📚 Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold

36/2024 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Complex in both story and character, this becomes an excellent exploration of the differing personalities of the Vorkosigan brothers in the midst of military adventure and political maneuvering. As with the rest of the series, it’s Bujold’s ability to craft realistically flawed characters, some in very serious ways, while still making them relatable, believable, and often quite funny, that really makes these stand out. Though most of the books in the series are written to be readable on their own, this is one where I’d definitely recommend reading earlier books first.

Me holding Mirror Dance

📚 Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold

30/2024 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Collects three in-universe novellas with a bit of a framing story. Of the three, the third was the best, then the first, and the last was the weakest. Admittedly, that analysis is definitely affected by modern biases; the middle story’s approach to going beyond the gender binary, while likely progressive at the time, is very dated by today’s standards, and there’s a consensual intimate relationship that involves a somewhat eyebrow-raising age issue. That said, all three are still enjoyable additions to the Vorkosigan saga.

Me holding Borders of Infinity

📚 Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold

28/2024 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A bit of a deviation from the main thread of the Vorkosigan , but still related (similar to how Rogue One is “A Star Wars Story”). Bujold continues to demonstrate a gift for creating flawed but endearing characters and dropping them into situations both amusing and adventurous. And while I wouldn’t have expected much from a sheltered, naïve, gay obstetrician who’s never met a woman in his life before venturing off-planet, title character Ethan makes for a very entertaining protagonist.

Me holding Ethan of Athos

📚 The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold

54/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Miles’s adventures continue, with all the twists, fun characters, double-crosses, and humor that make this series so enjoyable. The adventure is fun, but it really is the characters and how they relate to each other that impress the most. Four books in, and so far the only disappointment is that I didn’t find this series earlier.

Me holding The Vor Game

📚 The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold

53/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This series continues to surprise and satisfy me. Lots of adventure that’s somehow both ridiculously improbable and entirely believable within the story, and characters that feel much more real than in many other books. There’s an underlying humor throughout, but also manages to handle resolving one troubled character’s fate in a way that respects their past and the present they had built. I’m increasingly glad my Hugo reading project started me reading these books.

Me holding The Warrior's Apprentice

📚 Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold

46/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Really good continuation of the story from Shards of Honor, even beginning the day after the earlier book ended. Bujold manages to create fascinating, sometimes relatable, and often very flawed characters, and to craft a world that’s an interesting mix of almost medieval feudalism and future technology. For a series I didn’t know anything about and initially approached with a little skepticism, I’m definitely understanding why it got the awards and the good words it has from many of my friends.

Me holding Barrayar

📚 Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

45/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

More interesting than I’d expected it to be, given that neither military nor romance are among my generally preferred SF genres. Bujold’s characters are interesting, making even the “captive falls for noble captor” scenario more workable than it might have been, though there were definitely still moments that didn’t really work for me. And there was an unexpected coda, unconnected from the main plotline and characters, that was a neat way to end the book.

Me holding Shards of Honor