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I hadn't read any Bujold (or SF) before but this was highly recommended and so I gave it a go - and really enjoyed it. The 'space' element was less scary than I expected and I really liked the sense of a whole real universe going on in the background complete with histories, wars and conflicts that the author didn't feel it necessary to spend endless pages explaining. Miles is a great character and I liked the fact that this wasn't a conventional romance with Ekaterin getting to know and like him without falling in love immediately. I am now intrigued to know all the back history but also want to know what happens next...so which do I read first?
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on 17 February 2014
Can't get enough of Miles Vorkosigan! A hero who is all too human but who doesn't let a lack of height stop his rise to the top!
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on 27 September 2012
To really appreciate this book, you need to have read some of the preceding books in the series. However, you can still enjoy it on its own.

In this book, we meet Ekaterin Vorsoisson, unhappy wife of Etienne Vorsoisson, a Barrayaran administrator on conquered Komarr. It's her apartment where Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan comes to stay (with her uncle, Imperial Auditor Professor Vorthys) when investigating the origins of a planetary disaster: was it accident, incompetence - or sabotage?

Interestingly, in this book, Ekaterin is the main point-of-view character. In most of the other Vorkosigan Saga books, this is Miles, so this represents a change. But the change works extremely well. Not only do we get to see Miles as strangers see him, but we get the point of view of someone who does not routinely move in the same rarefied social, political and military circles as Miles. Ekaterin grew up in a provincial town; she has followed the socially-acceptable life path for a young Vor girl (wife and mother) but it has not brought her happiness. Now we get to see not only how the 'other half' lives, but also how Ekaterin reacts to Miles' famous forward momentum and you-can-do-anything-and-the-universe-had-better-get-out-the-way attitide.

As usual with Bujold's books, all of her characters are living beings. She manages to write people so that even the ones you never meet - who are only referred to in one line spoken by a walk-on character - seem to conjure up a whole image and personality. Bujold delights in the ridiculous, but she can be serious too, often by stealth. We meet Ekaterin's husband, a lonely, frightened man whose loneliness and fear are all his own fault, or the fault of his clinging to increasingly outmoded social mores. We get to see the effect of this self-destructiveness not only on Etienne himself, but also on his wife and son. We meet Komarrans, too. The inhabitants of a conquered planet, we meet the ones who have accepted the conquest and the ones who have not, and their different ways of dealing with the fact that their once-independent planet is now part of the empire ruled by the people they once dropped in the mire by allowing an invasion fleet through their wormhole. Along the way, Bujold manages to give us a whistle-stop tour of several important issues, but we also get hilarious scenes such as Miles' and Ekaterin's disastrous shopping trip.

This is one of my favourite books in the Vorkosigan Saga, and I've read it many times. There's enough social commentary in there to satisfy the intellect, but enough sheer fun that you always feel better after you've read it.
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on 25 October 2005
Now a proper Imperial Auditor, Miles is sent to Komarr to investigate the destruction of the solletta array designed to warm up cold Komarr.
A lot of the book is written from the point of view of Ekaterin Vorsoisson both before and after the death of her husband which gives it an unusual air. As Miles comes to terms with his appointment as an Imperial Auditor and the powers appertaining thereto, he makes a number of blunders that have serious consequences. Komarr, the book, marks a change of pace from the earlier books, changing the focus of action from fleet sized action to a more personal level of interaction (though not necessarily less intense!).
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on 2 December 1998
Komarr gives this lovely look at what Miles is like now that he's actually grown up, or at least just this side of being a true adult with all the characteristics and all the consequences of his youthful impetuousness. And all his old experiences really, really do come back to, if not haunt him, at least stay with him and give him the room to learn more, to be more, and to do better yet. Old failures leading to new successes.
The viewpoints switch mostly between Miles and that of Ekaterin Vorsoisson, the wife of a Barryaran Administrator on Komarr, and it follows Miles and his fellow Auditor (who is also Ekaterian's uncle) Vorsoisson as they investigate the destruction of the majority of Komarr's main sunlight reflector, which the planet needs as an energy source for the terraforming that is necessary to bring it up to livable standards.
Unlike the other Vorkosigan novels, there isn't quite as much action. It reminds me, in some ways, of Cetaganda, but entirely a different mystery and Miles, himself, is extraordinary in this one. One thing that Bujold said during the interviews was that the things that happened in Memory were, in part, that she felt that Miles should finally get some consquences, lasting consequences, from his actions. In Komarr I got to see Miles as he was after dealing with those consequences, facing them and trying his best to work with them, now, and not simply deny them or push them off.
Ekaterian's story is marvelous, frightening, in some ways as I've way too much empathy for it and her feelings. Her loyalty to a husband who limits her and protects her and does his level best to keep her the way he thinks she should be kept is something that resonates at some level; and how she breaks free, first in desperation, then by necessity is an amazing story in and of itself. I love her, utterly.
What's so lovely about her is that Bujold make her a living, breathing, frightened, loving, confused human being. Real in so many ways. As she does with so many of her characters, but I think the baseline of what makes Bujold's books so interesting is that she makes them real, flawed human beings that are put into extraordinary circumstances; and in those circumstances, they respond. They do the right thing, they do the loving thing, they do the loyal or the frighteningly brave thing, the thing that makes my heart go to my throat or make me cry kind of thing that usually involves showing just how much human beings are capable of doing.
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on 10 September 2016
Since discovering Lois McMaster Bujold I have been reading my way through the Vorkosigan saga in her suggested chronological order. I've enjoyed every single book, but this one I enjoyed so much that I have to stop for a long overdue review.

