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4.3 out of 5 stars36
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 23 May 2013
A thoughtful, funny,sad, wonderful read.

It introduces new characters which I am sure we will see again.

With a end that promises more to come...... please
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on 30 July 2013
Not Bujold's best tale - but it gives us an interesting perspective from his armsman Roic.I enjoyed it enough to read it more than once - and enjoyed it more second time round!
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on 28 March 2013
Nothing extraordinary, but very entertaining Bujold work. It was difficult to stop between sessions. Definetely enjoyed reading this. I recommend following Bujolds timeline.
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on 30 December 2012
Great read in the series that continues to show us Miles and his friends as they continue to grow up, become house-holders and do further daring deeds of adventure.
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on 18 July 2014
A pleasant story to spend a day of my holiday with, although the emerging themes were underdeveloped. And then, in the final pages, a totally gripping ending....
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on 8 February 2011
Has it been eight years since Lois McMaster Bujold has visited the Miles Vorkosigan universe? Looking at my review of the last book, Diplomatic Immunity, it seems that it has. Fans have patiently waited as Bujold pursued other, more fantastical interests, always hoping that one day she would come back to the pint-sized cyclone of chaos. Cryoburn is like streaming water from a garden hose onto somebody who's been on fire for years: a true relief. Has she lost her Miles touch? She hasn't. In fact, this one is much better than the last Miles book, which was a good, but not great, send-off.

Seven years after the events of Diplomatic Immunity, Miles has a growing family back home on Barrayar. However, his position as Lord Auditor for the Emperor Gregor, galactic problem-solver for Barrayar's interests, has brought him to Kibou-daini, a planet heavily invested in cryogenically freezing the dying. Ostensibly attending a convention on the planet, Miles hopes for a bribe attempt from one of Kibou-daini's massive cryonics companies which may be making a move on Komarr, one of Barrayar's planets. He gets more than he bargained for, however, as he stumbles upon another, far more sinister scheme. With the help of a young boy whose mother was taken away and frozen eighteen months ago, Miles must get to the bottom of what's going on. Corruption, kidnapping, illegal freezing - Miles has to learn quickly and try to stay one step ahead of the scheme, or it will roll right over him.

Bujold slips into her Miles glove with ease, this light-hearted (yet fairly serious) adventure showcasing just how flexible her writing style is. Her ability to highlight serious topics while keeping the reader engaged is right up there with Pratchett's, though their styles are much different. Bujold closely examines the details and controversies that might arise when cryonics are common, including things like the voting rights of the frozen and the logistics of when and how they are to be revived. It helps that Miles has been through the very same thing after taking a needle grenade blast to the chest, so he's able to understand some of the intricacies that other laymen might not be able to.

Cryoburn is a return to form for Bujold as far as Miles goes. The previous book didn't contain the gentle humor that the series has always been known for - it was pretty light, but it wasn't humorous. This book definitely has the humor touch. The wry observations of Miles' armsman, Roic, regarding the situations Miles is always getting himself into, or the dignified horror of Vorlynkin, the head of the Barrayaran embassy, when he gets his first taste of how Miles does things, add to the general tone of the book.

Bujold manages to wring a lot of drama out of the story, too, despite the fact that Miles is never really in any danger, other than of his plans perhaps falling to pieces around him as he desperately tries to improvise. The young boy, Jin, is in more danger; he ran away from his aunt and uncle's house after his mother was taken away and frozen. He's been living in a kind of commune of other unfortunates on Kibou-daini, along with his menagerie of animals.

Bujold's world-building is once again top-notch (she's had a lot of practice in that). The society on Kibou-daini is very interesting, with the extensive interest in cryonics and intricate political system of how those who have chosen to be frozen are still not disenfranchised. We see the underbelly of Kibou-daini, those who get by on their wits, but we also see how the cryonic conglomerates work. It's all very neat.

But it's the characters that make or break a Miles novel, and that's where Bujold excels. Cryoburn is littered with interesting characters. Miles is his normal, almost-manic self. Roic is picture-perfect as both Miles' servant and confidant. The Barrayaran embassy staff, the cryo-technician Raven who provides Miles with the cryonic expertise during his investigation - all are presented without a weak note. Bujold even throws in a couple of twists character-wise that will leave longtime fans giddy.

The only strike against Cryoburn is that a major event in the Miles universe is relegated to an aftermath section, literally begging for a follow-up that I hope Bujold will explore. And soon. It seems out of place in this novel, unless an immediate sequel is planned. Yes, one can make the case that it does follow the theme of the novel, but it still comes out of left field.

Long-thirsty Miles fans can finally take a much-needed drink. Miles is back. Can we clone Bujold to make sure that she never leaves him again?

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book. © Dave Roy, 2011
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 November 2010
A return to the Miles Vorkosigan universe begins not with a bang but a whimper, as Miles stumbles in pitch blackness through a huge mazelike underground cryogenic storage facility, between rows of thousands of coffin-like storage units containing frozen people. To make matters worse, he has just narrowly escaped an attempted kidnapping, and an allergic reaction to the knockout gas which his would-be abductors used has left him reeling and suffering from hallucinations ...

At its best, the Miles Vorkosigan SF saga is one of the most amusing comedy science fiction series ever written. This is the eleventh Miles Vorkosigan adventure, and if it isn't the funniest or the best book in the series - in my opinion both those places are claimed by the ninth book, "A Civil Campaign (Miles Vorkosigan Adventures)" - it is nevertheless both exciting and entertaining.

