Covered in dog hair, Obsessed with books, Wondering what it's all about. I suspect the answer is ice cream and the ocean.
Format: Audio from Audible
Narrated By: Grover Gardner
Original Publication Year: 1996
Genre(s): Science Fiction (Space Opera)
Series: Vorkosigan Saga (#10 publication order and chronologically)
Dear Ms. Bujold,
It is no accident, I think, that the term master is part of your name.
Memory is the story of the downfall of an often annoying but extraordinary little man and how, as he claws his way back up, he starts to know himself and find a home. Or as one tagline for the books says: “Miles hits 30…Thirty hits back.” And of course thrown into the middle is a lovely and exciting little mystery that must be solved.
I shouldn’t have liked this book. I truly don’t love Miles though Bujold makes sure you at least have an exasperated affection for him. And a full 60 percent is seriously him searching his soul for meaning and identity. I had moments in the first half of the book where I got a little bored, a little frustrated with Miles, but I was never tempted to give up because an idea, a turn of phrase would come up that would make me catch my breath and keep reading. By the end, I was in awe of where we had come and how perfectly it had been orchestrated. Bujold knows how to build a book for the long haul. A book that is greater than the sum of the parts. I see why this is one of the highest rated books in the Vorkosigan series, at least by fans (it has a whopping average rating of 4.41 on Goodreads).
In this book Miles screws up, quite handsomely. He is forced for the first time in his hyperactive life to do nothing and spend time with himself. He is not sure he enjoys his own company and he must face himself and find out who he truly is. At the very depth of his depression, he is distracted by the odd behavior of his long time mentor Simon Illyan, head of Barrayar’s equivalent of the CIA/FBI/Homeland Security Department. When Simon ends up in dire straits in the hospital, Miles is shaken out of his malaise and starts to do what Miles does best – make waves. It’s a neat little mystery…what happened to Simon Illyan… which picks up the book's pace, gives it some focus and helps Miles discover an unexpected calling in life. Also in this book, Gregor, Barraryar’s morose Emperor, finds some happiness along with some other well-deserving characters and Miles and Simon go on the best fishing trip ever.
I have spent the last several years reading through the Vorkosigan series and had accidentally missed this book in the sequence. I really wish I hadn’t! It is a really nice setup, emotionally speaking, for the next two books in the series, Komarr and A Civil Campaign, which would have made so much more sense if I had read this first. Darn it!
One thing this book made me crave was another book about Cordelia, Mile’s mother. She is seriously kick ass and I’d love to see her and Aral at the center of an adventure again!
The narration for the audio book is pretty decent. Grover Gardner has a nice voice but doesn’t really do voices. His phrasing and the way he reads suits the writing and tone of the book however, even if the reading was less than dynamic.
Final verdict is that this is a fantastic book and has a huge payoff for fans of the Vorkosigan series. If you’re looking to start the Vorkosigan Series, for pity’s sake don’t start here!
What's your favorite book in the Vorkosigan saga?