Read Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold Online


The Warrior's Apprentice 1The Mountains of Mourning 373The Vor Game 465Author's Afterword 829IT ISN'T EASY, BEING VOR...Being a Vor lord on the war-torn planet Barrayar wasn't easy. Being an officer in Barrayar's military wasn't easy. And being the leader of a force of spaceborne mercenaries while maintaining a secret identity wasn't easy—in fact it should have been impossThe Warrior's Apprentice 1The Mountains of Mourning 373The Vor Game 465Author's Afterword 829IT ISN'T EASY, BEING VOR...Being a Vor lord on the war-torn planet Barrayar wasn't easy. Being an officer in Barrayar's military wasn't easy. And being the leader of a force of spaceborne mercenaries while maintaining a secret identity wasn't easy—in fact it should have been impossible, to say nothing of being a capital offense on Barrayar. Not that impossibility or great danger would slow down young Miles Vorkosigan much.The Warrior's Apprentice 1Discharged from the Barrarayan academy after flunking the physical, a discouraged Miles (17) takes possession of a jumpship and becomes the leader of a mercenary force that expands to a fleet of treasonous proportions.The Mountains of Mourning 373Miles (20) is sent to a small mountain village to investigate the murder of an infant, killed because she had a physical defect. Miles must deal with deep-seated prejudice against “mutants” and uncover the real killer in this novella that won both the Hugo Award and Nebula Award.The Vor Game 465 Miles (20s) faces enormous challenges in this Hugo Award-winning novel as he leads a mutiny against his military commander's criminal orders, rejoins his Dendarii mercenaries, and attempts to rescue Emperor Gregor after Barrayar's royal scion has run off straight into trouble....

Title : Young Miles
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780743436168
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 827 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Young Miles Reviews

  • Megan Baxter
    2018-12-30 05:14

    Do you know that moment when you realize you're in the hands of a master storyteller? It's relaxing, in a way, because all the tension about whether-this-will-be-a-good-book-or-not just drains out of you, and you can marinate in what's happening, confident that whatever comes will be worth the trip. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Conor
    2018-12-27 07:30

    After having previously read 2 novels and a novella in this series convoluted reading order (packaged together in Cordelia's Honour) I felt the series finally hit it's stride here as Miles Vorkosigan, the son of the previous novel's protagonists, took center stage. This collection had hints of a Bildungsroman as Mile's came of age as a young man and struggled with what he wanted to do with his life, and this struggle was greatly complicated by the fact that he is a crippled "mutant" in a militaristic society and by the shadow cast by his father, an immensely powerful military and political figure. As with the previous collection I was underwhelmed by Bujold's shallow world-building but engaged by the fast paced, exciting plot and extremely impressed by her ability to craw complex and sympathetic characters. The Warriors Apprentice - 5 stars Mountains of Mourning - 4 stars The Vor Game - 4 stars full review to come...

  • Jon
    2019-01-13 05:25

    4 stars

  • Mike
    2019-01-14 11:31

    Full Review at my blog.If I’m not mistaken Bujold ties Heinlein for the number of Hugo’s she has won. She is a diverse writer dabbling in both fantasy and science-fiction and managing to invest each genre with its own unique style. She is probably most well known Vorkosigan series featuring the energetic, and frequently trouble making Miles Vorkosigan.While the series properly begins in Cordelia’s Honor, Young Miles is the first book (or couple of books since it is rightly a collection) to feature the series’ most well known and titular hero. Born a mutant overly prone to fragility and sickness as a result of an attempt on his parent’s life Miles must make his way through the harsh militaristic society of Barrayar. A society that typically dealt with mutated children by killing them at birth.Cursed with a fast metabolism Miles is an energetic character whose mind suffers none of deformations that his body does. In fact it is his mind, and frequently his mouth, that gets him into trouble and it’s usually both that manage to extricate him from the same.

  • Tasha Turner
    2018-12-24 11:22

    I'm doing a reread of this series. Partly as a treat in-between Hugo reads this year and as a treat due to personal yuck going on. People following my reading will notice I'm also rereading Georgette Heyer. Their writing styles and topics as well as sense of humor comfort me. I believe my husband may have introduced me to both back in the early days before we were married. So now you should have a good idea of all the biases I'm bringing to this review.I love having a disabled protagonist who is frequently thwarted from plans by either his body or his mind and his privledged background making him incapable of behaving appropriately subordinate. This may be because I easily see myself in him. It includes a wide variety of well built characters. The world building is complex but at the same time I can picture it and even taste the smells. Young Miles touches on some really difficult topics but it also makes made me laugh. It has battle scenes, love, betrayal, friendship, loyalty, cruelty, violence, adventure, growing up, letting go, and so much more. It was a fairly quick easy read. I highly recommend the book and the author for both science fiction fans and regency romance readers (not that the books necessarily contain romance).

