Book Review: The Vor Game

This year, I wanted to read a few series – or, in the case of the Vorkosigan Saga here, read a few more entries in a series. This is the last book I’ll be reading in the Saga this year, and I hope you enjoy the review!

The Book

51nnxlk6j-lThe Vor Game
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
1990
Amazon Link

I really liked the Vorkosigan Saga books I read in 2018 (Shards of Honor and Barrayar).  The Vor Game is the third book in the series I’m reading this month, the fifth I’ve purchased and read in the series.

Non-Spoiler Review

This book was better than the first one I read this month, The Warrior’s Apprentice but not as good as Shards of Honor or Barrayar mentioned earlier. I think the problem of Miles running into coincidences, both good and bad, remains one of my main complaints here. However, unlike in The Warrior’s Apprentice, the events of this book feel more important in their own rights, and the results more final. That alone gives The Vor Game a leg up over its predecessor.

Another element that The Vor Game has going for it is the well-defined Barrayaran culture. It comes through more clearly in this installation, if only because McMasters-Bujold contrasts it better with the other cultures. It also gives you an idea that Miles wishes to improve Barrayar rather than leave it for something better, which adds to his depth of character.

Overall, this book has restored my faith that the Vorkosigan Saga is a series I should continue in the future, though perhaps the Miles books aren’t as good as the Cordelia ones for me.

4/5 Discoball Snowcones

4 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

The focus on Miles’s military career also gives this book a more coherent story to the book. I think the plot jumps around a bit too much, but it’s still… better than The Warrior’s Apprentice.

However, much like that first Miles book in the series, The Vor Game focuses on Miles getting in trouble with his military post, then outsmarting his superiors and caretakers to lead him to an accidental command post in a war. He then must deal with Elena Bothari-Jesek, who he loves but has married someone else and become an excellent soldier in her own right. All of these things happened in The Warrior’s Apprentice, and these aren’t the elements I liked about The Vor Game.

The villains in The Vor Game made more sense. The people in this book had goals, and they worked for them. Certainly I thought Miles came out on top due to several fiats and coincidences, but there were more linear, cause-and-effect story elements. The first arc in the book, especially, felt coherent and well done. However, I still think there were too many things going on in the book, and the huge number of elements felt too compressed.

Next week:

I start a new batch of books next week since it’s the beginning of the month!  Hope to see you there!

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Vor Game

  1. Alexander Elliott says:

    Aside from the wretched cover art, I don’t sense the books are something I would want to read! You must have a higher pain tolerance, or perhaps more dogged determination. Maybe I’m just too picky!

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I enjoy these books as a whole. I think the Cordelia books were better, and I might have gone a bit too gung-ho with buying 3 Miles books immediately. However, I have hope because McMasters-Bujold has a really nice writing style – she just gives her main character too much credit.

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