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2,9071173,933 (4.01)1 / 374
Commander Cordelia Naismith of Beta Colony and Captain Aral Vorkosigan of Barrayar suddenly find themselves at war with each other, abandoned by their respective forces on an uncharted planet and dependent on each other for their survival.
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» See also 374 mentions

English (113)  Italian (3)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (117)
Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
I love Miles Vorkosigan so I thought I'd better go back and read his parents story. I enjoyed seeing Cordelia and Aral meet and fall in love. You can see from both of them where Miles gets his smarts. ( )
  Luziadovalongo | Jul 14, 2022 |
Just as good as the first time I read this book, only in audio this time. ( )
  fuzzipueo | Apr 24, 2022 |
Digital audiobook read by Grover Gardner

Book number 1 in the space-opera series Vorkosigan Saga introduces the reader to this family. Not being a great science-fiction fan, I’d never heard of this series, but a challenge to read something by Bujold led me here.

We have a kick-ass heroine, Commander (later Captain) Cordelia Naismith, who is leading her team on a scientific exploration of a new planet, when they are ambushed. She instructs her crew to leave and save the ship before she is knocked out. When she comes to, she is face-to-face with the infamous Captain Aral Vorkosigan, head of the Barrayaran military patrol that attacked them. But it seems that HIS forces also left and now the two of them are alone.

Well, that’s a pretty exciting beginning, and it certainly captured my attention. I was interested in the world Bujold created, including the many creatures – furry crabs, deadly bubbles. But the adventure is just beginning. Bujold gives us intrigue, politics, war, competing interests and many plot twists that kept this reader turning pages (or listening past bedtime). I loved the dry humor and witty banter between these two. Their individual strengths complement one another, and I enjoyed watching the attraction between them blossom.

What I find most interesting is that this first in the series takes place BEFORE the lead series character is even born! Well, will I read more to find out about Miles? Probably not. But I’m still glad I read this one.

Grover Gardner does a good job of narrating the audiobook. I frequently notice his deep, gravelly voice, especially when there’s a female character, but it made no difference to me this time. Perhaps that is because he made less effort to actually change his voice from character to character in this book. He certainly does a good job of performing “adventure” stories. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 28, 2022 |
An interesting combo of nostalgia and the unexpected. The writing style is familiar to me from lots of things I was reading at its time of publication (1986). There are some elements that I could predict right off. But plenty more that I didn't see coming. Good stuff. I highly approve of the idea of applying for a parent license. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
This was another one of my series-sampling audio listens, to see if I might want to pursue it in print someday. In this case, I’m sampling the first two books in the series, going in publication order. The second book is the one that I actually wanted to get to, because it’s on the SF&F Goodreads group shelf I take most of my reading selections from. (What were they thinking by voting in the second book?! Heathens!) Some people suggested that I really needed to read this book to properly understand the second book. Since this one was free on Audible Plus and not too long, I decided to follow that advice in hopes of not judging the second one unfairly.

Audio Narration
The narrator is Grover Gardner. I had my doubts about him, but I really didn’t have any complaints in the end. When I first started listening, my initial reaction was that it sounded like I was listening to a character on a TV show from the 60’s. It hit me every single time I started the audiobook up for a new listening session, but faded quickly as I focused on the story.

I’m not sure a male narrator with an older sounding voice (to my ears, anyway) was necessarily the best choice for this book. The story is told from the POV of a female in her 30’s. I guess he narrates all the Vorkosigan books, regardless of who the POV character is, so maybe he fits the other books better and maybe they thought a consistent narrator throughout the series would be more important than a gender-appropriate one. If I listened to the entire series in audio I might very well agree, I don’t know. He read Cordelia in a normal voice, not trying to imitate a female voice at all, which I think was for the best since he would have had to carry it on for pretty much the entire book and I suspect his voice couldn’t have done it convincingly.

But despite my doubts, I really didn’t have any issues listening to his narration. I didn’t have trouble telling who the characters were, helped by the simplicity of the story and the text making it clear who was talking. He also didn’t get melodramatic or have any other odd quirks that distracted me.

