Friday, February 15, 2013

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance - Lois McMaster Bujold

I practically inhaled Bujold's Vorkosigan saga when I first found out about it a couple years ago, so I was really excited when I found out she was writing a new book, especially when I discovered that it was going to star Ivan Vorpatril. Miles Vorkosigan had really gotten too powerful, and Cryoburn was a bit of a disappointment. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance was exactly what I was hoping for and then some.

To begin with, I love that this story stars Ivan actually being Ivan. I was really worried (especially given the title) that Ivan was going to have to step up and into Miles' shoes, presumably in order to rescue somebody. But instead, it is Ivan, thrust entirely unwilling into a situation he doesn't want to be in, bright enough to see all the implications, but not wanting to get involved unless he can possibly avoid it. Unless of course there's a pretty girl and a chance of getting laid.

The bit which made me incredibly happy, is the love story. I've been reading a lot of Georgette Heyer lately, and my favorite type of love story is the one where the couple gets married first and falls in love later. Ivan is the perfect candidate for this sort of story since he's been avoiding marriage so assiduously, but when he finds himself accidentally (and temporarily) married to Tej, he is totally happy - which shouldn't surprise anyone who has ever been happily married. A happy marriage is a very comfortable place, and Ivan likes being comfortable.

Then there's the bit of the story where Ivan has to step up and be the hero, because we all know that Ivan can and will be the hero when he is in a corner and has no choice in the matter. Simon is involved too, and he's mostly recovered from the loss of the memory chip, so getting to see his relationship with Lady Alys and with Ivan is a lot of fun. Also the Jewels...they're pretty cool. In fact Tej's whole family is pretty fascinating.

I laughed out loud at the end of the book when I read through the timeline plot summaries for each novel and hit the one sentence description for this one: "ImpSec. Headquarters suffers a problem with moles." It perfectly describes the part of the story which is going to impact the people of Barrayar, and yet manages to be entirely misleading. Awesome.

Jo Walton has a post up on about this which was fun to read, but I'm glad I held off until after I had read the book. It was so much fun going into this story not having any idea what might happen. I'm definitely hoping for another Ivan book though.

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