This is one of my favorite Lois McMaster Bujold novels--which is high praise, since her body of work is so fine.
The reader is marvelous. Each character has a distinct "voice," creating nearly an audio play for the listener. When I re-read the novel, it is now Kate Reading's voice I hear. Her voicing of the main character is particularly fine.
Fantasy and Science Fiction are my favorite genres, and I've read widely, so I know all too well that the bookstores and library shelves are jam-packed with beautiful heroines...aged 18 or so. As a reader in my forties, this makes me a little wistful, so reading Ista's story was a delight. There are few compelling "mature" female lead characters in fantasy literature. If it weren't for Ista and Granny Weatherwax, I'd just have to start reading--gasp--REALISTIC fiction. Though Bujold's richly imagined worlds are real enough to the reader.
Women characters who THINK! Woohoo!
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