Bujold is a great writer of wonderful, well-plotted, compelling stories about people as real as any you will meet in fiction. This series is quite old, and so from a Sci-Fi technical perspective, particularly IT, it is clunky and out of date (though the thought of Miles Vorkosigan with a neural lace implant is just frightening!). Even for a lover of Ian Banks, though, Bujold's people are peerless. They are real, fully drawn, brilliantly observed. She gives attention to all the little things that make people individuals; petty faults and little graces. She has a wonderful sense of humour, chuckling along below the surface for much of the time and occasionally bursting out in a spring of delight. Her romantic streak is at least as wide as Barrayar, and why not?

I cheered, I laughed, I read curled up in my chair for hours when I should have been doing other things. No need for more, or for spoilers. Just to say that if you are new to this series, you could start with this book because of its unusual viewpoint - previous books have mainly focused exclusively on Miles, and Ekaterina's viewpoint allows you to see him from outside as well as within. It might be quite fun to start here, in fact, and then find out how Miles came to be later in your journey of enjoyment.

Ms Bujold, I salute you. Wonderful stuff.
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on 18 September 1998
I would not give this book to someone new to the series - as a standalone book, it is very subdued, and for those people it would only rate 2 stars. However, if you have read the series and have really grown to care about Miles, then it is a teriffic book. Several reviewers seem to miss the no-holds-barred Miles, but they've missed the point. He has to grow up sometime. At one point Miles says, "I used to always fight the powers-that-be, but now I am them." That, and his new love interest, is what this book is about.
The real delight of this book is to see Miles through a newcomer's eyes, but it takes some getting used to compared to the other books. Had I reviewed the book after my first reading, I would have given it only 3 stars. But the depth of Bujold's characterizations and her gift for staging some truly incredible scenes show no signs of weakening here. With subsequent readings, you develop an even better appreciation of exactly what Bujold has wrought.
I must take strong exception to those who disdain Ekaterin as a potential partner for Miles. The true achievment here is that Bujold has crafted a character that is truly believable as a possible partner for Miles, a task that I thought impossible after finishing "Memory." Ekaterin starts as an apparently weak person, but that appearance grows from the underlying strength of her character. She is a study in contrasts, but that's nothing new for Miles lovers, eh? No "normal" woman would put up with what she does, but she stands by her committments, and above all, to paraphrase, she's Vor.
When relieved of her crushing personal circumstances, she begins to blossom into her potential. This is a consistent theme throughout this series, that Miles is the ultimate enabler of others to be their best. Even while this growth is occuring, however, she remains consistent with her core beliefs. Ekaterin is a truly remarkable achievment.
So, why not 5 stars? Because the story line is somewhat weak, and does mainly serve as a backdrop for this new character development. There are portions that flare with the same intensity of the rest of the series, but the resolution does seem a bit too simplistic, and curiously lacking in real planet-gripping edge-of-your-seat drama. Again, this is why this story is not a good one to start the series with.
If you feel you know Miles inside and out, though, then various scenes throughout the book (especially the last 4 pages) are a sheer delight to read. Ekaterin provides a perspective on Miles that beautifully sharpens the reader's picture of him. I felt I could see the intensity on his face as he says, "The next number up is one." Want to know what the heck that means? Read the book!
Relative to the rest of the series, I would place this book at the lower end, but not the lowest ("Cetaganda" claims that spot - the only book I skipped on my last trip through the series). Still, that puts it in pretty good company, since the series overall is 5-star by me...
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on 25 May 1998
