Monday, November 25, 2013


by Lois McMaster Bujold

Grade: 3 1/2 stars
Story summary: Miles solving a whodunnit mystery--in space! (Well, not really...It's another planet, but close enough.)
See the others I've read in the Vorkosigan series: Shards of Honor, Barrayar, The Warrior's Apprentice, and The Vor Game.

Thoughts: I think for all my future reviews in this series, I'm going to have to refer you to The Warrior's Apprentice, where I expound on how amazing Miles Vorkosigan is for a while. In this book he, of course, keeps up the frantic wit and cleverness he showed in TWA. This one also had the benefit of letting Miles's cousin Ivan have his turn to be the secondary character that gets development (like Gregor in The Vor Game).

It was not quite as fun as the previous books in some ways, perhaps because the pace is slightly slower, and there is less winning over of mercenaries and winning space battles at tremendous odds. But it's still awesome. I think Louis McMaster Bujold can safely join the ranks of Diana Wynne Jones, as one of my favourite authors--one who never writes a book I don't like. A bad DWJ or LMB is as good as a good one by almost anyone else.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Giver

by Lois Lowry

Grade: 3 1/2 stars
Story summary: Jonas is approaching his twelfth birthday, when children of the Community are given their life's work. And when the day comes, he is given an Assignment unlike any of the Twelves he's seen before. And...I don't want to give too much more away, because part of the enjoyment of this book for me was discovering details about the world as I read.

Thoughts: For ages I judged this book by this cover, even though there's a handy dandy proverb that tells us not to do that. Once I finished the book, I realized that it was more suitable than I had originally thought, and significantly better than some of the other covers out there. Still, it does not look that much like what it is: a dystopian novel, somewhat along the lines of 1984 or Brave New World, except for a younger audience.

Full of intriguing ideas and--as mentioned in the story summary above--great world-building details. I was a little unsure of my satisfaction with how everything concluded, until I realized how it could be interpreted with quite a different meaning than is obvious upon superficial reading. Perhaps one of my few criticisms is that I wish it had been slightly more fleshed out, especially near the end. Perhaps that would have ruined the impact of it, though.

I actually rather wish I had read it when I was a bit younger. Not that I didn't like it now, but I think it could have become one of my favourites that I re-read over the years. It didn't have quite the same impact at my highly advanced* age.

P.S. Apparently there are two companion novels, which I am debating about reading. If anyone has read them, would you recommend them?

*Yeah, not actually that advanced... but more than a decade older than the main character.