Vorkosigan Group Read: Cordelia's Honor
Melde dich bei LibraryThing an, um Nachrichten zu schreiben.
Dieses Thema ruht momentan. Die letzte Nachricht liegt mehr als 90 Tage zurück. Du kannst es wieder aufgreifen, indem du eine neue Antwort schreibst.
Two requests please. First, when discussing please let us know which book you are referring to. Second, please mark your spoilers!
You can mark them any way you like as long as it gives us ample time to avoid your spoiler. I usually use *Spoiler* but lately I have been using this nifty little spoiler feature
That's it. Join in wherever you are. I can't wait to hear your thoughts!
Barrayar is the seventh book published but the events follow Shards of Honor. I'll update this part later to avoid spoilers.
ETA: Thanks to Jenn (jjmcgaffey) for catching that Shards of Honor is second and not third in chronological order.
Here we go!
Piyush - Paulina (mathgirl40) started this group read. I enthusiastically offered to help her with one of the threads. I'll probably start Shards of Honour sometime next week. I look forward to your thoughts.
Paulina - I'm thrilled that you are hooked! As soon as I finish Neverwhere, Shards of Honor is up next on my audio queue.
OldDan - Welcome! Sounds promising that you read the first so fast and went straight to Barrayar. Feel free to post your thoughts.
I read these books (the first time around) first on the assumption that they were the first chronologically (well, almost). I think they are my favourite of the series; I sometimes wish that Aral and Cordelia would get another story of their own, instead of just being supporting cast for Miles's story.
I'll check as I go along, but I think the detail in Shards of Honour is richer than we see in the books about Miles, which are a bit more light-hearted.
By the way, what is the spoiler feature? I remember that the last time I came across it, it didn't work on my Mac, and I could, in fact, see the spoiler info.
On this re-read, I'm picking up on the humour in Shards of Honour. I'm also noticing the richness of detail; the descriptions of the landscape, for instance, and the fact that Cordelia's team landed on the planet to survey it. In the first few chapters, Bujold has not just given us their designations and equipment, but given us incidences that highlight their work.
On this planet where the flora and fauna are foreign to them, Cordelia and Vorkosigan have killed a native creature for fresh meat:
"How do you like yours?" Vorkosigan asked. "Rare? Medium?"
"I think it had better be well done," suggested Cordelia. "We hadn't completed the parasite survey yet."
Vorkosigan glanced at his cube with a new dubiousness. "Ah. Quite," he said faintly."
ETA : for enhanced clarity
I read my personally autographed 1986 first printing mass market paperback edition of Shards of Honor last night and today, refreshing my memory of the story. This was Bujold's earliest published book but although you will see a great leap in her writing skills between this and Barrayar, which was her 7th written book, the characters still leap out at me with their integrity and the verisimilitude of the clashing cultures with their background details. Still fascinating after all these years...
ETA Roberta, any excuse!
More thoughts as the book sinks in a bit more.
I am a good way in to my re-read of Shards of Honor, and I wish I'd stuck tape flags on some of the particularly lovely or interesting things I swore at the time I'd remember when it came time for the discussing. I'll do that from now on.
I've really enjoyed both books, I especially love the way that Bujold writes her characters. They seem like living, breathing people, flawed but trying their best. Even the villains are portrayed with compassion.
I'd read the later Vorkosigan books (from Komarr onwards) first and Cordelia really didn't stand out in those, so I was pleasantly surprised to find her such an interesting character. As some of you had already mentioned, Bujold's writing seems much less polished in this first book, but the depth of the characters and the great storytelling are there already.
I did notice a few awkward sentences in Shards of Honor, but it never jumped out at me that much, because of the characters and the storytelling. Barrayar didn't have any writing-style things that jumped out at me, but I didn't notice anything otherwise.
Other thoughts about Shards of Honor/Barrayar now that I've had time to think about them:
- I do wish that there were more books from Cordelia's PoV – I want to know
- I loved Cordelia and Aral's romance/courtship/whatever it was. I usually think whirlwind romances/love-at-first-sight is implausible and annoying, but it somehow worked – probably because they were stuck on that planet together and saw each other at their weakest. I also love the "two enemies stranded together on a planet" trope. I love how it develops in Barrayar too.
- Like others have said, I really enjoyed the character of Bothari – he's such a contradiction. I'm not sure I could trust him like Cordelia does, but if I didn't trust him, I definitely couldn't trust him. I hope that makes sense.
