Fantasy fanatic, sci fi dabbler
Miles Vorkosigan casts a very long shadow. I've always liked Ivan, but in previous novels he has never really been given a chance to shine (except for A Civil Campaign, he was brilliant in that). Usually he is just chugging along, doing his 9-5 job (exceptionally well) and flirting with women, until Miles comes barging into his life and drags Ivan along in the wake of his craziness.
This time, Ivan gets dragged from his day-to-day existence and into the crazy again, but instead of Miles it's Byerly Vorrutyer doing the dragging. As poor By is in over his head, however, Ivan is forced to be proactive instead of cruising along in another's wake.
Taj is a bit of a kindred spirit. She was literally the normal, genetically speaking, among her numerous gene-enhanced and talented siblings. She like Ivan was overshadowed by the rest of her family, even though she is quite clever and talented in her own right. Her entire family is rumored to have been killed by a rival Jacksonian house and she and her odd-sister Rish are on the run from bounty hunters.
Ivan rather gallantly marries Taj to save her from deportation, suicide and or bounty hunters (which may sound overly dramatic, but the author had to get Ivan to marry somehow!), which sets off a chain reaction involving Jacksonian contracts, snake wrangling, family politics, Alys being her subtly manipulative self, an ill-advised bet, people smugglers, rumoured Cetagandan treasure, and a gradual sweet romance between Ivan and Taj.
Some of my other favourite bit-players get a chance to shine as well - the back and forth between Ivan and By was fantastic, and Simon Ilyan has a substantial role in his quiet way. Ivan and Taj had some interesting perspectives on some of my other favourites like Simon Ilyan, Alys Vorpatril, Emperor Gregor and of course Miles, which I really enjoyed as it let me see them from another point of view. Cordelia and Aral unfortunately didn't get any screen time, though Ivan does spend some time musing on them (as he does with everyone else) - if you've read Cryoburn you'll know why I'm disappointed.
About the performance, I am not a fan of Grover Gardner's voice. There were places where his acting was a bit off, I don't think his voice suited Ivan's at all and there was very little distinction between some characters. I've given him a 3 because he did a decent job and I still managed to enjoy the book.
I suggest that you read A Civil Campaign before reading Captain Vorpatril's Alliance - not only is A Civil Campaign awesome, but it sets up Alliance very well, and there are events in A Civil Campaign (concerning Byerly and Donno Vorrutyer, hint hint) that will be spoiled if you don't read it first
It would not be part of the VorKosigan saga without Mr.Gardner!
Great addition to the series. Am waiting for the next.
This book has my favorite moments of Ivan, who has largely irritated me most through most of the series. Tej is truly a beautiful character discovering who she is and growing from her trauma into appositive and wild unknown. Rish makes an interesting combination with Byerly. Ivans creative if not impromptu solution to Tej's dilemma was hilarious. I cheered for Tej and Ivan for about half the book until her family showed up. They are more obnoxious than the family of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I got to a point were I was tempted to not finish the book. That's never happened with Lois. I'm usually riveted by every paragraph in a chapter. With this book, I literally had to discipline myself to muscle through. I kept telling myself, "This is Vorkosigan series. It has to get better!" It did get better and had quite an inventive ending. I suppose it was worth it. I hope the next book is better.
I am sad to learn that there's only one more book in the series. Like Game of Thrones I will be like all the other fans just waiting for the next book to get my fix. Lois has taken us on quite a ride and I am sad at the idea of finding a new favorite author to fill my voracious reading appetite.
Lois bujold books read by grove Gardner were my first great find on audible. Love the vor series and it's character focused development instead of a science fiction focus.
Through most of the series, Ivan is the sidekick. Our focus is on miles, and Ivan is less inspired, less driven. In this book, the focus is one Ivan, he is a good man, and quite CREATIVES at need. He just refers not to try all limits and yah himself at all times. An ImpSec agent and a beautiful refugee need Ivan's help, and the consequences are surprising. And hilarious.
The narration and fast pace.
Oh, yes. I've listened to many books narrated by Mr. Gardner.
This was a fun book that didn't take itself too seriously but the world was fully fleshed out and full of realistic and relatable relationships. There is a not-so-subtle satiric tone that really enhances to story.
I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, this is a long book. I'm glad I did, in fact it doesn't seem very long now. I hope the others are as much fun as this one! Grover Gardner's narration was wonderful!