This novella needed to be read in between the two legit books on my list, so here it is!
Mountains of Mourning
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Before I continue, I have to say… McMaster Bujold’s publisher, Baen, has some of the worst covers ever. None of the Vorkosigan Saga books have a cover I enjoy. Not a single one. No wonder I had to have a friend point out the series to me. Just wanted to say that because THIS cover is just awful for a sci-fi adventure.
This is what I’m talking about! The first book I read this month felt a little scattered and like the beginning of a larger series. This novella’s characters were far more gripping, and it gave me what I think is a better view of Miles. Not only is Miles clever, but he is a full being with complex thoughts.
As well, I don’t think you needed to have read the previous books to get and appreciate this novella. The Warrior’s Apprentice, in my opinion, required you to read Shards of Honor and Barrayar, one of which wasn’t published until 5 years following The Warrior’s Apprentice. “The Mountains of Mourning” was complete in and of itself, and it explained well any elements that you didn’t know before.
Would definitely recommend this story.
5/5 Discoball Snowcones
Unlike the immediately previous book in the series, this was something more of a murder mystery. I tend to like murder mysteries in interesting settings, and Barrayar – backwards and yet futuristic Barrayar – is a fantastic setting for such a thing.
When a newborn’s neck is broken, Miles must search for the killer. Not only is this action intended to bring justice to the now dead babe, but it is intended to show the people of the mountains that it’s not right to kill a baby because of perceived mutations. It fantastically shows the mechanisms of slow change across generations, and the concepts mesh so well with Miles’s internal battle with how to deal with his own severe disabilities.
I did think the evidence to convict the actual killer, the baby’s maternal grandmother, was pretty weak up until the confession was given. Usually, I like murder mysteries to end with an explanation of how the master sleuth figured it out, and I like those suppositions to be both sensible and clever. This one wasn’t especially clever, but the emotional gravitas from the discovery was on point enough that I could overlook it.
I continue the series with the next story in line: The Vor Game.