- I didn't realise Miles was handicapped. That definitely should make him a much more interesting protagonist, especially in Barrayar. (This isn't a spoiler, right?)
- I'm not sure why Barrayaran society is so compelling, but it is. Sci-fi books/shows love the noble warrior society headed by an Emperor-type, and they're always so interesting, despite the cliche! Does anyone have any thoughts about it?
- I love their romance as well. What struck me was the equality of their relationship. This isn't a story of a strong he-man protecting and rescuing a helpless female. When she need help, she turns to herself! I also wish there were going to be more books with Cordelia front and centre. She's a great character.
- I love Bothari and I think if I was Cordelia I would trust him. He has proven his absolute loyalty to her more than once, and I think this loyalty will now switch to Miles. Of course, if I wasn't Cordelia, I don't think I would ever trust him or be comfortable around him.
- I am looking forward to seeing how the young Emperor develops. Will he grow up to be a force for good or will something or someone turn him the other way. I think this type of society makes for a good read as there is always scope for color, ceremony and devious behavior!
I was going to say that I'd expect nothing less of a female author re: the helpless female, but that's unfortunately not true. But yes, I loved how competent Cordelia was, and how Aral's attempts to protect her in Barrayar utterly fail.
Re: Bothari, I meant that if I was myself :)
I'm hoping that Emperor Gregor will turn out fine,
Shards of Honour by Lois McMaster Bujold
This was for the year long Group read of the Vorkosigan Saga in the Category Challenge (http://www.librarything.com/topic/160914). I have read 3 books in the series earlier, not in the chronological order though. This group read will be a time to make amends and with this hop I started with the first book in the series, one featuring Cordelia, mother of Miles, the protagonist in the latter parts of the series. We also meet another strong and fascinating character, Aral Vorkosigan, Miles's father, but it would be fair to say the book was more about Cordelia.
It would be difficult to define her characteristics, measure her with parameters, the character is so multi-faceted. She is a military woman, but the author has steered away from the temptation of making her a Wonder Woman. She is strong willed, smart and well, as others in the book would say, honourable. And yeah, she is not a love-sick teenager, but a mature middle aged woman, so is Aral (except the woman part!). She is also the one who with her smartness, resourcefulness and no small measure of luck, turns around difficult situations on their head, and supports Aral only like she could. I quite liked Aral Vorkosigan too, in all his military might, and yeah, he actually comes across more honourable than Cordelia even!
There is a war in the background and some really unpleasant incidents, but they all seem to be the setup for the Cordelia - Aral story. The author must again be applauded for exercising her good sense and not overdoing it with the romance part.
Needless to say, I will be starting with the next instalment, Barrayar, within a week.
The following contains spoilers for Shards of Honor:
What did you think about Beta Colony's reaction to her return home? Sometimes I expect all of Beta Colony to be as collected as Cordelia, but she is clearly special even for there.
#38 I am not so sure about the voice of reason part as I am of her speaking her mind and acting on her convictions; her reasoning could be wrong, she is human after all, but that doesn't stop her from doing what she thinks is right.
"Being analytical as a defense mechanism" is well said; that's exactly what Cordelia does. I think Cordelia herself says something about how she gets the craziest ideas but then always proceeds in the most practical way to make them reality.
Shards of Honor spoilers:
- I think it says something when the supposedly enlightened, emancipated, and progressive Betans can't fathom one of their own falling in love with someone they regard as "the enemy". You'd think that their credo of tolerance would extend even to things they didn't understand, but they jumped straight to the classic human "fear what you can't understand".
- That being said, I think that being collected/analytical/open-minded is something that Betans generally value, although Cordelia seems special in that she actually knows what it means to be all those things.
- I'm not sure if Bujold has much sympathy for psychology; I'm basing this on the Escobaran/Betan psychologists in Shards of Honor and also on the psychologist character in Falling Free. Or maybe she's just pointing out that psychology has its own set of assumptions about what humans can and can't deal with and may not work for people that are actually good at dealing with stuff.
- I'm hoping that Cordelia gets back to Beta Colony at some point and can introduce Aral to her family. At some point, her mother has to want her daughter back enough to accept that she chose Aral of her own free will!
Here is the review from my thread.
Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold is the story of Captain Cordelia Naismith of Beta Colony and Captain Aral Vorkosigan of Barrayar. They are literally and figuratively from two different worlds. They meet on an uninhabited planet where Cordelia is commanding a survey team and Aral is on a secret mission.
It's instant attraction with these two but their personal feelings are pushed aside due to mutiny and political intrigue. In the end they come together.
