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Book Review – Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold

From my Goodreads review (which can be found here.) 

I am still a hearty fan of the Vorkosigan Saga. Every book I’ve ready (via audiobook) has been a joy to read/listen to. I find myself making excuses to listen more. The dogs are very well walked and my dishes are quite clean now thanks in part to Grover Gardener’s sure narration. 

This book follows Miles and Ekaterine to quaddie space, and features a mystery (like many/most of these novels do) as well as some old friends (love how Lois McMaster Bujold leaves little dangling bits in other works and then revisits the characters and events, usually with some wry observations, later. It’s a treasure hunt for the careful reader.) It’s a longer work, but doesn’t feel longer somehow. Strange, that. 

One thing I really love about these books is how they shed the contemporary trend of “piling on.” So often I read a work of fiction written recently and I feel mired in quicksand, sinking slowly (or, at times, quickly) in the murk. Her mother died. Then her father died. Then the bad guys killed her puppy. It’s just … too much at times. In Lois McMaster Bujold’s books, her characters really rarely find themselves despairing. It’s an odd thing when I consider it, as it’s bucking a current literary trend, yet it’s what I think makes these books so compelling for me. They are just fun, interesting, intricate, involved, detailed, cool stories. The fact that they’re set in space and have neat-o technology or gengineered people like the quaddies just makes it even better. This is what brought me into Science Fiction as a genre many many years ago – the “whoa, what if…?!” excitement of it all. I’ve not found this overall optimistic world(universe)-view and writing style in other SF writers writing today and wish more would take a hint from LMB. I find it similar to what I love about Tamora Pierce books, good strong characters who are not flawless but not so flawed they’re hard to root for, who respond with vigor when confronted with challenges (instead of responding with despair, or instead of the reader falling into despair at the sheer piling on that’s happening to the character.) 

Lovely stuff. Highly recommend. Reminder – this is on my grown-up book shelf. Because there is a fair amount of sexuality (rare but … interestingly told) this is generally a book for teens and above.
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