Though this is not nearly my favorite book in the series, it is still exceptional. Bujold is a genius at relaying interpersonal interaction and personal growth in her characters while maintaining a firm grip on their human weaknesses. Like the others in the series, this book sets a darkly funny ambiance.
There is a fantastic change in perspective of the Cetagandans that happens in this book. In the end you don't particullarly love them more, but at least you understand them better and gain a healthy respect of their culture. Some aspects of their society are reminiscent of ancient Japan; the focus on perfection and beauty, the feudal structure surrounding the ruling and military casts, the deceptive power structure, the elitism within the race, and the hidden culture within the culture. I don't know if the conections are incidental or if Bujold intended them, but they add another level of interest to the story.
Ultimately, this is another great story in a string of them from this author.
Technically, Grover Gardner is a competant performer of audio books. He is consistent in his voices and he makes no regular or obvious mistakes. I don't prefer the timber of his voice personally, but eventually you get used to it.
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