  • erforscherin
    2018-12-24 05:31

    I’m very late to the party, but I’m so glad I’ve finally discovered this series. Similar to the Liaden Universe books by Lee and Miller, the Vorkosigan Saga has been running for quite a while, with a good dozen-plus books to its name by now; and also like the Liaden series, it tends to focus on interpersonal relationships and political intrigue over endless space battles, which suits me just fine.The first novel in this set is a pretty good taste for what you’re getting into, being almost a heist novel in reverse: it’s the story of how Miles accidentally ended up commanding his own mercenary force, and the rapid snowballing of lies and half-truths and bluster into real consequences is manic and joyous (and, as it turns out, also a really nice remedy for anyone struggling with imposter syndrome at work — hello, friend!)The middle novella is interesting, and the third one’s a bit less coherent plot-wise, but overall I really like the ideas that Bujold is playing with, and I have a feeling the characters are going interesting places in the novels to come. I’m definitely on board for the next volume.

  • Michael
    2019-01-06 09:21

    Review from: BadelyngeFor someone who likes Science Fiction it might seem strange that I'm only recently acquainted with the irrepressible Miles Vorkosigan. Better late than never though. I've just burned my way through the first three books featuring the little guy. Maybe it is for the best though, because if I'd read them as they were being published then I wouldn't have been able to read them in chronological order, as some of the books filled in the gaps between previously published books. I'm a linear sort of bloke really. The first book is a roller coaster of a ride, that really gets going after Miles tells his first little untruth to resolve a situation. The fun starts when the little fib snowballs into a web of lies and half truths with Miles at the centre of an expanding net. I know, I shouldn't really try to get away with such an awful mixed metaphor.The second story, which is more of a novella than a book, ditches the space opera format in favour of a more thoughtful look at the roots of Barrayan society with Miles investigating a Murder in a back woods village. It won the Nebula award. Seeing Miles in such a different setting gives the author an opportunity to show Miles in a different light. It is well handled and the shorter format seems to have focused the author's storytelling and exploration of themes into a more cogent whole.The third book won a Hugo. Different again. The initial setting of the ice base was one that I was really enjoying. Just as you are getting used to the cold, Bujold pulls the rug out from under you again and we are off into the space opera driven rush of spiraling events, the eventual reunion with the Dendarii mercenaries and all those previously laid lies introduced in the first book. Very enjoyable, with no sense ever that the story is being padded, which is something that often happens to long running series. At the heart of it all though is the character of Miles. He's just a wonderful character. You can't really help but like him. If you could bottle his energy in liquid form I wouldn't drink anything else.

  • Ron
    2019-01-22 08:35

    3.5. Good stories, fun to read. No great insights or science.The weird part is that I'm sure I've read part of the third story, perhaps in an anthology.

  • rivka
    2019-01-04 07:32

    3.5 starsMountains of Mourning is awesome: 4.5 stars.The novels which precede and follow it are also fun, but lack Mountain's thematic and emotional resonance.

