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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
The Vor Game
Format: Mass Market Paperback|Change

on 22 October 2013
Never a dissappointment when you open a Bujold book. Vorkosigan series an absolute delight. Miles becomes real through her words.
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on 23 March 2017
Classic Bujold, classic Miles Vorkosigan! For those unfamiliar with the series, space opera at it's best.
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on 3 January 2012
This is pretty much a sequel to The Warrior's Game, and I recommend reading that excellent novel first. For those familiar with the earlier adventure of Miles Vorkosigan, it's good to see him up to his old tricks again.

This is very much a books of three acts. The first sees Miles assigned to a frozen base in an attempt to prove his humility and ability to serve within the military. How he struggles with this, and the various scrapes he gets into at the base, are enjoyable but merely a prelude to his confrontation with a ruthless commander, one that will have lasting ramifications for his career.

His actions lead into the second act, which is largely a tale of intrigue as Miles has to pose as an arms dealer for Barrayar's intelligence service. It's a job that will introduce him to both a frightening adversary and to his friend and emperor Gregor, who has problems of his own. This section is full of close shaves and twists, and allows Bujold to further develop her protagonist as he struggles to survive.

The third and finest act sees a welcome return to the Dendarii Mercenaries, the group Miles inadvertently formed in the earlier story. It's nice to see characters like Elena again, and sees an upshift to full military space action as Miles and his allies have to stop a dastardly scheme that spells trouble for all.

Bujold seems to impress more with each installment of the Vorkosigan saga. Her facility with her characters and the intricate plots she weaves for them are refreshing in these days of shallow protagonists and simplistic narratives.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 5 January 2014
Miles Vorkosigan graduates from the Imperial Academy on Barrayar and is immediately assigned as a weather specialist on a remote arctic base. Given that he knows nothing about weather science and was expecting a space posting, Miles is unhappy with his assignment. However, what starts off as a minor job soon has Miles travelling to distant worlds, hooking up with some old friends (and enemies) and getting embroiled in a major interstellar incident. In other words, it's business as usual.

The Vor Game is the fourth novel (by chronology) in The Vorkosigan Saga and the second to feature its signature character of Miles. The novel picks up after the events of The Warrior's Apprentice with Miles now graduated from the Academy and ready to start his life of military service. As previously, Miles's physical weaknesses (he suffers from brittle bones and is stunted due to a poison gas attack on his then-pregnant mother) both hinder his ability to get involved in the action and also act as an easy means for his enemies (and friends he's trying to avoid) to identify him. Once again, Miles has to use his wits and intelligence to overcome obstacles and emerge on top.

This time around the obstacles include a psychotic military base commander, almost dying of exposure, being captured, being enslaved, almost being shot and being pursued by a lunatic femme fatale with delusions of becoming Empress of Barrayar. As with The Warrior's Apprentice, the book starts simply enough and then snowballs, accumulating plot points, characters and complications with almost frenzied energy.

As with its forebear, the book is a highly readable, page-turning experience. Bujold knows how to pace even a complicated story (and between the bluffs and double-bluffs, this book has become fairly complex by the time it ends) well and combine it with action as well as character-building material. A key theme in this novel is that Miles has problems with subordination, which is a bit of a problem in a military hierarchy, and his way of dealing with the crisis in this novel provides an idea on how Barrayar can use him to further its goals despite his limitations.

As usual, Bujold mixes out-and-out moments of high comedy (though The Vor Game isn't as much of a comedic romp as The Warrior's Apprentice) with darker moments. Despite starting in a completely different place, it's also very much a continuation of The Warrior's Apprentice, with some character arcs continuing between the two novels. If The Vor Game has a major problem, it's that it's slightly too reminiscent of its forebear. This is very much The Further Adventures of Miles Vorkosigan and if you enjoyed the previous book, you'll like this one too. Bujold knows how to tell a ripping yarn and keep the pages flying, but this novel lacks originality and it lacks the previous novel's ability to spin on a dime between tragedy, comedy and drama. I was rather surprised to learn that The Vor Game is a Hugo Award-winning novel, both because it wasn't as good as the competition (The Fall of Hyperion was a better novel in the same year, probably Earth as well) and it's not quite as good as The Warrior's Apprentice.

Still, The Vor Game (****) is a fine, entertaining SF novel. It is available now in the UK and USA as part of the Young Miles omnibus, along with The Warrior's Apprentice and the novella The Mountains of Mourning.
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on 4 February 2002
Unlike many Sci-Fi authors, Bujold does not burden her readers with complex societal histories or baffle them with technobabble. Set in the indeterminately distant future where Earth seems to have been abandoned and humans inhabit a range of differing worlds (some inhabited by non-humans) linked by wormholes, Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series are simple and accessible without detracting from sophisticated plotting and excellent characterisation. In this particular novel, Miles, by now in the Imperial Service (though soon to be disgraced), becomes caught up in an increasingly dangerous heightening of interstellar tensions. Quite where the pressure is coming from, or rather, who is planning to attack who, remains unclear, and Bujold's plotting is first-rate as the reader is kept guessing along with Miles. Characters carry over from her previous Vorkosigan tale, The Warrior's Apprentice, which adds extra depth to the already well-portrayed characters, but, as I've said before, part of the beauty her writing is that you could quite happily read her novels as one-offs, without losing a great deal; conversely, to read them in order is a real treat. Intriguing and exciting stuff.
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on 15 December 2011
I read this when it first came out and heartily enjoyed it but I re-read it again recently and found it to be shallow and predictable. The first time round I was young, naive and to be honest had not read much.

Don't get me wrong its not so awful that I couldn't finish it. Its just that after about a third of the way through the story, which has been developing nicely into a mystery, it suddenly changes direct into what reads like a rehash of the Warriors Apprentice. The hero's actions suddenly feel like they have no consequence and there is little real sense of threat or danger to him. Gone is the very real sense of for shadowing that had been building nicely and instead everything becomes very immediate and convenient. It goes from being a novel that was genuinely interesting and dealing with racial/sexual/disability prejudice, the military's role in society and the pressures of familial responsibility into a merely adequate piece of pulp fiction. Many in my Bookclub club felt the same way.

By all means give it a go but after the 'discovery in the drain' keep your ear's open for a screeching sound. Its the sound of the book suddenly changing direction without explanation....
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on 23 April 2003
After a failing the physical admission trials at the military academy, Miles takes of in to space to get away from his failure. Soon, by default, he gets involved in an extremely dangerous conflict with, and within, a mercenary fleet. He succeeds to end up on top of the situation, using his by no means small ingenuity (and luck) and comes out with a lot more then he came in with.
This story is extremely entertaining, the plot good and unforeseeable. It is nice to see that excitement can be achieved so successfully and without the world being at stack. This book is by no means simple and the story respects the characters a LOT more than is the rule in SF and fantasy. Things happen, not to further the plot but because of the reasonable actions of the characters (no stupid acts to because the story have to go in one direction or another).
Having read more then 200.000 pages of SF and fantasy this book is one I always hand out to get my friends started.
I know I could tell more about the story line but since it is for once unpredictable, I say read it instead!
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on 17 May 1999
more or less once a year. It's amazing, a great adventure, a lot of suspence, a peculiar hero... and you laugh to death. I read almost everything that she wrote, and I loved everything, but this is one of her best.
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on 2 January 2014
I have to admit this is one of my favourites of the series and I have read it many times. The first part is particularly hilarious.
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on 31 December 2015
If you like Vorkosigan books or just Sci Fi read this.. no .. in fact read them all. They are all excellent.
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