The story focuses on Cordelia Naismith, captain of a survey crew exploring a new planet. They’re attacked by another human faction and Cordelia is stranded on the planet along with an injured crew member. Then Aral Vorkosigan, the commander of the attacking ship, shows up. It turns out that there was a mutiny among at least part of his crew and he too was left stranded. This doesn't stop him from taking Cordelia prisoner, though. He leads Cordelia and her injured crew member on a long, multi-day trek toward a supply cache, during which their nutritional needs are sustained by the delicious combination of oatmeal and blue cheese. Yum! There's more to the story, it isn't just one long trek on an alien planet, but that's how things start.

This is a romance disguised as a space opera. There are other elements to the story, but they felt more like a vehicle for the romance rather than the romance simply being used to supplement the real story. It’s also very much the instalove sort of romance. Cordelia, trying to care for an injured crew member and survive on an alien planet with hostile life forms, all while worrying about her future fate as a prisoner of a war-like people, captured by a person she knows nothing about, still can’t keep her mind or her eyes off him. Joy.

Some more spoilery thoughts on the romance and other things: I didn’t think Vorkosigan’s very fast marriage proposal was overly sudden in the context of the character’s culture and background, and I was glad Cordelia didn’t jump into anything. However, by the time she did marry him, they still hadn’t really had any chance to get to know each other in a more normal context. She was always his prisoner, or a prisoner of the Barrayan people, however loosely held. Their romance was written pretty convincingly despite my complaints, but it’s disturbing if you stop to think about it too deeply. It only works because we’re in Cordelia’s head and we accept her intuitive leaps about Vorkosigan’s personality based on their conversations and what little she sees of his actions. I was also disturbed by Vorkosigan’s and then Cordelia’s continued support of Bothari, to the point of allowing him (apparently) to raise his own child, despite that Bothari raped the child’s mother not only when he was “forced” to, but also in a calmer environment where he was completely free to make his own choices without any outside pressures. Yes, he was mentally unstable when he made those choices, but there was nothing to indicate to me that this mental state had been cured while in Vorkosigan’s employ, or that Bothari even recognized it as wrong.

The last chapter, while certainly meaningful and a little thought provoking, seemed to come out of nowhere and left me wondering if I had missed something, or if the narrator was reading some random preview for another book. It seemed clearly related to the story, but it jumps to different characters and doesn’t continue the plot in any significant way, nor does it set up (as far as I could tell) a plot for subsequent books. I kept expecting them to discover something shocking or dangerous on one of the dead bodies, but it mostly just seemed to be ruminations on death. It felt kind of like something the author wanted to get off her chest and just tacked at the end. I would have appreciated it more if she’d saved the idea for another book and fit it into a different story in a more seamless manner.

Despite my complaints, I did enjoy listening to the story. There is a lot of humor, and I chuckled several times while listening. The oatmeal and blue cheese particularly tickled my funny bone for some reason, and I giggled madly every time that came up, although there’s certainly subtler and more clever humor than that in the story. It’s also a very simple story which made it an easy audio listen, but there are some deeper thoughts in there as well. Nothing earth shattering, but engaging. I did like that Cordelia was a relatively competent and intelligent woman. The romance didn’t usually bug me too much while I was listening to it, it just doesn’t hold up well if you give it much thought. The political backdrop was interesting, and it felt like there was a lot more depth to the setting than the reader is shown. I think I’d have enjoyed a more political story following Vorkosigan and the political machinations he was involved in. He seemed to have a far more interesting story than Cordelia did, and Cordelia’s story revolved around Vorkosigan anyway.

I’m rating this at 3.5 stars and rounding down to 3 on Goodreads. I’ll continue with my plans to listen to the audio for the second book, but I’m hoping it will have more science fiction and less romance. ( )
  YouKneeK | Jul 4, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bujold, Lois McMasterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bryant, James M.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cherry, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gutierrez, AlanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, SufordEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zuddas, GianluigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Pat Wrede
for being a voice
in the wilderness
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A sea of mist drifted through the cloud forest, soft, grey, luminescent.
And so he did, as shy as an apprentice saint washing his first leper.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Commander Cordelia Naismith of Beta Colony and Captain Aral Vorkosigan of Barrayar suddenly find themselves at war with each other, abandoned by their respective forces on an uncharted planet and dependent on each other for their survival.

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