  • Tracy Smyth
    2019-01-02 11:36

    I am enjoying this series. You gotta love Miles - he is adorable

  • Stephanie
    2019-01-04 08:18

    This is an omnibus edition that contains full novels The Warrior’s Apprentice and The Vor Game and the short story The Mountains of Mourning. From the previous book to the beginning of Warrior’s Apprentice, Miles Vorkosigan has grown up (well he’s 18) and usurps the literary center stage from his parents.Miles is one of those characters it is hard not to be fascinated by. He is less than 4 ft tall and deformed with delicate bones that break at the slightest strain. He makes up for this physical deficiency by an enormous personality. He’s smart, quick-thinking, creative and cheeky. He’s the type of character I love to read about but who would make me feel small and stupid if I ever encountered his likeness in real life. And of course he’s the type of character that finds himself in the middle and often in charge of fantastic adventures. In The Warrior’s Apprentice, Miles has just failed the physical portion of his entrance exam into Barrayar’s Military Academy. As poor consolation, he is sent on a journey to his mother’s home planet of Beta colony. Miles heightened sensitivity to his weaknesses and how they isolate him leads him to try and redeem a couple of misfits he meets shortly after landing on Beta Colony. Through a convoluted set of circumstances, his attempts wind up putting him in charge of a fleet of mercenaries. It is fun watching Miles scheme his way through an increasingly desperate set of circumstances. The Vor Game begins with Miles anxiously awaiting his first assignment as an Ensign in the Barrayar military. According to the military brass, Miles’ biggest weakness is not his physical issues but his tendency towards insubordination. So he winds up as the weather officer in Barrayars most outposty of outposts and of course ends up joining a mutiny against the harsh commander of the station. After a period of boring desk job punishment he is sent off world as a spy with part of his mission being to re-connect with his troop of mercenaries. He does to spectacular effect. So much happens in this story that I found myself running across references to earlier happenings and wondering if that really happened in this part of the book and not in Warrior’s Apprentice.I can’t say I liked one of the novels included in this omnibus better than the other. Both had their slower boring bits. The best things about the books is Miles who is such a richly drawn character you can almost feel his anxiety, feel what it is like to be him. My one complaint might be that the books live a little too much in Miles’ head. Miles is so often playing a role, and while we the reader see the real him, the characters around him don’t and it keeps Miles and therefore the reader at a distance from the other characters. Even the characters he is meant to be very close to, we don’t really get to know. There are some lovely moments like Miles’ love interest and childhood friend Elena turning Miles’ proposal down because there is too much of him and he would subsume her. And the fact that we see Miles’, who takes charge because he can’t help himself and he’s brilliant at it, but who spends the whole time wishing he were somewhere else and developing stress ulcers. It brings him back down to earth. Overall really great – fast, fun read with some weight.

  • Chris
    2018-12-30 04:30

    Young Miles continues the story of Miles Vorkosigan. While these books were not written prior to Cordelia's Honor, they take place after. The stories do not take place one right after the other, but over a span of years.The best work in this omnibus was the novella "The Mountains of Mourning": however, are the books are at least enjoyable and fast paced space opera.Two of the stories, "Warrior's Apprentice" and "Vor Game" make use of coincidences that stretch, if not break, the realm of believability. I might be willing to believe that Elena's mother was one of the people to just pop up in "Warrior's Apprentice", but I find it extremely difficult, nay impossible, to swallow that an intelligent head of security would make so easy for the Emperor to just fall off of a balcony and walk away for a bit. Wouldn't the complex as a whole, and that level in particular, be watched?Another area where I found myself wishing Bujold has spent more time was in the development of minor characters. I would have liked to see more of Elena and more of Elena's relationship with Baz. I'm not really shown why she is loyal and in love with him, but I am told it, many times. In fact, this is true of most of the minor characters. Only four characters truly stand out, truly seem to be characters. They are Miles, his father Aral, his mother Cordelia, and Bothari. It is unclear if I found this to be the case because of reading Cordelia's Honor or if those characters were in fact better drawn. Regardless, many minor characters feel like little more than shadows upon a stage at times. This is in part due to the focus being on Miles, but it is a tad off putting.What I particularly liked was Bujold's treatment of Elena Visconti. Her reaction to both Bothari and Elena Jr was believable. Her inability to relate to the younger Elena seemed more realistic than being "Oh, my dear I love you". Is it pleasant reading? No, but it is not a cheap happy ending either. I don't know how I would feel if I was confronted with the child I conceived due to rape, who as an embryo had been taken from my body, and then over 18 years later I'm confronted with her as well as the man who raped me. My one complaint with that storyline is that it’s effect on Elena does not seem to be fully developed or revealed. The reader sees the effect far more on Miles, and true it is his story, but more detail here would’ve added more depth to Elena."The Mountain's of Mourning" is a far more serious novella than the two novels it is paired with here. It tells the story of Miles trying to solve a case of infanticide and deals with questions of guilty, education, and societal change. It is a more reflective piece.Of the two novels, "The Vor Game" is the slightly better one. With that novel, the first half of the story, involving Miles' assignment to an ice island, is the more interesting and better drafted story.

