A Civil Campaign: Romance, politics and comedy

A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold

I was afraid I wasn’t going to like A Civil Campaign as well as the previous VORKOSIGAN novels because, according to the description, the plot takes place all on the planet Barrayar and it deals mostly with relationship issues for several of the characters. Most of the various editions of the book sport covers with couples dancing or getting married. So, yeah, I thought it was a romance novel.

Well, A Civil Campaign is a romance novel, but because it involves the romances of Miles Vorkosigan, his clone brother Mark, and his tomcatting cousin Ivan Vorpatril, it is, thankfully, a lot more than that. Along with the romance, Bujold weaves in a few funny subplots that both entertain and advance the plot of the VORKOSIGAN series on the non-romantic fronts, too.

Miles’ goal in this book is to convince the widow Ekaterin Vorsoisson to marry hi... Read More

The Shadow Isle: Penultimate Deverry

The Shadow Isle by Katherine Kerr

We're finally reaching the end of the Deverry saga with The Shadow Isle, the penultimate book in the series. There is a sense of Katharine Kerr pulling together all those strands to finish off the series effectively, but some mysteries are still to be resolved. One thing I am glad of is that I don't actually know what Kerr will do to finish the story — although the Horsekin are currently 'evil', there has been enough switching sides and distinctions made between Horsekin and Gel da Thae for us to realize that no one is outright evil and everybody can be redeemed. In fact, this has been a theme running through the whole Deverry sequence — the idea that all beings (whether human, dwarf, Elcyion Lacar, Horsekin) have the ability to turn to good.

The Shadow Isle picks up where the p... Read More