Monday, January 30, 2012

The Warrior's Apprentice

The fact that, although there are so many wonderful books out there I have yet to read, I still take the time to reread the books in this series should tell you how wonderful these books are.  Even if you think you don't like science fiction, I urge you to take a chance on this series.  It is beautifully written, with brilliant characterization, intricate and surprising plots, humor and a dash of subtle social commentary.

The first two books of the series feature Cordelia Naismith, and at the end of the second book, Barrayar,we are introduced to Miles Vorkosigan.  This third book, The Warrior's Apprentice, features Miles, who is now a teenager, and his life on a planet that abhors genetic mutations has not been an easy one, despite the fact that he is the son of one of most politically important people on the planet.  As a result of exposure to poisonous gas when he was in utero, Miles has a fragile bone condition that has forced him to under go dozens of surgeries, and he is very short, with bones that break easily, a crooked spine, and leg braces. (He would be quick to point out that his disability is purely physical; he is not a mutant, but in the eyes of Barrayarans, that distinction makes little difference in the way he is treated.) He wants nothing more than to attend Barrayar's elite military academy in the tradition of all the Vorkosigans, and he has passed the written exams with flying colors. The physical exams, however, are another matter.  

Miles, needing a change of scene, travels to his mother's distant planet, Beta Colony, and where a series of events sparked by his good intentions see him suddenly in charge of a mercenary fleet. It doesn't occur to him, however, that his father's political enemies might spin the rumors of Miles' activities to look like preparations for a military coup. Miles is a brilliant strategist, creative and resourceful, but he is, after all, still a teenager, and he has a whole lot to learn.

I had just as much fun rereading this book as I did the first time around.  It lends itself beautifully to being read aloud, and Grover Gardner does an excellent job with the narration, giving the characters' voices their own unique style and infusing the story with just the right amount of emotion and drama.  Miles is one of my very favorite characters, and I know I'll be dipping into this series again and again because the books are just that good.

Books in the Vorkosigan Saga
1. Shards of Honor
2. Barrayar
3. The Warrior's Apprentice
4. The Vor Game
5. Cetaganda
6. Ethan of Athos 
(almost a spin-off) 
7. Brothers in Arms
8. Borders of Infinity
9. Mirror Dance
10. Memory
11. Komarr
12. A Civil Campaign
13. Diplomatic Immunity
14. Cryoburn

The Warrior's Apprentice (#3 in the Vorkosigan Saga) by Lois McMaster Bujold; narrated by Grover Gardner (Blackstone Audio, 2006)


  1. I'm reading this series now. :) I have only read one, but I do hope to get to more very soon!

  2. Kailana - They just get better and better as the series goes on. And that's saying something, considering they start out pretty good! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

  3. I have only just started reading this series, but after reading Cordelia's Honor I can definitely see why this is such a favourite series for so many people.

  4. Marg - I feel a bit envious that you have the whole series ahead of you. I'll be looking forward to your thoughts as you read through them. Just wait till you get to Diplomatic Immunity. It's so funny! And sweet. My favorite, I think.


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