  • Alyssa Nelson
    2019-01-18 06:26

    This is easily one of my favorite books ever. Honestly, I didn't think it would be. My college roommate hyped it up like crazy, so when I finally got to reading it, I was expecting disappointment because it didn't seem like it was going to be as good as she promised.But it was.This particular edition consists of two novels and a short story that all revolve around a young man named Miles Vorkosigan who has a birth defect (not congenital, he frequently assures others) and because of that is fragile. His bones break under the smallest pressure and he's less than five feet tall. The problem is that he was born on a militant planet to a very important family. When he washes out of the military academy, he has to find his own path to greatness -- and find it he certainly does.What impressed me the most about this book (and the rest of the series) is the level of characterization. Firstly, I love Miles. He is practically a cripple, but he doesn't let that stop him, because while his body is weak, he is a genius. I appreciate that Bujold has created a character that doesn't go into situations and use his strength or extreme fighting prowess to save the day; instead, he thinks about solutions and launches schemes to achieve his goals.Secondly, all the characters are written in shades of grey; she shows the softer sides of rampaging killers and the darker sides of sheltered researchers. This is achieved through ingenious storytelling. With adventure, mystery, suspense, and plot twists that give you whiplash, I kept turning the pages and the characters kept evolving and growing. All this, combined with in-depth universe (not world) building and fascinating cultures, this book made me want more and more and more.And don't think it's all just running around and doing brave deeds -- though there is a lot of that -- Bujold adds a lot of humor to these books and I found myself laughing aloud quite often.I really can't recommend this book strongly enough. It's SO good! And I don't think it's just for science fiction fans; there is plenty of material for all kinds of readers to find something they like.Also posted on Going on to the Next.

  • Lisa (Harmonybites)
    2019-01-17 06:13

    This is an omnibus edition consisting of three tales. The first novel, "The Warrior's Apprentice," is where I officially fell in love with Miles, who sure isn't the usual square-jawed, bicep bulging sci-fi hero, and he's what made me go and seek out more of the series. It's rare I can say I fall in love with a character in a book, but I fell hard for Miles Vorkosigan, which is why this book gets five stars. Not because it's mind-expanding or has amazing prose--but because I loved the character so much. The first two books in the series, among the first things Bujold ever wrote, focus on Miles' parents--this is the one where he comes into his own. Miles is born a "Vor"--into an aristocratic family in a very traditional, military culture on the planet of Barrayar. That society had for a long time practiced infanticide--killing any child born in any way disabled. Due to an attack before he was born, Miles is short in stature and has various physical problems--particularly very brittle bones. His grandfather wanted him killed--in fact at a certain point tried to kill him. Miles has had to fight hard for a measure of acceptance in his society and worked hard to earn the right to enter the planet's military academy--but couldn't pass the final physical tests--and then proceeds to form a path his own.One could see there part of why I love Miles--not conventionally handsome, handicapped, someone who has to work so hard. But it's more than that. I've always had a weakness for the kind of character not only with gifts of leadership, but a certain kind of cleverness. Whether Homer's Odysseus, CS Forester's Horatio Hornblower or Roddenberry's Captain Kirk of Star Trek. Miles has that quality in abundance--of turning defeat into a fighting chance to survive. In the two novels that bookend this volume you'll find plenty of action--enough to satisfy any fan of space opera. But above all I liked how Miles thinks and talks his way out his problems.

  • Morgan McGuire
    2018-12-30 04:36

    If you're looking for trashy military sci-fi with a a free-wheeling, fun plot, you've come to the right place. If you're looking for a good sci-fi epic you'll be disappointed. This is no Ender's Game.(Spoilers ahead)Bujold is second only to Heinlein for Hugo Best Novel awards, and I have no idea why after reading this. It is a boy fantasy where everything goes right to build the headstrong underdog teen into a mercenary space admiral within one year (which Heinlein is guilty of frequently, but he at least writes better). There are only three female characters in the first two books who get more than two paragraphs: mom, the crush, and the rape victim. The plot was fun enough to keep me interested for two books despite adjective density, characters who look in the mirror on page 1, and expository dialogue. I couldn't stomach the infanticide-birth defect plot starting up book three and gave up there.

