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Mirror Dance (Vorkosigan Saga, #8)

Mirror Dance (Vorkosigan Saga, #8) - Lois McMaster Bujold If I was a billionaire who can afford to commission a novelist to write a custom made book just for me the desired end result would probably read something like a Lois McMaster Bujold book. Her prose style just clicks with me. Always very clear and accessible, yet graceful, passionate, witty and often humorous. Her writing is never clunky or clumsy, never a word out of place. Even before getting into the actual storyline of the book the narrative style in and of itself is already a pleasure to read.

The Vorkosigan Saga is one of the most beloved long running science fiction series of all time. Unlike classic sci-fi series like Dune.

The book starts off fairly slowly as a lot of political wrangling, bluff and counter bluff take place. The lengthy dialogue in the early part of the book was in danger of becoming repetitious when Ms. Bujold suddenly shifts gear and all hell breaks loose. The sections of the story told from Mark’s point of view are almost equal to the sections told from Mile’s point of view, though the balance leans a little more toward Mark’s side of the story.

Any way, if you are already a fan of the series you will not be disappointed as Mark is just as damaged as Miles but in different ways. He is less physically damaged, not having suffered chemical poisoning at birth, but his conditioning as an assassin left a lot of psychological scars (and a “very particular set of skills” as Liam Neeson would say). Mirror Dance is a versatile novel that swings through quite a few different moods and narrative styles. Sometime it is romantic, sometime mysterious, funny, exciting, harrowing and even horrifying.

The universe of Vorkosigan series is not as epic as something like Reynolds’ [b:Revelation Space|89187|Revelation Space (Revelation Space, #1)|Alastair Reynolds|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1405532042s/89187.jpg|219037] or [a:Peter F. Hamilton|25375|Peter F. Hamilton|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1235123752p2/25375.jpg]’s Commonwealth saga. There are no aliens to speak of and no A.I. overlords but it does depict a human galaxy spanning empire where planets are colonized through FTL travel via wormholes (nobody says hyperspace any more). The setting is more “near future” than these other series and science more believable (FTL travel notwithstanding).

Bujold will always have an advantage in the emotional components of her story telling. Her character development is second to none and she always manages to tackle serious issue without sacrificing the story telling aspect. You can not help but sympathize with the characters’ identity crisis and moral dilemma. The author is always very good at depicting romantic relationships but these are minor aspects of the book. If you prefer scenes of ass kicking to hugs and kisses you will not be disappointed. The details of biotechnology is also nicely worked out with an eye for details and dry wit:

“Patients don't come popping up out of cryo-stasis like a meal out of a microwave. It takes just as much healing as if the original injury hadn't killed them, and more. It will be a couple of days before I can even begin to evaluate his higher neural functions.”

The above passage is both humorous and informative. Bujold’s own particular set of skills.

Mirror Dance is a thrilling, riveting entertaining and even poignant read. No reason why someone can not start reading the series with this particular book, though the author recommends reading [b:Brothers in Arms|296182|Brothers in Arms (Vorkosigan Saga, #5)|Lois McMaster Bujold|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1353351698s/296182.jpg|1808918] first. In any case I can foresee spending a lot more time reading from this series in future (this is my fourth).