Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shards of Honor by Lois McMasters Bujold

This month the AOM for my yahoo reading group pushed the edges of Romance and made me step into a realm I don’t typically read. There is a big difference between the sci-fi aspects of a book like Justin Davis’ Sky Pirate and Lois McMasters Bujold’s Vorkosigan series. One is focused on the romance and the other has the romance squeezed into the story.

Shards of Honor is not well known outside of the Sci-fi genre just because the books that followed quite overshadowed this one. It is better known as the first part of the omnibus that is Cordelia’s Honor. This installment tells the story of how the parents of Miles Vorkosigan (the hero of the series) met and fell in love.

Cordelia Naismith is commanding a scientific expedition from Beta Colony on a newly discovered planet when her team is attacked by Barrayarans. She finds herself captured by Aral Vorkosigan, better known as the Butcher of Komarr. She later discovers that the attack was mostly for his sake and that there is a plot to get rid of the honorable warrior.

Aral has molded himself from the environment he has lived in and has sharpened his teeth on the political intrigue that has surrounded his planet. He is a strategist and has no patient for those he perceives as weak. In Cordelia his assumptions are put to the test and his beliefs challenged when he discovers her strength and moral values, something unexpected among her race.

These two have been stranded on this new planet and without being able to trust anyone, they must rely on each other to get out of the dangerous situation they find themselves in. This trust serves as a foundation to the relationship they develop and need to survive, not just the trek to safety but the ensuing political plotting on both ends of their race (but mostly on Barrayar).

For such a short book it did hold quite a bang and a lot of things were squeezed into its pages. I think I need to re-read the book because even though I got the gist of it, I think I missed a bit. So many things kept going on and the time line of events kept jumping forward that it was hard to grasp how much time had elapsed between one event and the other. And yet the book was very satisfying, very engaging and opens you up to want to find out what else is going to happen.

Grade: B-
Format: Audiobook


dre said...

Shards of honor rocked!! :) I had to re-read it myself. I STRONGLY recommend you finish the rest of Cordelia's honor because it's such a great half to an action-packed shards of honor. :)

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