The first hardback edition of this book (ISBN 978-1-4391-3394-1) also comes with a Vorkosigan Universe CD which includes the full text of every novel in the series, and a host of supporting material including interviews with Lois McMaster Bujold and "The Vorkosigan Companion".

This book represents a welcome return to the series after a gap of several years, both between publication and in the internal chronology of the stories. It begins about seven years after the start of the previous book, "Diplomatic Immunity." Miles's and Ekaterin's eldest children, Aral Alexander (who has finally decided he wants to be known as Alex after exerimenting with Aral, Sasha, and Xander) and Helen Natalia, who were born in the epilogue of that book, are now "five going on six."

Emperor Gregor has sent Miles to the extraordinary world of Kibou-Daini, where the main industry is cryogenic freezing. Almost everyone on the planet, when they contract a serious illness or approach death from old age, or sometimes even before that, has themselves frozen in the hope that when they are thawed out a hundred or more years later their medical problem, or that of aging, will have been solved.

Unfortunately, both for the individual "patrons" who have themselves frozen, and for the planet whose entire economy, politics and society has been warped by the over-dominance of the cryogenics industry, this particular dream of immortality carries a major sting in the tail.

WhiteChrys, one of the cryogenics corporations which dominate Kibou-Daini, is trying to set up a branch on Komarr, one of the three worlds of the Barrayaran Empire. Unfortunately for them, one of the wealthy Komarrans who they tried to persuade to invest in this scheme is the great aunt of Gregor's Komarran empress, Laisa. The old lady, who is rather more astute than the salesman realised, thought the scheme was suspect, so she quietly dropped a word or two about WhiteChriys in the ear of her niece, who in turn dropped a similar word in the ear of her husband the Emperor.

As our hero, Lord Auditor Miles Vorkosigan, has personal experience of crogenic storage and revival (having been through it when he was hit by a needle grenade in Mirror Dance (A Vorkosigan Adventure)) he is the obvious choice for Emperor Gregor to send to Kibou-Daini to find out what WhiteChrys are up to. So Miles and his bodyguard, Armsman Roic, travel there to investigate under the guise of attending a conference.

By the time Miles has finished poking his nose into every dark corner on Kibou-Daini, either to defend Barrayaran interests or in pursuit of his own idealistic crusades, the planet will never be the same again ...

Be warned however that it isn't just crygenics in this book which packs a sting in the tail: there is also a huge bombshell at the very end for Miles and for anyone who loves the characters in the series.

The Miles Vorkosigan stories, and four other books set in the the same future universe, can stand on their own. But several of them, of which this is one, will give you something extra if you have read the books set earlier in the same timeline.

For example, someone who is not familiar with the series will take a few moments to grasp the implications of the last three words of the main text of this book, while someone who has read the previous books will instantly realise the enormity of their meaning. (Sorry if this appears a bit Delphic, I am trying to convey that the book has a shock ending, particularly for regular Bujold readers, without giving away what that ending is.)

The epilogue to this book consists of five "drabbles" (e.g. stories of exactly 100 words each), and I don't think you can really appreciate any of the five unless you have read earlier books in the series.

If you have not previously met Lord Miles Vorkosigan, he is

1) a brilliant intriguer who at one stage was juggling at least three identities; 2) physically very small, having been injured in his mother's womb by poison gas; 3) a former spy for Imperial Barrayan security, former mercenary admiral and present "Imperial Auditor";
4) finally married after spending a major part of the first nine books looking for a wife; and
5) very funny to read about.

The full sequence of books in this Universe is as follows. The tale of the bioengineered quaddies and how Leo Graf helped them free themselves from slavery, which happened about 239 years before this book, is given in

"Falling Free"

The story of the romance between Miles' parents is given in the two books:

"Shards of Honour"

these two books have also been published together in one volume as "Cordelia's Honor."

The Miles Vorkosigan adventures are:

"The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan)"
"The Vor Game"
"Borders of Infinity" (consists of 3 linked novellas)
"Brothers in Arms"
"Mirror Dance"
"A Civil Campaign"
"Diplomatic Immunity"

And the next one, featuring Mile's cousin Ivan and due out in November 2012, will be

"Captain Vorpatril's Alliance"

There is also a stand-alone novel featuring Miles' friend Elli Quinn, in which she meets a doctor from a planet whose population consists entirely of gay men. That story is called

"Ethan of Athos"

All 14 books in the Vorkosigan Universe prior to "Cryoburn" have been republished in six compilation volumes, each of which contains two or three of the individual novels or novellas.

I have already mentioned "Cordelia's Honour" and the other compilation volumes are

"Young Miles"
"Miles Errant"
"Miles, Mystery and Mayhem"
"Miles in Love" and
"Miles, Mutants and Microbes."

I enjoyed all these books and strongly recommend them, just be careful if you are trying to complete the set that you don't accidentally duplicate the books you own by purchasing a compilation volume containing books you already have!
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on 26 April 2013
Excellent book continues the Vorkosigan saga, as good as the rest of them, I am looking forward to the next one.
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on 12 April 2016
Love it. I'm working my way through this series and will definitely go on to Bujold's other books/series.
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on 28 February 2012
I am gutted about this poor showing by Miles Vorkosigan novel. There has been a long time since the last book and the sparkle seems to have gone, this is a dull by the numbers boring book.

This series Has untill now been one of my absolute favorite reads, previously the books have grown stronger as it had gone on with the last books being witty, well plotted and full of well described detail. This book has, in my opinion, none of these three elements. Cryoburn plods where the others soar.

Bah! Humbug! shame on you Lois McMaster Bujold
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