Review Blog

Jan 11 2011

Cyroburn by Lois McMaster Bujold

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Baen Books, 2010. ISBN 9781439133941.
(Age 15+) Recommended. The latest in the award winning Vorkosigan series has Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan travelling to Kibou-daini, a planet obsessed with cheating death. There he attends a conference on cryo-freezing people while investigating a cryocorp that is trying to establish itself in the Barrayaran Empire. On Kibou-daini, Miles faces an attempted kidnapping, drags himself through tunnels full of frozen bodies and is rescued by a young boy whose mother has been frozen because of the secrets about the big corporation that she has uncovered. As usual, Miles embraces the danger whole-heartedly and strives to weave his way through the conspiracy that unfolds.
Fans of the Vorkosigan series and Lois McMaster Bujold will welcome the return of Miles. Bujold has created a world in outer space that feels very credible and Miles flings himself straight into adventures and situations that are always fascinating. The concept of people hoping to foil the finality of death by freezing is explored as well as the prospect of delaying old age.
In depth characterisation is a hallmark of Bujold's writing, and this book sees Miles several years on with children of his own. He is still the old impetuous Miles, whose brilliance helps him overcome all sorts of odds and come up with plans that bewilder those around him. The young boy Jin, with his love of animals and his sister Mina, are attractive protagonists; their youth and vulnerability adds to the attraction of this series for teen readers.
Bujold has the knack of writing witty repartee and funny scenes and I was dragged along with Miles as he goes from one chaotic adventure to the next. An unexpected ending could mean a whole new series of different adventures for Miles and I for one would welcome them.
A bonus to the book is the free CD that comes with it. Not only does it have interviews and speeches with the author, but you can download the whole series of books to your e-reader device or computer.
Pat Pledger

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