Apr. 15th, 2016

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I've been listening to Bujold's vorkosigan series as audio books. I've read a few here and there, but never in any particular order. I recently discovered that a very nice set of recorded audio book versions are available from the library in an app called Hoopla. I decided to listen to them, all of them, start to finish.

I'm a few hours into Captain Vorpatril's Alliance now. Thought I might pause to set down some thoughts.

I'm enjoying it, but not as much as I did the earlier installments. I was eager to observe the Ivan character from his own point of view. But so far it's felt kinda "stock". It's oddly _external_ still. Hasn't helped me understand how Ivan thinks of Ivan.

Also the tropes are starting to feel a bit repetitious.

We're at the point where the reader (and other characters) are aware of feelings that Ivan is denying. I'm finding this boring and repetitive, instead of amusing. Wasn't so long ago that Komarr / A Civil Campaign tread the same ground.

And the impulsively save some poor soul by tying them to your imperial-relative-protection racket is a retread of Miles doing the same thing with sworn-liegeman status, against slightly different problems.

I'm hoping for a twist such as the title character choosing to LEAVE his homeworld and follow the off worlder. It was Miles who had the indelible home-loyalty/patriotism that drove narrative tension as his romantic interests repeatedly had no interest in his home. And yes, that's undeniably part of his character. But I suspect Ivan's emotional approach could be quite different, in-character. The things that are sticking points for him should be different!

I said the story is "external". Maybe it will pick up (I'm not very far in yet). So far, it seems like the writer can't decide if Ivan or Teigh is the point of view character. But if it's going to be Teigh, I'm disappointed that her big make-decisions odessey (the flight from Jackson's Whole) is all backstory. In a Miles book (and the Cordelia book, too), I expect to ride along and watch it unfold unexpectedly. But instead, it's already done history, just being revealed piecemeal.

And in contrast, the love story aspect appears to be unfolding NOT unexpectedly. Only the protagonists are surprised, not the guessing-ahead reader. This is irony, not suspense.

Well, some suspense will surely come in, later. There's lots more to go.

All that aside, I have been enjoying the series. I even found Ethan Of Athos to be a catchy story, when encountered in the matrix of the other tales. Quinn!


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