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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars

on 22 January 2009
This book is actually 2 in 1, so you get great value for money. Not a thick novel however the font is quite small and close together and page margins are minimal, so lots to read!

The first (no spoilers) deals with a Space exploration survey team captain, Coredlia of the title, on a newly discovered wild world dealing with enemy soldiers and intrigue upon intrigue. The second book is about Cordelia on a foreign planet, married to a powerful Lord...the couple get involved in high powered politics and civil war, intrigue and espionage.

You will tell from the above that this novel does not contain huge space battles, or even big futuristic battles dirtside. The novel is more about Cordelia and her experience of the events. It is never a boring read and it is from a feminine viewpoint which does fascinate me as a man.

Personally I think this book should be recommended reading for all adolescent boys, to make them more aware of how the other half of the population think about certain things.

However, I am only marking this book as 4 stars out of 5.

Partly because it contains some very cliche characters (the quiet self tortured but loyal aide, the estranged couple that the main characters chuckle about because their shattered love is so easy to fix if only they knew how they felt about each other, etc etc

Partly because although never boring the novel never really gets exciting either. Cordelia is in the midst of hugely important events but the author manages to reduce the situation down to her really wanting a bath, which I would have to call male chauvinism if the author was not a woman!
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on 23 January 2003
It's fun to follow a series you enjoy from the publishing of the first novel, where you can feel your enjoyment grows with the evolution of the series - I feel like I'm in on the secret of how good the series is from the start. But what a joy it is to find an established series and gorge yourself on it to repletion. This is what I have found with the reading of this the first 2 books combined into one volume of the multi Hugo award winning series Vorkosigan Series. It is densely written, full of emotions, politics (yes, Bjuold is able to successfully merge the two), military manoeuvrings and to some extent science. Something for every reader of both science fantasy, and I think also science fiction.
These 2 books (Shards of Honor and Barrayar) are well paired together. They feature the story of how Cordelia Naismith, eventually Mile's mother, comes to meet Lord Aral Vorkosigan. In Shards of Honor the two 'enemies' come to find each other, to survive physical hardship together, and to conquer their emotional pain and fear together. Literally from different worlds, they must play the star crossed pair for most of the book, and Bjuold describes well the pain and loss that Cordelia feels, as the book is told entirely from her viewpoint. Although at first she decides to return to her own 'side' in the interplanetary war, ultimately she joins Aral in Barrayar - there is no doubt of the joy they find in each other. Her leaving her home is not without cost, but the scene in the pavilion where she and Aral come together at last is the most touching of the book.
Barrayar extends from that start, showing Aral and Cordelia's new life together on Barrayar. The feelings of homesickness she undergoes, and regret for the loss of the superior facilities - especially medical - of her own planet are a running theme of the book, as they would be in real life. The politics are less complicated here - I sometimes got lost in 'Shards of Honor' on this point - but nonetheless the foundation of the plot line. Aral is now Regent to the young emperor, and the political intrigues that job brings touches on all aspects of their lives. Aral and Cordelia have to find their feet in a slippery political sphere, and it is not without cost that they do so. Cost to innocents. There are more players here, and if you can work your way past the many 'Vor' prefixes (ruling caste) to sort out the individual players, in this book I found I got to know them more than in 'Shards of Honor' - particularly Sergeant Bothari, so badly damaged and strange (a unique relationship with Cordelia), Kou and Drou. Bjuold is not afraid to have characters come to an untimely end, as many military stories must, and even - or maybe especially - those on 'the right side'.
I loved these 2 stories, and the series promises to be a fantastic one.
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on 3 July 2014
lovely book taut pace and interesting characters
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on 12 August 2015
I find Bujold's work fascinating and engaging. I wish I could write this well!
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on 21 May 2015
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on 5 June 1998
This book is a compilation containing, _Shards of Honor_ and _Barrayar_. Militaristic societies just aren't my thing and I wouldn't normally read books that focus on military heroes and war time exploits. So what got me to read these books? Cordelia. She's intelligent, independent, and in charge.
Cordelia is captain of a Betan expeditiary force exploring a new planet. Most of her crew are killed and she and her remaining crewmember, who is seriously injured, are taken prison by Aral Vorkosigan.
In their journey across the planet, Cordelia and Aral come to admire and trust each other. When next they met, they are on opposite sides of a nasty war. Honor and duty. These two strong characters must each in their own way come to terms with their committment to their subordinates, their governments, and themselves.
Cordelia is a strong character. One that I enjoyed meeting. Her honesty and integrity helped get me involved in this series.
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on 15 November 2001
Cordelia's Honour brings together the two earliest (chronologically speaking) and - for me - best beloved of the "Vorkogiskan Novels", and sets the scene with style and humour for the later adventures of Miles - my favourite hyperactive - and his sometimes stalking horse/sometimes saviour, Ivan! But the person who wrote the original review should read the books - far from being "forced into marriage with her arch enemy" Cordelia abandons her home and family to marry her "dearest enemy". These books are not necessary to enjoyment of the later adventures in this remarkable space opera, but they provide a great deal of detail that is useful in understanding some of the "insider" language and references that seem to pop up.
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on 3 October 1997
By Ed Burkhead
Shards of Honor: This book tells about how two really capable people met, fell in love, "fought" on oposite sides of a war, and handled the end of the war. As is obvious from the title, honor and doing one's duty is high in the theme of the book. But it also includes a lot of humor, pathos, struggle, etc. You will begin to really like the characters in these stories.
Barrayar: The couple, now married and pregnant, have assumed the job of being regents for the planet's child emperor. The child's emperor's vulnerability tempts a rebellion which must be overcome.
Bujold has created fictional characters I care about. If only they were real I would dearly love to move in with them and be part of their family. In spite of their faults, or more often because of them, their accomplishments approach super-human -- as they fall on their faces.
Though most all of the story in both books included in this volume is really engaging, let me summarize with this: near the end of Barrayar, stoic me both leaked actual tears then laughed out loud while reading a single page.
These, followed by "Warrior's Apprentice," and the rest of Bujold's books are now my 1st choice to recommend to anyone. Shards of Honor and Barrayar are chronologically 1st and 2nd in the lives of the characters. Feel free to read Warrior's Apprentice first if you choose.
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on 26 March 1999
Lois McMaster Bujold is one of the best writers out there today, period. She's not afraid to put her characters into tough situations and she's not afraid to take risks.
Every time I read her books I am impressed all over again by how well she draws the reader into the universe where Cordelia and Aral live. I especially love all of Cordelia's comments about the barbarous Barrayaran society she's chosen to live in.
I have recommended this book to several people and all have enjoyed it. Others in the series that blew me away with their intensity were Memory and Komarr (her two latest about Cordelia and Aral's son, Miles.)
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on 5 August 1999
CORDELIA'S HONOR is a compilation of two of Bujold's novels: SHARDS OF HONOR and BARRAYAR. The main character in both is Cordelia Naismith. These are wonderful books, although I thought BARRAYAR is the better written of the two.
I suspect, however, that the person who wrote the above "synopsis" did not read this book at all. Cordelia is not forced into marriage, he is not her arch-enemy, and her husband is made Regent for the young Emperor, who is 5 years old.
If you have not read Lois McMaster Bujold, and you enjoy well-written, thoughtful novels with good characterizations and well-thought-out plots the READ this book. I envy you the opportunity to read her books for the first time.
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