Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Cryoburn & Bards of Bone Plain ~ Sumiko's Reads
It's been a long winter's nap, and Sumiko is raring to go on giving us a look at two author's books!
Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold (lots of info on Bujold and the Vorkosigan Saga online)
Cryoburn is the latest addition to the Vorkosigan Saga. In this case we are treated to the further adventures of Miles Vorkosigan in his position as Imperial Auditor rather than as his alter-ego Admiral Naismith. The Vorkosigan books are excellent space adventures with interesting characters who you care about. They follow the adventures first of Cordelia Naismith and Lord Aral Vorkosigan and then later of their son Miles. They live in a future where humans have spread out across the galaxies and thrived devising all manners of systems of living/governance.
The first book is Cordelia's Honor which is about Cordelia and Lord Aral. I love the character of Cordelia so much and yet, she is actually a supporting character in the series which is really about her son Miles. The saga traces Miles life from his birth onward. In Cryoburn, Miles arrives at Kibou-daini (a planet) ostensibly as part of a diplomatic trip but actually to investigate a "cryo-corp" that is trying to expand into Barrayan territory. The book is fast paced and fun to read. I am trying to decide if it is something that you could read without earlier introduction to the Vorkosigan Saga but really, Bujold is such a wonderful storyteller that I encourage anyone who hasn't read the Vorkosigan books to at least try to dive in with this one or go find the earlier ones. The publishers of Cryoburn have made this delightfully easy by including a CD that has all of the Vorkosigan books on it including this one. They encourage their readers to burn the disk and give it to friends - which I thought was an interesting plan on their part.
In contrast, the Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia McKillip is very much a fantasy. The author has been a favorite of mine since I read the Forgotten Beasts of Eld and the Riddle of Stars Trilogy in high school. Actually, the trilogy was still coming out and I'm not sure that the final book didn't come out until I was in college. It is possible that the Riddle of Stars is in my mind because this book reminds me of those ones. It could be the setting, the importance of music and language in this world. It is the story of a[Scholar] Phelan Cle a young man who is researching Bone Plain as his final project prior to graduating the bard school, his father Jonah Cle an archaeologist who is excavating sites around the city and Princess Beatrice who is assisting him. To me it felt as though this was a world similar to that of The Riddle Master books but much further along in time. The lives that people lived were an interesting mix of contemporary and fantasy/medieval. I really loved the setting, the characters and the language.
Of course, reminding me of the earlier books didn't hurt but I felt like these characters and this story was much more memorable to me than most of what she has written in between. I love the way she writes families and schools and I love her use of language.