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The Warrior's Apprentice Hardcover – February 15, 2002
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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.
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.
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.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great summer reading. Fantastic adventure with quality characterization and writing. Highly recommended.Published 10 days ago by M. Rogers
We meet Miles and learn what a whirlwind really is. Ripping good stuff. Sadly we also say goodbye to a character we've learned to love as well.Published 15 days ago by J. Heivilin
This author is very talented, and deserves every success she's received for her writing. I recommend any book by this author, hands down. Read morePublished 1 month ago by No
Love the whole Vorkosigan series and this is the first of the Miles books.Published 1 month ago by B. E. Warne
I think the three stars are about taste in reading. I love the Koval series and the writing is just different. That said, I plan on reading the rest of this series.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I'm going to post the same review for the entire Vorkosigan saga. MANY years ago (shudder to think - we only had books made of paper) I was stuck at an airport with nothing to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by book guy
This is the introduction to the main thread ("Just Another Manic Miles' Day") to the Vorkosigan Saga, in which young Miles Vorkosigan messes up his life in numerous ways... Read morePublished 2 months ago by William Locke