Review: The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold

Series: Vorkosigan Saga
Published by: Baen
ISBN: 1476781303
ISBN 13: 9781476781303
Published: 1986
Pages: 400
Format reviewed: ePub
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Related Reviews: Reading Challenge: Vorkosigan Saga Project

Still reading in chronological rather than published order, this is the third book I’ve picked up in the Vorkosigan Saga. It’s been odd leaving Cordelia and Aral behind, but I’m so glad we started there as you care for Miles before meeting him, and you can see exactly what drives him as he’s such a blend of his parents. This series continues to be beyond excellent.

In this we also meet Elena, daughter to Sergeant Bothari, who has been raised with Miles and somehow doesn’t find him utterly frustrating, but actually seems to be the perfect partner to his schemes. Level headed, cautious, but a little too excited for danger she is an excellent character to have around, and it’s easy to see why Miles is so smitten with her.

They set off to visit Miles’ grandmother (on Cordelia’s side), but almost immediately tangle about three hair-brained schemes in the first quarter of the book. Instead of showing Elena Beta Colony he’s suddenly adopted two people who should technically be in some sort of jail, has obtained a ship that’s seen better days, and has then fooled another ship-full of people into thinking he’s a political and military mastermind – which, to be fair, he pretty much is. Running short of sleep and high on luck, Miles bounces the reader from high to high and his lack of sleep makes it a high probability that you’ll stay up far too late reading also.

What I love about this book though, is Miles. There are constant references to his disabilities which we saw a little of in the previous book, thanks to the chemical attack on his parents while Cordelia was pregnant with him. Despite countless surgeries when he was younger he has grown to have a crooked spine, shorter left leg (by about 4cms), weak and brittle bones that snap easily, and a head that’s slightly out of proportion to the rest of his body. This leads to people not willing to take him seriously, being unable to gain acceptance into the Imperial Military Academy (which I’m sure he’s the first to do so, on his father’s side) and a slather of other things – all of which he manages to turn to his advantage in a realistic and optimistic way.

What I love about Elena is that she’s somehow figured out what she wants and needs in life. She has her own morals and the courage to stand up for what she knows she needs now, even if that may not always be the easier path.

This is such a romp from one high to another – though not always an good high. When the end plot came around I was thinking oh hell no that can’t happen! Especially with so few pages left… but Bujold pulls it off with finesse and class.

Also? If I hadn’t been accidentally spoiled for a thing then I don’t think I would have believed it had even happened until I got to the end of the book.

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