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Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold

  1. 30
    Old Man's War by John Scalzi (jlynno84)
  2. 10
    The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison (flemmily)
    flemmily: This series is a lot fluffier than the Vorkosigan Saga, but follows a smart, unconventional main character who outwits both the system and those around him.
  3. 11
    Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (kaydern)

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Review of THE VOR GAME:

The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold is the fourth chronological about the Vorkosigan family, excluding novellas. I have recently been rereading these and my last two reviews were of The Warrior's Apprentice and Mountains of Mourning. There have also been a series of discussion posts, which you can find here. This review will contain some spoilers for the earlier books, but nothing too major since this is a series of standalones. The blurb is a bit spoilery though. :-/

This is a book very definitely divided into two parts. They are linked and they are not equal halves, but the tone and setting and many of the secondary characters are different between them. The first half of the book takes place at Camp Permafrost, a crappy arctic training base that Miles is assigned to after he graduates from the military academy. I started reading The Vor game needing a laugh and while the opening section isn't maudlin, it's also not laugh-out-loud funny. It was compelling nonetheless and set up the second part of the novel. I can see why it was also published as a standalone story before the book's publication (in the afterword Bujold talks about the welcome fee from selling it to Analog as "Weatherman", but I found myself wondering how the ending would have worked...).

The latter two thirds or so of the novel takes place in space after Miles is transferred to ImpSec, the more covert branch of the Barrayaran military. The theme of Miles's insubordination continues as a somewhat dull mission becomes more exciting after a chance encounter and with the return of Admiral Naismith. This second part of the book was much funnier, with a lot of the humour coming from the reader (and Miles) knowing more about various social contexts than the characters in them. Much hilarity ensued, especially near the end.

This book stands alone quite well and I wouldn't ban someone from reading it out of order. That said, it does build on what has come before it, especially The Warrior's Apprentice, which sets up the Dendarii mercenaries, so I recommend reading at least that book first. In fact, my copy of The Vor Game is nestled inside the Young Miles omnibus, containing The Warrior's Apprentice, the novella Mountains of Mourning and then The Vor Game and a sizeable afterword, a worthy edition if you don't already own the novels.

4.5 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog. ( )
  Tsana | Jun 2, 2017 |
Early in the time line and fairly early when reading by publication date, this book has 3 sections.

The Warrior's Apprentice was the second novel written. It tells how Miles failed his entrance exam for the military academy, so - being Miles - he skipped straight up to being Admiral Naismith. The title, as the author notes, is a riff on the Sorcerer's Apprentice and includes a whole series of adventures as one save from overreach leads to the next one. Altogether a great story.

Mountains of Mourning is a novella, originally published as the first section of Borders of Infinity. This is, I think, my second favorite of all the Vorkosigan Saga. Miles is sent to be investigator, judge and jury for a back-woods murder case. An infant has been killed for being physically imperfect, and Miles has to find out who did it and also give a message that times have changed.
(see also my comments on this story in my review of Borders of Infinity)

The third story, the Vor Game, takes Miles to graduation from the Academy and a couple of subsequent assignments. (After his adventures in Warrior's Apprentice, Vor privilege - and his father's influence - got him into the Academy after all.) His way of handling those assignments gets the job done, but at some cost to the people who were supposed to be his superior officers. It is decided that he should report directly to the dread Simon Ilyan, because Simon refuses to impose him on anyone lower in the hierarchy.

( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
Typical Bujold fare (in a good way), but is much more military/tactical than the earlier [Shards of Honor-Barrayar/Cordelia's Honor] and so not as much my cup of tea. ( )
  eenerd | Sep 29, 2015 |
This is the second omnibus of the Vorkosigan series and contains The Warrior's Apprentice, The Mountains of Mourning and The Vor Game. While the first concentrated on Aral Vorkosigan and Cordelia Naismith this one, as the title suggests focuses on the early adventures of their son Miles. TWA starts with Miles failure to achieve selection for officer candidacy in the Barrayaran Imperial Military Service. With some political unrest occurring at home his parents suggest a visit to his grandmother on Beta Colony would be a good idea to contemplate where the next phase of his life will take him. Miles acquiesces and accompanied by the ever faithful Bothari and his daughter Elena, Miles' childhood friend and secret crush, arrives for a grand vacation on Beta. Well, that was the plan anyway. But it's not long before Miles gets embroiled in a scheme that sees him buy a freighter and headed to a war zone with an arms shipment. Can he break the blockade and avoid getting more involved or will he drag Bothari and Elena to the very heart the conflict?

For tMoM, Miles is back on Barrayar having graduated from ImpSec Academy and is enjoying some downtime at home before his first official posting. His father sends him off to a remote village to investigate a claim of murder. A child born with a physical deformity which could have been corrected with technology available but hadn't reached this backwater place. The father is chief amongst the suspects. Did he do it and if not can Miles find and suitably punish the guilty party?

TVG sees Ensign Miles Vorkosigan's first posting. Hoping for ship duty he is more than a little disappointed to discover he's to become Chief Meteorology Officer at Lazkowski Base, otherwise known as Camp Permafrost. Assured that it's only a temporary assignment and that he'll get his wish if he just manages to stay out of trouble for six months. There's just one little snag. The base commander is predisposed not to like him on account of a run-in with Miles' father some years previous and still holds a grudge. Things again don't go quite to plan and end up with Miles once again in contact with the people he left behind from TWA trying to avert an interstellar war and he might as well try and save the Emperor just for good measure.

This is an excellent collection of stories, two novels bracketing a novella. They set up Miles' character extremely well and could easily qualify for a starting point to the series though personally I'm glad to have read Cordelia's Honor first as you can easily see where he got these traits from. The surrounding cast are also well drawn and the pacing of the stories is just about perfect. Once I actually got time to sit down and read I practically raced through this book. Not only do these books provide all the things you want from a space opera story with battles fought with spaceships and political manoeuvring on both a local and galactic level but there's enough levity to prevent this book from becoming too weighty. Looking forward to continuing this series in the not to distant future. ( )
  AHS-Wolfy | Aug 21, 2015 |
Oh Miles you have won me over. ( )
  cendri | May 30, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lois McMaster Bujoldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dixon, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morgental, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petri, EddaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruddell, GaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The tall and dour non-com wore Imperial dress greens and carried his communications panel like a field marshall's baton.
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Being a Vor lord on the planet Barrayar wasn't easy. And being the leader of a force of spaceborne mercenaries while maintaining a secret identity wasn't easy - in fact, it should have been impossible, not to mention being a capital offense. But neither impossibility nor danger ever slowed down young Miles Vorkosigan.
After failing the Barrayaran Academy physical, Miles's natural (if unorthodox) leadership qualities quickly led to his off-handedly acquiring a space fleet and three thousand loyal troops, and assuming the identity of Admiral Naismith. In short order, he foiled a plot against his father, reentered the Academy, solved a murder, joined a mutiny against a deranged superior, thwarted an interstellar invasion, and rescued his Emperor. Then things got interesting....
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Washed out of the Barrayaran Military Academy for health reasons, Miles Vorkosigan uses his unorthodox leadership talents to acquire a fleet of ships and take command of a force of spaceborne mercenaries with the help of his secret alter ego, Admiral Naismith.… (more)

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