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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 29 January 2003
Following his death in 'Mirror Dance', Miles finds that there are complications to his recovery - complications that lead to near-disaster on a Dendarii mission. Rather than revealing all to Simon Illyan, Miles attempts a cover up. Found out, he is released from military service. The 'little admiral' must now cease to exist.
It is time for Lord Vorkosigan to come into his own, as a crisis develops over the life of Simon Illyan, as Simon's memory chip appears to go into meltdown. Miles is forced to take drastic action, with the aid of the Emperor, action which ultimately leads to his redemption. And finally Lord Vorkosigan gets a little of the respect that is due to him for his service.
Much less action in this book than previously in the series, the main point of interest aside from trying to work out who if anyone is the baddie here, is the internalisation of Mile's struggle to integrate Admiral Naismmith and Lord Vorkosigan into 'Miles'. The battle is internal and at one hilarious point also external. It is something very different from the previous books in the series, and clearly key to the next phase in Miles' life. He really comes into his own here, and the conflict is ultimately resolved peacefully, if not without losses.
A fantastic addition to the series, if a little slower paced and with less external action than usual. It's about time Miles matured - it will be interesting to see where he goes next.
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on 22 February 2006
In terms of plot and character development Memory is the book which for me best sums up Miles Vorkosigan. Written in the wry and often very amusing style which has become Bujold’s hallmark, ‘Memory’ unfolds at a tremendous pace, starting in one direction and taking an abrupt turn which, if possible, seems even more satisfying than the first. For the almost the first time we see Miles make a mistake, one from which not even his hyperactive imagination can save him. ‘Memory’ brings Miles back to his planet of birth, almost a homecoming, and Bujold brings out new aspects of her characters that we’ve not seen before.
In many ways I felt that Memory marks the point at which Miles Naismith Vorkosigan begins to grow up, we finally find out what the adult Miles’ is like, and satisfying though the younger Miles’ was the adult is even better, this has been well worth the wait. This is possibly the best story she has written, it is difficult to stop reading, even on th 10th re-read!
While technically this is a stand alone volume in the Barrayar series there is so much development done in earlier works that readers won’t get the full benefit without reading those books. That’s just not a problem! Bujold writes real stories, with real characters and plots which are enjoyable.
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on 30 December 2013
This has always been one of my favourites of the vorkosigan saga. It is a detective story with the development of miles as a more mature person going in a different direction. It is of course setting the scene for the next two books which are highly emotional and romantic.
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A horrendous error of judgement sees Miles Vorkosigan summoned back to Barrayar to face disciplinary measures from his superior, head of Imperial Security Simon Illyan. As Miles contemplates a future outside of the military, he becomes aware of a growing crisis in ImpSec. Things are going wrong and the cause may be to horrible to contemplate...

Memory is, chronologically, the tenth out of fourteen books in The Vorkosigan Saga and marks an important turning point in the series. For the previous eight volumes Miles Vorkosigan as been masquerading as Admiral Naismith of the Dendarii Free Mercenaries, carrying out missions for the Barrayan military with total deniability. In Memory that abruptly comes to an end after Miles - suffering the after-effects of his death, cryo-freeze and revival in Mirror Dance - inadvertently slices the legs off a fellow agent he is supposed to be rescuing and then covers it up. The result is the most game-changing novel in the series. Such long-running series tend to do well out of stasis, maintaining the status quo and bringing readers back each time to enjoy the same cast of characters and the same format. Whisking that away can be creatively liberating for the author, but dangerous if the change does not go down well with fans.

In this case the change is well-judged, although it takes a while to execute. At a bit less than 500 pages Memory joins Mirror Dance as one of the longest novels in the series, but it's also a lot less active a book than its forebear. Mirror Dance had multiple POV characters, clandestine infiltrations, full-scale combat missions and a huge amount of character development packed into its pages. Memory, fitting its title, is more relaxed and reflective a novel. It gives Miles a chance to dwell on everything that's happened to him and what he is going to do with his life now his default position has been snatched away.

This reflective mode works well for a while, but it starts to bog down the book. As amusing as seeing Miles tackling getting a pet cat, hiring a new cook or going fishing is, it goes on for a bit too long. When the mystery kicks in and Miles is granted extraordinary powers by the Emperor to sort things out, it's a relief and soon the mystery is unfolding nicely. However, the longueurs at the start of the book lead to the investigation and resolution taking place quite rapidly and a little too neatly. There also isn't much personal jeopardy for Miles. This may be the point, as the book is more about Miles's growth and maturing as a character, but there is the feeling that this story could have been told a little more effectively as a novella. That said, it does bring about some dramatic changes in the set-up of the series and is among the best-written books in the series.

