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After more than four years, since Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Grover Gardner again brings the Vorkosigan saga to life and back to Barrayar in the latest story “Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen.”
I personally began my adventure with this series starting with the “Warriors Apprentice,” and couldn’t get enough of Miles. Brittle boned, slight of build, and always over-matched physically in a world that prided itself on strength, he wass usually able to overcome all obstacles with his keen intelligent and equally sharp and witty wit. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every audible book in this series that Louis McMaster Bujold has so masterfully crafted and this latest release is no exception. Some of my favorited characters are back, including Miles, but this is a Cordelia story. Throughout the series we got to know her; “Shards of Honor” and “Barrayar,” centered on her. We learned of her diverse background growing up on a technological forward thinking planet called Beta Colony that was indirect contrast with the militant hierarchical planet from which her husband came from and which they both resided called Barrayar. Now three years after the death of her famous husband, Aral Vorkosigan, Cordelia, widowed vicereine of Sergyar, is ready to begin a new direction in her life. Insightful and heartwarming, this story does not have a whole lot of action but for those who have been following this series I think you will like this addition.
Grover Gardner, as usual, gives a great performance setting the tone perfectly.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
Where is her editor?
No plot, no conflict, minimal tension (either emotionally or romantically), and she creates events that happened decades before in the series that go against the characters' natures. I kept waiting for something exciting to happen, some difficulty for the characters to overcome. There isn't even any romance tension, which could have saved the book. According to the story, they're basically just re-kindling a relationship, so there's no 'falling in love' process and no wondering if/when they'll declare their love and consummate the relationship. There's mild tension where the hero has to decide to whether to accept a long distance job, but there's no crisis or anything.
There were points where I thought an exciting plot was about to start, but she never took the story in any of those possible directions. It's frustrating to know it could've been so good that it makes your disappointment so much worse.
Someone said she's ending her series and tying up loose ends, which is a good idea as the plots and writing have been going downhill. As someone said, this makes a nice, but boring, epilogue. It should not have been a stand alone book.
I would only read it if you're a Cordelia fan, which I am; so I continued listening all the way to its tedious end. But I would recommend buying a used paperbook, not an audiobook.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book written by Lois McMaster Bujold or narrated by Grover Gardner?
I have read them all. This was the one that appealed least - even less than Diplomatic Immunity and Cryoburn.
Has Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen put you off other books in this genre?
A difficult question, since the genre it appears to be written for isn't the genre in which most of Ms Bujold's books are set. It's a lazy, self-indulgent self-congratulatory conclusion for Ms Bujold's own favourite Mary Sue, bringing in character after character who had submerged all other attributes to support her. If you like the ideas of BayBees! and Toddlers! and agonising over long-dead secrets - secrets which within days they seem happy to tell to anyone who's interested, all of whom accept with it grace and tolerance.The only one of the on-going problems that actually boiled over was deal with so efficiently by Mary Sue's idealised devoted swain that it became an anticlimax. No wrecks, and nobody drownded, in fact nothing to laugh at all. I began to wish that Miles would poke the hexapod with his stick with the horse'shead handle. If you are going to write an episode in a space opera, don't buy plot bunnies, then decide not to use them to any effect.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen?
The important question is - which scenes would I have insisted on being inserted. They would have been scenes with some more significant action than a made up game, competed in by characters we neither knew, nor cared about, with rules that might have been comprehensible, but were, absolutely, irrelevant. There might have been a dastardly Cetegandan plot, or a raid by Jackson's Hole on the mothballed Prince Serge, or even a sudden eruption of a volcano. But instead we got kids eating cake.
Any additional comments?
I am keeping it because I have the others, and have only myself to blame for not heeding the warnings.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I felt quite let down by this addition to the saga. I finished it simply out of loyalty to the grand story world I love. I wish I could travel back in time, give my younger self a short summary and save the credit for something more worthy.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful