Accidental mercenary

The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2)The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Huh. Didn’t they give you any medical treatment?”
“Oh, sure. I’ve had an Inquisition’s worth. That’s why I can walk around today, instead of being carried in a bucket.”

After meeting baby Miles at the end of Barrayar, I finally got to know the main protagonist of the Vorkosigan Saga.

Part of buddy reading the series with SpecFic in chronological order.

This book didn’t pull its punches and got right into the middle of the action. Still, I felt no great need to keep going and it took me a week to just get past the first third of the book. Seems to be a pattern for me with this series. The beginning seemingly drags a lot and about 30 to 40% it gets more interesting. I just wish these books would pick up speed a little faster. I know, I am contradicting myself. Maybe it’s the narrative of the series in general that doesn’t hold my attention? Although, I have to admit that it is quite funny to read about Miles digging the hole he is standing in deeper and deeper…

I was entertained, I laughed, but I also skimmed. Nice plot, but also not really doing it for me. I don’t know, I guess I will have to read another one!

3.25 undecided stars…

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Cordelia goes for it…

Barrayar (Vorkosigan Saga, #7)Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The third book in my chronological series read of the Vorkosigan Saga. Published as the 7th book of the series. All about Cordelia and Aral and complementing the story that started in Shards of Honor. Their early days on Barrayar, about family, politics, intrigue and war.

This time I went for the kindle version, as I did not enjoy the first two audiobooks very much. The narrator came across as very old fashioned and it gave the previous two books a very dated feel. I am happy to report that I liked this much better. And if I should ever decide to re-read the first two books, it will certainly be in the printed version, not on audio. Apparently there is another narrator for the later books and if I should come across him, I might give him a try.

Slow start, slow build-up, very nice world-building. Barrayar came to life quite nicely.

Characterization are good, although I struggled at times to keep all these people apart, with their similar sounding family names. The relationship between Cordelia and Aral is kept very low key. Her struggles Piotr and the assembled Vor nobility were amusing to read though. I assume that I will not meet any of these characters again, at least for several books. I will miss Koudelka, Bothari and Droushnakovi.

The action and adventure part of the plot towards the end of the book was entertaining and suspenseful. Especially once Cordelia had enough of male stupidity and went for it. Kick-ass, woman! I salute you!

3.75 points, looking forward to the next book!

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Dewey’s 10 Years in 10 Books!

I am dabbling with Dewey’s-24-hour-readathon right now, although I will probably not get any more reading done than usual. Saturdays are usually pretty busy for me. Washing, cleaning, shopping, meeting friends for coffee, and so on and so forth. I managed 2 hours of my current audiobook though… my actual letters-on-paper-reading has been pretty measly so far. No great plans for tomorrow though.

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Dewey’s 10 Years in 10 Books!

Challenge parameters are here: http://www.24hourreadathon.com/challenge-10-years-in-10-books/

My recommendations:

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2007: The Rest Falls Away

The Rest Falls Away (The Gardella Vampire Hunters, #1)The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason
My review: 4 of 5 stars

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2008: Grimspace

Grimspace (Sirantha Jax, #1)Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2009: The Blade Itself

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2010: Married with Zombies

Married with Zombies (Living with the Dead, #1)Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2011: Leviathan Wakes

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1)Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2012: The Martian

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2013: BBC Dramatization of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere

Neverwhere: BBC DramatisationNeverwhere: BBC Dramatisation by Neil Gaiman
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2014: Book of the Unnamed Midwife

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (The Road to Nowhere #1)The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2015: Monstress

Monstress #1Monstress #1 by Marjorie M. Liu
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2016: Fire Touched — the only book on this list, that is not a stand-alone or the first of a series. Apparently 2016 was my year of continuing series reads…

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
My review: 5 of 5 stars

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2017: Provenance

ProvenanceProvenance by Ann Leckie
My review: 4 of 5 stars

Free falling, all hands…

Falling FreeFalling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Our intrepid engineer Leo starts a new job and gets to know genetically engineered humans–optimized for life in free fall, with another set of arms instead of legs. Fittingly they are called quaddies. They are also treated as something less than human and our engineer finds himself in the position of wanting to help the underdogs.

This hasn’t aged well. It feels pretty old-fashioned and quite a little sexist. If you can get past that, the story is entertaining.

The audiobook narrator does a decent job, but could have given more distinct voices to the various characters. Those are all pretty one-dimensional.

Leo is the nice guy, Mr. Fix-it, and apparently based on Bujold’s father, who was an engineer and wrote a definitive book on non-destructive testing.

The bad guy is a proper slimebag, the quaddies are all nice, naive kids.

Bujold’s imagery is very vivid. The story is well plotted and paced, if a little predictable. Every now and then she geeks out and over-indulges in engineering babble.

The ending feels a bit as if there could have been more, and I read somewhere that Bujold had indeed planned to write another book to tell the rest of the story.

Chronologically Falling Free is the first book in the Vorkosigan Saga. It is more of a prequel though, as it is set 200 years before the main series, without the central character of the series.

I plan to buddy read the whole series with some friends, in the mentioned chronological order, not in order of publication. Let’s see how far I get!

Better than just ok, but not great, 3.5 stars.

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Search and rescue in space

Caliban's War (Expanse, #2)Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The continuation of Leviathan Wakes. Holden and his team work for the OPA and it just doesn’t feel right. They stumble across the proto-molecule again and get themselves a new search-and-rescue mission. And we get to meet three great, new characters. Two of those I hope we’ll meet again in further books: Bobbie Draper, the marine, and Chrisjen Avasarala, the kick-ass UN politician.

The story was entertaining, the world building excellent, the characters mostly well developed. There were some plot points that I found confusing and not clear, but that might have been due to me getting distracted whilst listening to the audiobook.

Good, decent storytelling, not the most inventive plot. Not as great as Leviathan Wakes, which was one of the best reads of my year so far. The cliffhanger at the end wasn’t exactly mind boggling. I had wondered all along, when he would show up again. What caught my attention, but was never mentioned again–Holden’s suggestion that they all get married to own the Rocinante together. I hope we’ll get back to that in the next book. I wouldn’t mind seeing the personal relationships between the Rocinante crew developed more fully.

Could be read as a standalone, I guess, but I don’t recommend it. I definitely plan to read the next book in the series.

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