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Book Reviews: The Vorkosigan Companion +Cyroburn +The Usurper

The Vorkosigan Companion edited by Lilian Stewart Carl and John Helfers
A guide to the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold. It has essays by McMaster Bujold on her writing and her inspirations. There are also essays by others on including one that reveals how the first in the series ‘Shards of Honor’ started out as a ‘Star Trek’ fan fiction.

There are less interesting info dumps on the biology, technology of the ‘verse as well as summaries, timelines, genealogy, a basic star map and an encyclopaedia.

This is a nice tie-in to the shelf of any Lois McMaster Bujold fan. It would be nice if her ‘Sharing Knife’ and ‘Chalion’ books got similar guides someday.

~
Cyroburn by Lois McMaster Bujold
After a nine year break, McMaster Bujold has written a new Miles Vorkosigan adventure. It’s an okay read but it is disappointingly average. It’s not up there with her best work like ‘Shards of Honor’, ‘Mirror Dance’, Cetaganda’, ‘Memory’ or ‘Borders of Infinity’.

It does herald another major change in the Vorkosigan universe and tells an interesting tale about death and the cheating of and or acceptance thereof. ‘Cyroburn’ just has no spark and Miles’ domestic life has become almost as tiresome as his idiot pack of pet mercenaries did earlier in the series.

Best Line:
“The slowest, subtlest, and, I have to say, creepiest planetary conquest scheme ever devised.”

~
The Usurper: Book Three Of The Chronicles Of King Rolen’s Kin by Rowena Cory Daniels

The royal family have been torn apart and thrown down by betrayal and ambition. Now they have to pick themselves back up again as the saga continues.

The dumb as dirt kingsdaughter Piro is a slave serving the murderers of her family. She must scheme to survive and forge a new destiny as the old one has been swept away.

Her brother Fyn plots and schemes to help their elder brother Byrne reclaim the land but Fyn keeps falling into conspiracies and plots which test his familial loyalty.

As for the put upon Byren he is now the uncrowned king but his throne is occupied by his cousin the traitorous (and ludicrously named) Cobalt. Byren fights to take what he never really wanted: the crown.

Everyone keeps secrets, withholds information and pursues their own selfish agenda thus ensuring the Chronicles Of King Rolen’s Kin will fill many, many more books. This is good but Byren is still too trusting after all he has been through. His parents turned against him and his twin brother tried to kill him on numerous occasions. Still this saga is addictive. So where is Book Four?
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