As Judy (DeltaQueen50) said so well in her review, it is refreshing and wonderful that a romance between to mature adults is highlighted. I loved how Cordelia had her own thoughts and beliefs and although she respects Aral's she is not easily swayed into giving up her way of life for him. She gives up her world for him when she realizes that the scope of her beliefs has widened to include his and those in her world cannot cope with someone who doesn't abide by the party line.
It was a good novel but you can see it lacks some polish. The main complaint I have is
Re: your complaint, it was my understanding that
Anyone want to take a guess a to what character this is? And where?
Now I must figure out how to make this cover into a purse.
One of my favorite Vorkosigan books, I am glad to revisit it for the year-long Vorkosigan group read. We live very much in Cordelia's head in this book, in a tight third-person perspective, and I very much like and respect Cordelia. A lot happens in this story, both personal and political, but the personal leads us to CARE about the characters involved. And you'll never think about shopping bags in the same way again. I think I'm going to have to go straight into The Warrior's Apprentice at this point.
The cover, by the way, correctly places Drou in the same room as the uterine replicator and the swordstick, but the room is a bedroom, she is never in the military dress uniform and certainly wouldn't be in this time and place even if it were her regular uniform, and she isn't the one handling the swordstick. Other than that, the cover is completely accurate. (Wait until you see my cover for TWA!)
Where is everyone in the books here? I have 11 of us here, with some reading for the first time, some re-reading, and some just chiming in based on previous reads. Roberta, Paulina and Piyush have finished SOH. Kriti, Old Dan and Judy have finished Barrayar. Mary Ann, William and I, and perhaps Nina, have finished our rereads, and Ron (RBeffa) is chiming in from past experience. So discussion can be completely open about Shards of Honor, and if the first three can let us know when they are done with Barrayar, we can stop worrying about spoilers there. I love the points you all have been bringing up about Shards of Honor so far, but Barrayar is so much the richer book. Cordelia's musings on motherhood touch me to the core every time I read them.
Seems to me the only difference between your friends and your enemies is how long they stand around chatting before they shoot you. - Cordelia Naismith
Captain Cordelia Naismith is sent to a remote planet as part of a survey team to study the flora and fauna of this new locale when her crew is unexpectedly attacked and all but obliterated. During the aftermath, she encounters a commander from the warring faction, Aral Vorkosigan, and they develop a "friendship" as they work together to save their collective hides. This is a story of serendipity as Vorkosigan and Naismith are continually drawn together via intergalactic happenstance.
One of the strengths of this book is the strong and incredibly likable female lead, Cordelia Naismith. Sure, she is lousy with honor as one could guess by the title, but more importantly she is a no BS woman who is able to think quick on her feet and can spit out a sarcastic retort without a moments hesitation. Strong and well written female characters are a rarity, especially in the sci-fi genre. I am looking forward to seeing what waits around the corner for Cordelia in Barrayar.
I concur with most of the comments that have already come up...
- The writing is a little rough at times, but as the action picked up I started to notice this less and less
- The press conference that is held post Cordelia's return from capture seems wildly inappropriate and out of place. Come on Betans! Really?
Glad you are in with us, JechtShot.
The press conference was definitely inappropriate, but I think that was the point, because
a) that's politicians for you and
b) she needed a catalyst.
If I understood right, we don't need to worry about spoilers anymore for Shards of Honor, but just in case I'm wrong about that, I'll do the fun new 'alert' anyway. One of my favorite parts of Shards of Honor:
What do you all think about Dubaur? Cordelia being Cordelia, has to keep him alive. I would too, I hope. That's certainly the kind of person I want to be. But is it right? That's the problem. Aral is not a heartless jerk with his opposing point of view.
>17 humouress: Reminds me around A Civil Campaign
So much going on in the book. It will be interesting to see these characters when we head to Miles' stories.
Qebo, no offense, but if you don't care for this genre there's no need to be insulting about it.
Um, wow. I’m distressed because there is so much appreciation of these books, and I don’t have the same reaction. I did not intend to insult either the books or you. I use group reads to expand my horizons. Sometimes I find that my horizons are best left where they are, for reasons that I realize are entirely idiosyncratic. I could, I suppose, exit in silence, and pretend that I never tried.
All opinions about the books, good, bad, ugly or funny are most welcome here!
Grundlecat - you probably are an even bigger fan of Bujold and Vorkosigan than I am, and criticism of things dear to us can hurt, but knowing Katherine (qebo), I know that can never be her intention.
