Book Review: Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold

Title: Young Miles
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Series: Vorkosigan Saga
Publisher: Baen
Paperback: 827 pages
Summary: (Taken from Goodreads)

Washed out of the Barrayaran Military Academy for being overly fragile, Miles Vorkosigan’s natural–if unorthodox–leadership qualities quickly allow him to acquire a fleet of ships and 3,000 troops, all unswervingly loyal to him. In short order, he foils a plot against his father, returns to and graduates from the academy, solves a murder, thwarts an interstellar invasion, and rescues the Barrayaran Emperor.

Overall Rating: 5/5

This is easily one of my favorite books ever. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be. My college roommate hyped it up like crazy, so when I finally got to reading it, I was expecting disappointment because it didn’t seem like it was going to be as good as she promised.

But it was.

This particular edition consists of two novels and a short story that all revolve around a young man named Miles Vorkosigan who has a birth defect (not congenital, he frequently assures others) and because of that is fragile. His bones break under the smallest pressure and he’s less than five feet tall. The problem is that he was born on a militant planet to a very important family. When he washes out of the military academy, he has to find his own path to greatness — and find it he certainly does.

What impressed me the most about this book (and the rest of the series) is the level of characterization. Firstly, I love Miles. He is practically a cripple, but he doesn’t let that stop him, because while his body is weak, he is a genius. I appreciate that Bujold has created a character that doesn’t go into situations and use his strength or extreme fighting prowess to save the day; instead, he thinks about solutions and launches schemes to achieve his goals.

Secondly, all the characters are written in shades of grey; she shows the softer sides of rampaging killers and the darker sides of sheltered researchers. This is achieved through ingenious storytelling. With adventure, mystery, suspense, and plot twists that give you whiplash, I kept turning the pages and the characters kept evolving and growing. All this, combined with in-depth universe (not world) building and fascinating cultures, this book made me want more and more and more.

And don’t think it’s all just running around and doing brave deeds — though there is a lot of that — Bujold adds a lot of humor to these books and I found myself laughing aloud quite often.

I really can’t recommend this book strongly enough. It’s SO good! And I don’t think it’s just for science fiction fans; there is plenty of material for all kinds of readers to find something they like.

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