Top positive review
A thoroughly entertaining romp
on April 18, 2007
The question which naturally arises in introducing new readers to an author who has produced a substantial body of work is, "Where to begin?" My own preference is to start off with Falling Free, which is the earliest book according to internal chronology, and also the first of Bujold's work which I encountered. However, for many fans, the best part of Bujold's writing is the character of Miles Naismith Vorkosigan, and so they prefer to begin with this one, which is where Miles gets his start. (He does appear, briefly, at the end of Cordelia's Honor, although it can be argued that he is a central figure in the entire book.) I can't say that I disapprove of such a choice, either. The Warrior's Apprentice is a thoroughly entertaining romp across the galaxy, and introduces us to Miles as a brilliant, charismatic, natural leader who gets into the most amazing scrapes in the process of attempting to extricate himself from previous scrapes.
I should take this opportunity to point out that the original cover gave an entirely false impression of the story. (The helpless, almost-clad heroine type clinging to the bared chest of the jut-jawed hero type are particularly hilarious if you know the real characters.) The cover of the reissue is much closer to capturing the tale.
One of the many things which appeal to me about Bujold's work is the way she can evoke such a wide variety of emotions without being sentimental or melodramatic. Sometimes, the line between sorrow and hilarity is almost too fine to see:
Mile exhaled carefully, faint with rage and reminded grief.
He does not know, he told himself. He cannot know...
"Ivan, one of these days somebody is going to pull out a
weapon and plug you, and you're going to die in bewilderment,
crying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"
"What did I say?" asked Ivan indignantly. (p. 250.)