I confess that readers have been telling me for years to try Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series. But the covers are so awful (sorry, Baen, but it’s true!) and the phrase often used to describe the series, “military sci-fi,” did nothing to sway me. Then, for a class, I decided to give Bujold a try and read Cordelia’s Honor, an omnibus including Barrayar and Shards of Honor. Next, I read Miles in Love and am currently reading Young Miles.
So, what changed my mind, you ask? For one, Bujold writes wonderfully complex characters and allows you to follow these fascinating people over a period of time. For another, she writes one hell of a story; her stories are thoughtful and action-packed, full of superbly crafted dialogue and political intrigue.
While there are many wonderful characters explored in the Vorkosigan universe, Miles Naismith Vorkosigan is the central character of most of the books. Miles was injured in utero so struggles his entire life with brittle bones and a stunted frame, disabilities that Miles triumphs over through intelligence and a force of will and character. Miles is charming, self-effacing, cockily confident, conflicted and winningly complex. Bujold tests Miles in a number of ways and he is a joy to follow. So far, the series takes Miles from ages 17 to 32 where he discovers the dangers of being a Vorkosigan, his tactical gifts and the love of his life.
So basically, the Vorkosigan books I have read so far have more of what I look for than most series out there–consistently good writing, compelling characters, action, complex world-building and even some romance.
I am currently reading through the series in a herky jerky order, which you can do, but it’s probably best to go chronologically. Most of the omnibus editions have a handy timeline in the back.
Once you get started, chances are you will be hooked on Miles.