Every time I pick up a book by this author, I expect to be carried away for several hours, and then wonder why the story ends so quickly. Komarr is no exception to this rule. It went down like candy and I'm still hungry. The worst thing I could say is that it may be another two years until the next dessert. Bujold is an expert at creating page turning stories, and in Komarr, you cover a lot of ground in a very few pages. Those who love Miles Vorkosigan will be thrilled that he may (get that, MAY) have finally found his love. Guess we'll have to wait two more years to find out. Hint, hint!
The story is a look into the potential for intellectuals on a conquered world to rebel in their own fashion, only they make interesting mistakes. Their plot could strike a larger blow than any war in history. Miles has to use mind against mind, unlike earlier books where he uses mind against might. There are some nice new charactors, and some of the book is told from the perpective of the love interest, which is fresh, like the parts of Mirror Dance told from Mark's and Rowan's points of view. Moreover, the book shows us where Miles' charactor must be headed, given his medical issues and need to fill his father's shoes. I was quite pleased to have a potentially ongoing new female charactor to hear from, as Cordelia's tales in Shards and Barrayer were second to none.
The only minor issues in this book were that it was somewhat more 'playfully' written, and not as intense as some of her earlier works, and there were a couple of all to convient deaths.
All in all, another outstanding work from the best sci fi writer there is.
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on 2 July 1998
The strength of Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayaran series lies in her unique and memorable characters, in particular, the brilliant, physically handicapped Miles Vorkosigan and his equally redoubtable parents, Aral and Cordelia. This is not to say that Bujold hasn't concocted memorable plots as in the white-knuckle, roller-coaster ride of *Mirror Dance* and the more reflective, but no less eventful *Memory.* *Komarr* 's plot, however, is secondary to the introduction of another major character, Ekaterin Vorsoisson, the uneasy wife of an administrator in charge of the Komarran terraforming project. Assigned to investigate the mysterious collision of an ore ship with one of Komarr's all-important solar mirrors, Miles, now an Imperial Auditor, finds himself instantly drawn to Ekaterin, who's hiding secrets of her own. When an unexpected tragedy occurs, Miles and Ekaterin find themselves working closely together to avert a disaster of planetary proportions! Relayed through two viewpoints--Miles and Ekaterin's in alternating chapters--*Komarr* gives readers the first sustained look into the mind and heart of a Vor woman, whose feelings towards her home world of Barrayar are as ambiguous as Miles's own. Under the worst of circumstances, Ekaterin finds reserves of strength and fortitude she never dreamed she possessed, as well as an ally who delights in her transformation. Has Miles found his Lady Vorkosigan at last?
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on 15 September 1998
After spending a year breathlessly hoping that Memory wasn't the last of the series, I read about Komarr here at Amazon and immediately rushed to the local bookstore and bought it.
Wow! I love Bujold's characters and this time she seems to have created the answer to Miles' dreams and prayers for marriage material in the person of Ekaterine. The end of the book foreshadows a marriage between the two of them...but with Bujold you never can tell. Miles may screw everything up, or someone (Ivan) may screw it up for him!
Nothing is ever certain in Bujold's universe, not even death. That is one of the reasons why I've not grown bored with her series.
Komarr focuses on both Miles' new associates in the Auditors and on Komarr, the planet his father conquered and the people who hate the name Vorkosigan with all their being. Miles goes with a fellow Auditor to Audit the destruction of the vitally-important solar mirror and ends up discovering a conspiracy (naturally) that takes a wrong turn and goes completely wrong. In the meantime, he falls in love with another Vor's wife! He finally discovers something that's been haunting him for years, grows a bit, and becomes more comfortable with his role as Auditor.
I would talk more about it but one of the people I lent Komarr to won't give it back so I have to buy it again. Hey -- anything to keep Bujold writing!
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