Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bujoldian fun

How to talk about a great book that might not match up to the knockout work of its predecessors? Eeeeeech. ? It's tricky. I mean "Cryoburn" is fun. The writing is smooth, Miles is manic as usual and the story keeps moving at a fine pace. Speaking of writing, in this volume of the Miles Vorkosigan saga, Louis McMaster Bujold flows from several points of view with ease- other authors try the same stuff and fall flat- not here. It's a bit annoying that with the stakes a bit lower than inter-planetary war, the story's level of tension doesn't ratchet up as high as some of Miles' earlier adventures. Miles seems comfortable in his Auditor role, so he's not struggling for the personal goals that drove him on for so long; this means the book has less emotional punch overall than earlier Vorkosigan books or the fantastic "Chalion" (rated at 41 Richmans). So this is not the best of the Vorkosigan books. I'm still going to re-read it down the road. I'll take something from Bujold that is less than perfect than the best efforts of a lot of other authors. And I'm ready for the next Miles Adventure- or anything else Lois writes next. "Cryoburn" gets 31.5/42 Richmans.

The motto on Vermont's liscense plates.

Where to start with "Live Free or Die" by John Ringo? It's been a long time since I read a book so chock full of creative sections and ideas, and yet at the same time lags and feels repetitive a few times. Like the end of Peter Jackson's film version of "Return of the King," there are many spots where one is sure things are going to wrap up, and then the story moves on again. The book is inventive, has a good sense of humor and a clear political message that keeps running through the narrative. There are plenty of surprises, including one far-fetched event that seems to have been dropped in from an old erotic stories posting on usenet (it has to do with blonds- don't worry, that won't spoil anything). Is it worth reading? Sure, if you are looking for a bit of creative adventure mixed humanity's first steps into the galaxy. I kept reading the thing to the end, if only to see how Ringo wrapped up the story. Tighter pacing would have made this far more difficult to put down. The uneven pacing threw me off, but the creativity drew me back.
24 out of 42 Richmans.