  • Kristen
    2019-01-07 04:21

    The books contained in this omnibus are a lot of fun. It is light reading and very easy to breeze through, heavy on dialogue and humor. There is a mixture of serious storytelling dealing with themes such as oppression and prejudice and light-hearted humor that provides a nice balance between the two.Miles is an enjoyable character - extremely bright and energetic with a strong mischievous streak. However, the other characters are definitely secondary as Miles always takes center stage with a shining personality that overshadows the rest. His name is in the series title, after all, so I suppose this is not all that surprising.Complete review:

  • Tamahome
    2019-01-05 07:14

    Read about 50 pages. It's written in a historical style. Sometimes I think it's a little slow but then something really dramatic happens (shades of Peter F. Hamilton), usually to Miles who has some physical challenges (oh that scene at boot camp). I think I'll at least finish the first novel in the omnibus, which is only 300-something pages. This is the first Miles book. But is it science fiction? Reminds me of David Weber; well, they're both Baen. I've tried to start other Bujold books, but this one seems to be sticking the best.Oh, apparently 'batman' has some older meaning. bat·man /ˈbatmən/Noun(in the British armed forces) An officer's personal servant.Synonymsorderly

  • Brendan
    2019-01-04 07:19

    An omnibus is always a gamble for me because I never know if I'm going to want to dive right in to the next book. In this case, I finished The Warrior's Apprentice, which is an awesome, rip-roaring adventure--really, it's paced like the best kind of old-time cliffhanger serial,where every success creates a new and bigger danger. I needed a change of pace before starting the next one, but I will be back for more.UPDATE: Finished it. "The Mountains of Mourning" is a fantastic little mystery, and The Vor Game is another nonstop action space opera with Miles getting into scrape after scrape and emerging through a combination of intelligence, brazenness, and luck. Loved it.

  • Katie M.
    2019-01-18 05:24

    Miles Vorkosigan is a fascinating, complex, and immensely likable protagonist. This book kept me up past my bedtime on several nights, not necessarily because it was too tense to put down (though the plot was fast moving and high stakes) but because I just enjoying the company of the characters and eager to see what adventure would come next. I often found myself laughing out loud, but the book doesn't neglect serious moral questions either. My only complaint is that it needed more Cordelia.

  • Julie
    2019-01-01 07:34

    It's been a LONG time since I've read decent Sci Fi! This somewhat reminds me of Ender's Game but it's definitely not a rip off. You can't help but root for the main character the whole way through. Looking forward to reading the other books in this series.Also, this is NOT the first omnibus of the series, but it is the first major introduction the main character throughout the rest. The first omnibus can be considered a prequel so it's fine to start here.

  • apple
    2019-01-03 04:31

    The first thing you notice about Miles is physically he's a very small person. The second thing is that a little bit of him goes a long, long way. What's not to love about scheming young Miles..he's always optimistic, funny, never fail to pull a rabbit out of a very unlikely hat..and so damn resilient! I got swept right away in Miles' forward momentum through the 3 books in this omnibus. The Vor Game kind of sagged in the middle but was fun nevertheless.

  • Jennifer
    2019-01-13 03:39

    This was completely fun. Miles would be totally insufferable as a main character if it wasn't for his constant awareness that he's about to fall flat on his face in the most humiliating fashion possible. That one trait makes him fun instead of an annoying know-it-all. I'm so glad I was turned onto Bujold.

  • Titus Fortner
    2019-01-13 05:38

    Absolutely fantastic. I love the characters and the machinations. It just flows very well, there's never a page where I'm not intently curious about what I'm going to find on the next. My one complaint would be that there are too many crazy coincidences that are necessary to move the plot along. She makes the reading so enjoyable, though, I can't be very upset.

  • April
    2018-12-30 11:20

    Terrible book cover, fantastic book. I love the strategic thinking of the main character and his ways of getting out of pickles I never would have imagined. It vaguely reminded me of the strategic-thinking aspect I loved in Bitterblue. Now I want to read the sequels.

  • Aimee
    2019-01-05 08:10

    A kind soul at Pulp Fiction in Brisbane gave me this book for free, citing a case of mistaken identity and my quest to read everything ever written by Georgette Heyer. This is a brilliant book! I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the series.

  • Jessica
    2019-01-12 04:40

    I was actually really suprised because this was a book that both me and my husband really liked (I've never been a huge fan of sci-fi). But Miles is a really lovable protagonist, and I laughed and laughed at the messes he managed to get into.

  • Tessa
    2019-01-23 09:27

    Science fiction driven by characters and their moral struggles. The Mountains of Mourning was an incredible novella and I devoured the (long, omnibus) book over the course of a few days, trading sleep for its pages. Recommend!

  • Jared
    2019-01-17 08:21

    Includes the heartbreaking novella "The Mountains of Mourning". All you need to fall in love with these stories is a heart and an ability to read. Flawless.

