working, Daum, breaks the blockade and become embroiled in a battle between mercenary fleets. Miles, using the ingenuity he is now well know for, finds himself the captain of the a rag-tag group of mercenaries who he eventually dubs the Dendarii Mercenaries.
Unfortunately for Miles, the act of creating a standing army of one's own is a capital offense on Barrayar and he must go face the Council of Counts. In an emotionally wrenching scene Miles' father attempts to protect him from these charges.
This short sketch of events masks both the humor and sadness that accompany Miles on his adventure. Bujold has the ability to elicit both laughter and sadness in her writing and she does both here. There are few writers of any genre who are as good at characterization as Bujold. Even peripheral characters take on a complicated psyche of their own. And the interaction between Miles and his father, Aral, are superbly written.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and superficial, Feb. 17 2004
By 
Daniel Roy "triseult" (Shanghai, China) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Having just finished "Shards of Honor" and "Barrayar", I simply couldn't wait to pick up the first book in the Miles Vorkosigan series. Unfortunately for me, it seems Mrs. Bujold has shifted tones when going from Cordelia to her son Miles.
Where Cordelia's novels were sometimes funny, sometimes inclined to the romantic, but as a whole well-crafted and dramatic, "The Warrior's Apprentice" feels more like a running joke. It seems Mrs. Bujold has decided she would show Miles is human by making him whine, cry, puke his guts out and tremble in fear most of the time, 'in aparté' for the reader. Oh, he also lusts after Elena a lot, and shows us his noble streak by going down the 'unrequited love' path. Bleh.
What is particularly irritating about the novel is the way things just fall in place conveniently for Miles. Miles' genius is that which comes forth in second-rate novels, where it is not so much the protagonist that is intelligent, but the rest of the Universe that is downright dumb. Miles recruits people by stuttering half-baked lies; he exposes imperial schemes by confronting admirals with his sharp wit; he outwits entire armies by concocting plans full of assumptions that his enemies conveniently fall into.
I realize this novel is intended as light reading, but so were "Shards of Honor" and "Barrayar". They were light reading, filled with drama, action and humor, and a certain dose of romance. "The Warrior's Apprentice" feels like a bad imitation of all that made the Cordelia books so great, and all the characters from these two books are here only as cardboard cutouts reminding us of the clichés at the heart of the vibrant characters we grew to love previously.
I wish Miles were more like his mother.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite of the series, Nov. 28 2002
I have now devoured all the books in this series (not in 'chronological' order) and I have to say that this one, the last that I read, is my favorite. It contains the humour and witty repartee that make all the books so enjoyable, but also has a dark side giving the work more substance.
Miles has failed - through his own fault, basically (he is usually more careful to circumvent his physical difficlties) - to pass the physical admission tests to the Military Academy and so is thwarted in achieving his only, and devoutly wished-for, ambition. He feels that the disappointment causes his grandfather's death and, depressed as all heck, flees to visit his grandmother Naismith in Beta Colony. Once there, however, he picks up a couple of'strays' and, taking responsibility for them, sets off on a crazy adventure ...picking up more 'strays' on the way. These 'strays' are molded, by sheer force of personality, into the Free Dendarii Mercenaries. It IS 'rip roaring adventure' but it is also about picking yourself up and getting on with your life and about taking responsibility for your actions whether or not you intended the consequences. It shows one of Miles' greatest (and, perhaps most endearing) talents; getting other people to overcome their handicaps and achieve their own full potential. I found it exciting and upbeat despite the dark side of the story and heartily recommend it.
While I may have enjoyed it more as the result of reading the other books, it is certainly 'stand alone' and it may well be that it will the book I recommend to Vorkosigan beginners to start on!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read this., Aug. 3 2002
By 
A. Trotter (New Hampshire) - See all my reviews
I'm getting tired of writing reviews about how absolutely perfectly wonderful these books are; there's like, twelve of them, and then there are books where they compiled two into one and gave it a different name... So just read the list below and go get the first book or books, and then go buy all the rest of them because you won't want to stop reading them, and annoy your friends because you miss what they were saying because you were too busy reading and didn't really want to go out Friday night anyways because you've still got another 3 books in the series to read.
Ok? Ok.
