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Discharged from the Barrayaran academy after flunking the physical, a discouraged Miles Vorkosigan takes possession of a jumpship and becomes the leader of a mercenary force that expands to a fleet of treasonous proportions.*
*Courtesy of FantasticFiction.
Since my days of reading Star Wars and Anne McCaffrey in middle school and high school I haven’t ventured too much into Science Fiction, so The Warrior’s Apprentice provided a nice little romp back into the genre.
Miles is certainly a character whom I can get behind. Though his brittle bones and physical deformities have forced him to abandon his military ambitions, he posesses a brilliant mind which aids him in getting out of scrapes (though it more often than not is what gets him into trouble in the first place). He also has a sassy wit, which is a trait I can always appreciate.
When Miles witnesses a jump pilot about to have his right to fly revoked, he sees a kindred spirit in this man, someone who too might have their purpose in life taken away from him. His decision to help out this man spirals quickly out of control and ends up with Miles being the head of an imaginary mercenary force with thousands of soldiers under his command. While this seems like a great opportunity for someone who thought the chance to lead battle would be forever lost to him, amassing private armies, no matter how innocently done, just so happens to be a treasonous offense punishable by death on his home planet of Barrayar.
I will say it seemed highly improbable at times that a seventeen year old boy with no training in military tactics could dream up the feats in battle that Miles did and still manage to come out ahead every time, but the story was a pleasing enough one and I found myself invested in the characters enough that I was willing to suspend my disbelief a bit. I was glad, though, that there were consequences for his actions — Miles himself and many under him don’t come through these ordeals unscathed, so the story is able to retain an air of believability.
Barring some mildly confusing references to unfamiliar technology scattered throughout the book, overall I would feel comfortable recommending The Warrior’s Apprentice to a reader who simply wants to dip their toes into the science-fiction genre, so to speak, and get a feel for what it’s like. Though I might not rush right out and read the next book in the series, some time in the future when I don’t have so many books on my TBR pile and if my library decides to cooperate, I will more than likely continue with this series.
Title: The Warrior’s Apprentice
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Publisher: Baen (Feb. 1, 1991) — Mass Market Paperback
Subject Headings: Speculative Fiction AND Science Fiction; Action-Adventure AND Space Opera; SF Humor
2010 100+ Reading Challenge