  • Caitlin (Ayashi)
    2018-12-28 07:16

    MILES IS SO GREAT!What a fascinating character. I'm so happy to have "met" him and I can't wait to keep going... I need to give some time to some other books too, though :)

  • Alexandra
    2019-01-03 09:17

    A conversational review between myself and Tehani Wessely. Originally appeared at and The Warrior's ApprenticeTehani:Warrior’s Apprentice was actually one of the last Vorkosigan books I read, despite it being the very first Miles book in the internal and publication date chronology. I probably couldn’t tell you which book I actually started with, but I know Young Miles (which contains this novel) was the last omnibus I worked through on my first time read. It was quite strange at the time, reading it with all the knowledge of what was to come but absolutely fascinating to see where the split personality that is Miles – Lord Vorkosigan of Barrayar, and Miles – Admiral Naismith of the Dendarii mercenary fleet, really began. It absolutely encapsulates everything we come to know of this mad little man – the fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants ingenuity, his hyperactive intelligence, his sarcastic dry wit, his absolute faith in the abilities of those around him to do everything he thinks they can and more. We as the reader can’t help but fall in love with him as he careens from crisis to crisis, almost falling flat on his face more times that we can count but with that incredible brain working ten steps ahead of anyone else.Alex:Well, that answers my question about the significance of the mercenaries! I figured they would continue to crop up; it seemed like too much perfect setting-up to simply have them only play a bit part in the continuing saga. Your assessment of Miles is spot on, and I think his faith in others is one of the more interesting aspects of his capabilities as a leader. It’s a much more realistic view, for a start. I guess you could argue that it allows Miles to get away with stuff that he really shouldn’t, and perhaps he could be seen as grasping too high/too fast; but really the ability to inspire others, and knowing when and how to use others (in good ways) is key to any leader actually succeeding. I was amazed by the careening – it was like watching someone who is just on the brink of falling flat on their face but instead manages to turn into semi-competent running. Also, the speed with which he went from washed-out wannabe officer to recruiting his first fellow-washouts was hilarious. Watching the development of the Dendarii force was mesmerising… like watching an avalanche and not knowing whether this is a good thing or a bad. It’s so unlikely, and yet… it works.Tehani:In this book, we get our first glimpses of the darkness that dogs Miles, a counterpoint to his hyperactivity and seemingly endless hubris. Always the outsider on Barrayar, set apart by his physical deformities as well as his intelligence and questioning mind, Miles suffers greatly when facing rejection or personal failure. This ties into both his sense of honour, instilled by his family and his social environment, and his own desire to prove himself. In Warrior’s Apprentice, he faces down defeat and finally feels like he’s made something of himself. But of course, what he’s made is completely made up! It’s a fascinating premise, and the action and characterisation, of even the most minor characters, is what makes it work.Alex:Honour is clearly going to play a seriously large part in the whole series – the Cordelia books set that up, of course. I was amazed by the fact that he failed his physical, and deliberately within those first few pages! Not exactly an auspicious start for a hero. And the continuing darkness that, indeed, dogs him, is fascinating. It too lends Miles a sense of reality; he’s closer to three-dimensional because of it. I’m going to be really interested to see what Bujold does with that. I can see ways that it could be done badly – wallowing, or using it as a mark of a hero, getting repetitive or eventually letting it slip away without explanation… I hope none of those come about!I’m assuming at this point that one of the reasons for Miles’ despondency in later books is the loss of the lovely Elena. Their relationship was a really fascinating one. I had assumed from early on that Elena and Miles would end up growing up together, and was curious to see where that went. I was saddened that it didn’t out with her! I really liked the honesty of Elena’s reaction to Miles’ declaration of love, though – that she would be swamped by him, which is I’m sure a fair assessment. To see her develop as a character, and to see Miles encourage her in that even as it means she’s growing away from him, was a really nice touch of character development. It must be said that Elena’s wedding to someone else was not the moment at which I had tears in my eyes, though. No, that was reserved for Bothari’s funeral. It was heartbreaking! And I was surprised that she got rid of him so early in the series, but I guess it would have been awkward for a cadet in the Imperial Forces to have a bodyguard all the time. Connected with Bothari is the other rather raw moment of emotional honesty: when Miles stupidly tries to bring Bothari together with the original Elena. Her hatred and