Shards of Honor
Barayar
(these two books are also combined into "Cordelia's Honor")
The Warrior's Apprentice
Short Story: The Mountains of Mourning
(all short stories are contained in "Borders of Infinity")
The Vor Game
Cetaganda
Ethan of Athos
Short Story: Labyrinth
Short Story: The Borders of Infinity
Brothers in Arms
The Borders of Infinity
Mirror Dance
Memory
Komarr
A Civil Campaign
Diplomatic Immunity
Now click on the bit where it says I was very helpful with this review, only it's a lie because I just got you hooked on something that's gonna take up a whole bunch of your time reading and make people think you're a complete geek when you want to do nothing but talk about how wonderful these books are.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Miles Books, Jan. 10 2002
By 
The reviewer who cautioned about the narcotic effect of the Miles series is right on target.
If you want to dive into the Miles adventures, start with this one---you can pick up the chronology later---and go forward in 'Miles time' from here.
Lois McMaster Bujold won awards for 'Shards of Honor','Falling Free' and a few others. 'Warrior's Apprentice' is her best 'cause it's got action, drama, comedy, intrigue, and full-bodied and multi-dimensional characters.
One of Ms. Bujold's most enjoyable talents is that she takes the art of witty dialogue out of the parlors and sitting rooms and puts it in outer space.
'Warrior's Apprenticee' is a great introduction for the uninitiated reader to the Miles Vorkosigan Series. I keep an extra copy on hand to give to a friend with the caveat that if they enjoy it, they should pass it on to another reader with the same requirement.
Beware the addiction that these books carry. If you like the first one, I encourage you to buy the next two in the chronology---that way you won't suffer too much withdrawal between books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent start!, Dec 5 2001
By 
David Roy (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
Yes, I know this wasn't the first book in the series, but it is the earliest chronologically in Miles life (not including the pre-Miles books about his parents). It is, however, my first exposure to this character and this universe after having read so many great things about it on rec.arts.sf.written. Was it everything it was cracked up to be?
It was, and then some. Miles is such a wonderful character, and Bujold really brings him to life. He is very flawed, but those flaws (and how he overcomes them) really make him interesting to read about. He is able to think on his feet and solve problems as they come up. Inevitably, these solutions lead to bigger problems, but he is able to solve those, too.
After being washed out of the Academy, Miles goes on a "vacation" of sorts to decide what he wants to do with his life. He is considered by some a "mutant" because of the way he was born. He has stunted growth and very brittle bones, because of an attack on his mother when he was still in the womb. These physical ailments are what cause him to be washed out.
Miles' big heart starts his troubles, as he goes from encounter to encounter, meeting people and helping them, even though this help leads to even bigger problems. At the end of all this, he finds himself in charge of a mercenary band and has to figure out 1) how to get himself out of this increasingly hairy situation, but also 2) how his actions have led to political problems for his family at home. The way Miles handles the situation makes for very entertaining reading.
Bujold really mixes comedy, drama, and a bit of tragedy into the book. She handles the transition very well. Her characters are all interesting people, with quirks and motivations that make you care about them. The tone is always light, but there is an undercurrent of tension that makes the book much more than a broad comedy. You'll laugh at some points, but there are some poignant moments as well. The "world" that Bujold has created is very intriguing, with lots of backstory colouring the tale without actually intruding.
This is a fine introduction to the Miles saga, and I know I will be reading the rest of the books to catch up on them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Miles kicks off, Aug. 23 2000
By 
Ivy (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
The Warrior's Apprentice is the third book in Vorkosigan series - if you're going by internal chronology - and the first book with Miles as the main character. Although Shards of Honor is excellent, and Barrayar is quite good, Warrior's Apprentice is where this series really takes flight.
Miles is one of the classic characters of modern SF - Bujold has created someone who is exceptional in many ways (brilliant strategist, painfully intelligent, lucky as hell) and who is still likeable, because she allows him to have flaws and weaknesses - quite a few of them, in fact. Unlike, for example, Honor Harrington in David Weber's series, Miles is fully three-dimensional, and such a fascinating guy that it would be interesting to read *anything* about him.
In Warrior's, Miles' character is still developing. He's on a trip to his mother's homeworld after failing the entrance exam for the Imperial Military Academy when he decides to intervene in a Betan police problem. This leads, inevitably, to his involvement in another system's civil war. Will Miles be able to hold together his fictious group of mercenaries, keep track of his prisoners, earn enough money to redeem his mortgaged land, win the girl, and get back to Beta Colony before his parents find out what he's doing? (He gets himself into situations like this all the time - that's Miles for you.)
In my opinion, the best Vorkosigan books are those that focus on character development rather than plot - ones like Shards of Honor, Warrior's Apprentice, and Memory. In these, the plot is still strong, but it is interwoven with the building of a new character or a new aspect of a familiar one, and that is where Bujold really shines.