Memory (****) opens slow but finishes strong and succeeds in its task of resetting the series and giving Miles a new job to do.
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on 31 March 2014
This is most definitely a sequel and needs to be read with background knowledge of both of Mile's personae. A true tale of triumph out of tragedy. Used up hard and fast, betrayed by his own body, led into tragedy by fear of losing himself or his alter ego. I love the sense of internal battle as much as I despaired for its need. Yet this is not the whole of the book and a plot for power in ImpSec that topples the mighty Illyan reignites Miles sense of purpose. Old characters are brought back and dusted off, Dr Canuba is a linchpin in the problem solving process. Miles comes back from his funk mentally stronger than ever, the Dendarii are now forever denied him but he has a new persona in his pocket!
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on 29 June 2013
I always know I'm going to enjoy/admire/relish one of Bujold's books, but this time, about half way through, I realised that she had brought me to a point when I really cared - for Miles, the emperor, the chauffeur, the cat, the stupid cousin... They have actually become real to me, like friends. I remember them like people I meet in 'real' life.

What an achievement.
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on 14 October 1998
I don't regret buying this book.
As the latest book that I've read of Miles's adventures, perhaps it is a wee bit flat. Not very exciting overall. BUT I totally love this book as it expands and (conversely) encapsulates the Vorkosigan world approx. 230 odd years since 'Falling Free'. Similar to Asimov's style - for the series portraying the possible future of a (rather) roboticised world - of not making a continuous character the continual central character, Miles Vorkosigan is subsumed in the events surrounding his life, i.e. the intrigue against Illyan, rather than causing chaos (as in the Little Admiral's adventures). Bujold treats Miles as she did Ethan of Athos, as eyes to tell a greater story and yet a character in his own right.
I enjoyed reading the little digressions from the central theme, relating the details of other people in Miles' life, such as his Emperor, and Miles' friends from previous adventures. I also enjoyed the method by which new and interesting characters are introduced into "our" Vorkosigan world. (Analogous to past Pratchett 'Discworld' books, where the most laugh-on-a-bus of the story is a mere footnote.) Wait 'til you meet Zap the cat.
Dare I say that Miles grows up? I believe that 'Memory' is more than a mere sci-fi mystery wi' a bit of psychology thrown in. It is a good story set in an interesting world, populated with believable characters. Miles' personality becomes more complex (as we all should when we grow), and Miles learns to know himself better (as I wish I could), and a sub-theme throughout seems to be "life goes on".
I wouldn't catergorise 'Memory' as puff pastry, but maybe puff savoury (as only Miles' new cook can make it - with perhaps a side dip, or a filling of dairy products after it passes through the cook's domain ). That's the way I see it, that's the way I call it.
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on 23 November 1998
Mad Miles continues continues his breathtaking dance along the edge of insanity. His is the most delicate and convincing brush with psychosis since that by the Prince of Denmark. But Miles Vorkosigan is a deeper and more subtly crafted character than Hamlet.
This book sees Miles explore his Barrayarran personality - indeed the author implies that Miles Naismith is dead. That would be a shame, but she certainly proves that she can develop superb plots around Miles Vorkosigan, a character she deepens considerably in this book.
Bujold continues to demonstrate that the supernova brilliance of "Mirror Dance" was not a fluke. Her style has matured since her earliest works, and is more consistent now. She is not as prolific as Asimov, as grounded in Science as Clarke, or as imaginative as Heinlein, but she is a better writer than any other, in this genre or outside it. It is her characterisation that defines her genius. Its like has not been seen for centuries.
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on 7 June 2013
The Vorkosigan books - and particularly those about Miles Vorkosigan - are excellent and this is no exception. The characters are wonderfully drawn, the story is fast paced and pulls you in from the start and even guessing whodunnit doesn't detract from the interest. I particularly liked the interplay of 2 downfalls and subsequent redemptions (though not either is quite as you might imagine). Although the author likes all her books to stand alone, this is one which I would strongly recommend is read after at least The Warrior's Apprentice, if not the other Miles books that chronologically precede this one. But, yes, read it!
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on 28 January 2013
Memory is one of my favourite books in the Vorkosigan Saga. It's both very sad in places, and extremely funny. Ivan gets the chance to step into the limelight, as do Simon Illyan and Lady Alys. Miles suffers terribly, but often in a rather entertaining way.
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