revulsion of Bothari are so appropriate, and it was nice not to have an author thinking that should be smoothed over for … I don’t know what reasons can be used there, but I know it’s been done.Tehani:Oh, Bothari! I always forget that he dies here because Bujold lets him live large in Miles’ life in future books, simply by way of the enormous presence the Sergeant had in his early life. It was a spectacular way to demonstrate that no-one is safe in Bujold’s books, no matter how much of a staple they might appear, and also a very apt way to resolve (sort of) Elena’s mystery. To be fair, it also ties into helping Elena say no to Miles’s mad proposal – knowing the truth about her origins could have only strengthened her knowledge that realistically, a marriage to Miles would in no way be condoned on Barrayar. And Elena too was brought up with the same strict sense of honour that surrounded Miles, so it was something she could no way get around. Poor Miles – with the mother he has, only a certain type of girl is ever going to appeal to him, but finding the one who can cope with him, and his background, is never going to be easy!Alex:I was impressed by Bujold’s treatment of Miles’ disability in this book. I had wondered whether it would simply pop up when it was narratively convenient, but the reader is hardly ever allowed to forget it – like Miles – not because it’s being forced down your throat but because she keeps reminding you that his legs drag, or limp, or that he’s slow and wears braces, and so on. It’s genuinely a part of the story, and that’s really really nice.Also, one of the nice things I picked up – eventually! – is the fact that the pilot is Mayhew: presumably the same Mayhew who has a cameo as the pilot gulled into helping Cordelia escape Beta Colony. Nice tie in!Tehani:Ooh, I never figured that out! I’m a terrible reader – I am hopeless at noticing cameo characters!Alex:I continue to be hooked. Questions raised: where will the Dendarii fleet end up next? What assignment will Miles end up with at the end of his training? Will Elena feature in the later books?Tehani:Again, I only answer one questions – YES, we will have more Elena!#2: Mountains of Mourning, and The Vor GameTehani and Alex forge on to the end of the second Vorkosigan omnibus, watching Miles grow up and cause havoc. Alex falls further in love with the universe and Tehani watches gleefully. Spoilers! (We've reviewed Cordelia's Honor here, and The Warrior's Apprentice here.)Tehani:"The Mountains of Mourning" was an early foray into the Vorkosigan world for me. It was available for free from the Baen e-Library and I downloaded it, among a bunch of other stuff. It's a novella, not a novel, and it is somewhat different to most of the other Miles books. It's a rather introverted story, in which Miles is given an opportunity to consider the Vor aspect of himself and what it means, at the same time as confronting some ingrained social issues in his society that relate directly to him. "Mountains" gives us a rather more thoughtful Miles than we saw in The Warrior's Apprentice, and fills out a bit more of his personality, and, again, grounds his honour more solidly. It's a sad story, but one that ultimately fits in very well with the overall world-building.Alex:I really enjoyed "Mountains," and thought it worked nicely in the omnibus. It provides a clear bridge between Warrior's and Vor Game, and allows some great insight into Barrayar home life. I was interested to see the degree to which Bujold makes the mutant-horror real in the life of the Barrayar hicks. I had neither expected that we would meet such back-country types (it's certainly not typical in space opera), nor that the revulsion would be so real. I enjoyed the characterisation of Harra, the mother of a murdered 'mutant', and hadn't actually expected the culprit to be her own mother; it was nice not to see the husband being responsible. And, of course, it grounds Miles more solidly, as you say, Tehani.Tehani:The Vor Game switches speeds again, and does it twice! This feels like two books squished together, because the first and second halves are quite different stories. In her afterword (in the omnibus edition Young Miles) Bujold says people often think that the second half of the book, the more military space opera bit, must have been tacked on to pad out the first half (which was published alone in Analog (??)). It's not so, she says, as the novel was always written as published. It's a fair thought though - the initial story is of Miles, newly graduated from the Imperial Academy, given a backwater Barrayar-bound posting to prove that he can submit to authority rather than subvert it. If you really look at it, nothing much happens, plot-wise. Yes, Miles is almost killed (accidentally), he finds a body (accidentally) and he stops a mass torture scenario (on purpose), but all that is quite incidental. It is all designed to set up the second half of the book, which sees Miles return to space, legitimately, under the instruction of ImpSec, and take back his Dendarii mercenary fleet (not quite as legitimately). It's full of the action and adventure that I associate with the Vorkosigan Saga, but which I'm realising, through this reread, is not always the biggest part of any of the books! Alex:BAHAHAHA