If you're just starting out with Lois Bujold, Warrior's Apprentice is a good place to start, despite its chronological position. And if you haven't read this book yet, I envy you - you've got quite a treat in store.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Only for the fan, July 14 1998
By 
Glen Engel Cox (Columbus, Ohio) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Hypatia, the recommendation system of Alexandria Digital Literature, said I would like this book. As I had already found many books that I did like through the system, I tried it, but this one wasn't to my taste. Maybe in the future, when the system has 10s of thousands of patrons, the recommender will be right on, but for now, there's bound to be some things a little off. Why? With so few patrons, the number of books that have a large enough percentage of people who have read them is fairly small, so those few books that almost everyone has read (Tolkien, Shakespeare, Twain) will tend to rise to the top of everyone's recommendation list. Because the AlexLit clientele is decidedly SF oriented, this includes the favorites of the genre, such as Heinlein, Card, and, of course, Bujold.
The company of Heinlein and Card are apt for Bujold, for her style and plot are quite similar, if I can make generalizations based on one book. The Warrior's Apprentice is the "first" book about Miles Vorkosigan (I have to put first in quotes because on Bujold's timeline, she has actually written prequels which feature Miles' parents). Miles is your classic SF protagonist--a misunderstood young boy with a handicap who has a mind that can solve any problem. I call this the classic because a majority of the science fiction audience can easily project themselves onto Miles without difficulty (that demographic being young boys from 11 to 17, readers who likely excel at math or other problem solving areas, yet are inept at sports). I understand the pull; I was part of this demographic once. That is why I remember Heinlein fondly, because I read him at this particular time in my life. But this is also why I dislike Card's hugely popular Ender's Game and Bujold's equally popular Vorkosigan series, because I encountered them outside of that niche and thus recognized the obvious wish-fulfillment nature of the tales.
Aside from the simplistic plot structure, I continually stumbled on the poor prose. I realize that this was one of Bujold's first books, and she may have gotten to be a better writer in later volumes, but this was the particular one recommended to me. How bad is it? Let's look at some examples:
"That's right," Miles snarled. [pg. 5]
"That awful holovid," she glowered. [pg. 89]
"The last rate," Miles hissed. [pg. 199]
Try to hiss the words "the last rate." You can't. I doubt you can snarl "that's right," either, and don't even ask me how to glower words. These examples were picked by just opening the book at random--I could probably come up with many more in this vein. On style, things aren't much better. Most of the characters are little more than talking heads, who are necessary to pass information to Miles.
I can't continue. It was interesting to read one Bujold, to be able to discuss her with reason, rather than simply dismiss her out-of-hand. I'll put her over with Card; two writers who will continue to be popular, but who can safety be ignored by those wanting more than the Hardy Boys in space.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A space opera reminiscent of star wars, Jan. 16 1998
By 
Roarshak@aol.com (Fremont, California) - See all my reviews
An easy read that will make you feel good, but not very challenged. There is usually little doubt as to what will happen next, but the characters are interesting at times (even if they are somewhat cariacatured). The warlike Barryarans and peacenik Betans don't display much variety, but the character of Miles Vorkosigan is interesting to read in action. Lois Bujold gets better with her later novels about this strange universe set in a future where humans migrated to the stars as tribes and lost touch with each other for a time and then found each other again. The Barrayarans appear to be made to resemble the Soviets (warlike and totalitarian), while the Betans are Anglo-American democratic pacifists. All in all Bujold is a good writer (as she proves with some later adventures starring Miles), but here she appears to be experimenting and growing still. Not bad and not the best, but it's a better read than most other science fiction out there.
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4.0 out of 5 stars MILES FROM HOME, Oct. 11 2000
By 
Daniel S. "Daniel" (Geneva, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
Books after books, Lois McMaster Bujold is creating a unique world involving different planets coping with the same problems than we have today on planet Earth : wars, dictatures and struggles for the power. The inhabitants of Barrayar or Beta are extra-terrestrials but their preoccupations are very earthly so we can identify very easily with the heroes of Mrs Bujold. Even with Miles Vorkosigan and his strange complexion.
THE WARRIOR'S APPRENTICE , as in the other books of Mrs Bujold, is more a psychological study than a pure sci-fi book. That's not a critique, in fact I really appreciate this manner to translate in a far future our today problems. The author is obviously talented.
Once in a while, it's really a pleasure to read such books as THE WARRIOR'S APPRENTICE. They are not of the serious kind but you never have the feeling to lose your time by reading them. That's a compliment.
Recommended.
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