Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vacation reading: "Young Miles"

I'm on vacation... and while that often means I'm running around from romanesque monastery to roman rubble pile, this time it's also a real relaxation vacation. Including beaches and many shady cafes in beautiful old cities (have I mentioned Carassonne already?). Time to slow down, go through the recommendations from friends collected throughout the last months and grab a good book (or two, or three). I started of with "Young Miles", and what a strange start it was...
"It isn't easy, being a Vor lord..." Miles Vorkosigan, age 17, is only son of the emperor's regent and heir to an ancient title himself. Life could be perfect, were it not for that unfortunate assassination attempt on his parents years ago, which left him, err, vertically challenged for life, and with rather brittle bones. When your predestined career is the military, this does not really help... especially if you fail the entrance physical by breaking both legs at the first hurdle of the obstacle course. This, however, is where the story only starts. Our hero is gifted with ego, brains, and a not-just-slightly hyper attitude to bounce from one improbable situation into the next, collecting friends, allies, enemies, and a most crazy storyline. Of course, his adventures include all the things that real academy cadets are told never to expect (even in imperial security, you'll only ever meet ugly male spies), and the chain of command is not really a suitable concept for a little egomaniac like Miles. Kept me laughing for quite some time, and I will have a look at the many already existing sequels sometime soon.
A friend recommended the book to me with the words "like Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones, with less daddy issues and prostitutes", but that comparison is missing a few points. Not as deep as Game of Thrones and not as elaborate, but very much fun relaxation reading. It's a bit like going from Lord of the Rings to the early, light-hearted Harry Potters, and mixing in a dose of Stephanie Plum... :) Oh yeah, and don't get turned off by the book cover. Other people find it strange too and have made way better suggestions...
Lois McMaster Bujold, "Young Miles". Baen Books 2003; ISBN 0-7434-3616-4. Buffo space opera, screwball sci-fi comedy. 4 out of 5 smileys in the Light Reading category :))))!

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