Miles kidnaps the Emperor!!Ahem. That Gregor turned up in this story, having got himself captured by unwitting contractors, and then Miles turns up accidentally... yeh, that was hilarious.Anyway, yes, there is certainly a change in speed in this book, and I can understand why it might feel like two stories. However, with the continuation of the Metzov character - which I honestly had not expected, and led to groan aloud in horror when he appeared as Cavilo's right-hand man - it doesn't feel like it's unconnected. If anything, it probably reflects the reality of life for an ensign who gets sent willy-nilly on assignments!Kyril Station is horrendous, and that whole section of the book was just one horror on another. I was initially disappointed by the reality of the drowned body, but I guess it was better than having genuine mystery chase Miles around - that might have strained credibility a little too far. It's a nicely realised base in all, and with Miles parading around on drain duty Bujold gets to describe the realities of the place in more detail than she might otherwise. I do wonder whether this base will turn up again...Tehani:One of the most appealing parts of The Vor Game is the unfolding aspects of Miles. He's such a complex character that watching him evolve, grow and really let loose is a great delight. It's easy to forget, having read all the books and become used to it, that his manic manipulating is something he almost fell into, rather than a strategic gift he always had. I also really enjoyed seeing the relationship between Miles and Gregor - the genuine friendship, tempered by remembrance of the past and concern for the future, is superbly written, and is a counterpoint to the relationships we see of the older men in the books, such as Aral and Illyan. Alex:Manic manipulation is EXACTLY the right description. Mad Miles is about right too. It really, really is like watching someone who in reality is stumbling, but making it look like they're running. From one obstacle to another... and ending up paid three times for his efforts. There was a bit less emphasis on his disability in this book, which was interesting, although there was one mention of his neck bones being coated in plastic which startled me! Miles' reaction to Elena was more muted than I had half expected, and yes his relationship with Gregor is great. It also highlights the differences between Miles Vorkosigan and Miles Naismith, on which there is a fair amount of emphasis in this book. I can see this being a major source of difficulty, and skilful character building, in the later books - especially if the Dendarii do end up doing a lot of covert work for Barrayar, and Miles has to interact with ImpSec both as himself (Lieutenant) and as Admiral!Tehani:The character of Cavilo is problematic. In some ways, she's Miles' own mirror - highly intelligent, cunning, strategically brilliant. She would have to be, to end up in the position she is in (again, somewhat of a mirror to Miles). But she lacks Miles's sense of integrity, and of course this means she is also self-centred, deceitful and disloyal. I would have liked to see more of Elena, or something at all of Elli Quinn, in this book, to redeem the balance of this dishonorable female character, particularly as we don't really have any insight into the reasons WHY Cavilo is like she is. At least in The Warrior's Apprentice, we can't hate the elder Elena for her murder of Bothari - we understand it, even if we know murder is wrong. Cavilo gives us no such reason not to despise her just for being a manipulative, self-centred bitch. I kind of would have liked one.Alex:Oh yes. Very problematic. Actually, she wouldn't have been so problematic if she hadn't appeared to try and seduce Miles the first time she meets him. Then, it would have been less like Scheming Seducing Manipulative Woman, and more like Scheming Manipulative Mercenary. In other words, even more like Miles' alter-ego. The thoughts she leaves Miles with - that he might end up like her - are intriguing, and haunting indeed. Like you, I was disappointed there wasn't very much Elena here, although I did like the development of her personality - particularly the marked lack of deference towards Miles. Tehani:Yeah *sigh*. I wonder if Bujold would have written Cavilo the same way if she wrote that story today?Alex:Questions: WHO IS ELLI?? Did you just let slip something there, Tehani?? Also: will Kyril Base feature again? What on earth is Miles going to do with the Dendarii? Will Cavilo return? And will Miles make Simon Illyan go white-haired by the end of the series? (Let me guess, he dies in the next book...)Tehani:No! Hmm, maybe? Elli is Elli Quinn (mostly referred to just as Quinn) who was the mercenary whose face was obliterated in The Warrior's Apprentice. Miles took her to his Betan grandmother and paid for her facial reconstruction. Um, and yes, she only had a bit part really in that book, but has a much bigger role as the series goes on. So it really makes no sense that she's not actually in this one. Has always bugged me. Sorry if I spoiled you for her! You'll like her, I promise :) As for the rest, you'll just have to wait and see!Alex:Oh, THAT Elli. Yes ok, I remember now. I hadn't expected her to play a role later so I forgot her name :)