I'm happy to see another strong endorsement of Barrayar, grundlecat. I've been dying to get to this, but I had a few other books to finish first. However, we are at the start of a long weekend in Ontario, and I'm taking Barrayar with me on vacation. :)
Have a great weekend with Cordelia, mathgirl40!
This is the second book (chronologically) in the Vorkosigan Saga, the first being Shards of Honour, the book I started my year long Vorkosigan Saga read this.
I have elaborated enough on Cordelia's character in my previous review, in this (short) one, I will talk more about the book.
Cordelia takes off from the first book, doing all the things which endeared her to me and I am sure many other readers. She, then dons her Rambo outfit, and even in that she excels.
I was however disappointed that in her effort to flaunt Cordelia, Bujold made Aral too much of a side character - we don't see the non-Cordelia portions of the war at all! And I do mean, at all! The title of the book could well have been Cordelia in Barrayar.
There was enough space for the two to co-exist, Cordelia's adventures set in the background of Aral's manoeuvring of the war effort, with the contrast in their (supplementary) abilities would probably have made for much better reading in my opinion.
It's been pointed out that there are a lot of politics in Barrayar, but to me, this is really a novel about family. I liked how Bujold explored the different familial relationships. There were certainly a good number of babies/toddlers in this novel!
#99 While your argument has some merit, I can't accept it in totality, the book is written in third person after all. Also, Bujold seemed to have gotten over this difficulty in Shards of Honor by making Aral narrate his doings to Cordelia.
>100 PiyushC: the book is written in third person after all Yes, it was. Interesting, I am listening to the series on audio and it is narrated by a male. Cordelia was still fascinating even with Grover Gardner narrating. :-)
"Shards of Honour
This book is combined with the story Barrayar to make the omnibus Cordelia's Honour.
This seems to be the first novel written in the Miles Vorkosigan saga (though in a slightly darker tone than the Miles books), and is the story of how his parents, on opposite sides in an interplanetary war, first met. The majority of the Vorkosigan saga is made up of stories about Miles, but these two books focus on his parents.
Commander Cordelia Naismith, Astrocartographer for the Betan Astronomical Survey, is leading an expeditionary team of scientists, surveying a newly discovered planet, when they are attacked by a Barrayaran military patrol. Most of her team manage to escape, but she and her botanist Dubauer find themselves captured by Aral Vorkosigan, the infamous Butcher of Komarr. Although it would seem that, especially given Aral Vorkosigan's terrifying reputation, they should be enemies, they find that they are attracted to each other's sense of honour, and that they do not always share the same point of view as their respective home planets' governments.
Shortly after she finally returns home to Beta Colony, her planet goes to war and Cordelia, now part of the Betan Expeditionary Force, finds herself once again ending up in enemy hands.
Red haired Cordelia (Anne of Green Gables, anyone?), though not an Amazon, is a very capable, resourceful woman and a strong, and honourable, heroine. Even though she works for Survey, rather than a military unit, she can think on her feet in combat situations. As a slightly older (33) heroine, she is well matched with a slightly older (44) hero - sometimes cast as an anti-hero. Vorkosigan is also honourable, although conflicted by duty.
This is probably my favourite book of the saga. This virgin planet has a lush landscape which Bujold describes beautifully. And the gentle romance in the background, between two 'mature' adults doesn't hurt, either. It's amusing to remember that I was younger than Cordelia (who is 33 years; Vorkosigan is 44) when I first read Shards of Honour, and - especially now I'm older - she doesn't seem preposterously old to be falling in love.
I could fall in love with Vorkosigan myself, the way his stern soldierly demeanour is lightened by sudden boyish grins. And the fact that he is very much a man of honour, holding tightly to it in spite of the dishonourable situations he is forced into by men in power.
I wish there were more stories in the Vorkosigan canon which focused on Cordelia and Aral. I rather feel that in the militaristic patriarchal society that Barrayar is, her talents are somewhat wasted.
This story is full of action, space battles, interplanetary politics, intraplanetary politics, honour, humanity - not forgetting romance. Very nicely written. I wouldn't mind seeing more Cordelia / Aral Vorkosigan stories.
I like the way that, throughout Shards of Honour, it's the damsel that inadvertently rescues the knight in military uniform. :0)
Um ... still haven't written my review for Barrayar ...
I am up to Memory which has been my favorite so far. Barrayar runs a very close second.
>113 luvamystery65: Bothari was good in all his appearances but at his best here. One of my favorite characters in the series.