three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
53-July-Aug-2011
user_rating: 
0

missing imageWith Cryoburn, multiple Hugo and Nebula Award winner Lois McMaster Bujold offers a long-awaited addition--the fourteenth in total--to her popular Vorkosigan Saga, which includes Mirror Dance (1994), Cetaganda (1995), Memory (1996), and Diplomatic Immunity (2002.

The Story: When Barrayaran Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan travels to the planet Kibou-daini to investigate malfeasance in the cryonics industry there, the depth of the corruption surprises even the world-weary spy. After escaping a kidnapping and wandering aimlessly, the drugged Vorkosigan is aided by a 12-year-old boy whose mother was a victim of illegal freezing. What Vorkosigan hoped would be a quick resolution to a simple problem becomes a disquieting journey through the dark underbelly of the planet's cryogenics industry and a political hot potato with far-reaching implications for Barrayar.
Baen. 352 pages. $25. ISBN: 9781439133941.

Buried Under Books 4.5 of 5 Stars
"When I heard that Bujold was working on a new Vorkosigan novel, it was like Christmas and birthday rolled into one. ... It's not the plot that matters so much--except perhaps as it impinges directly on Barrayar--but rather the lives of the characters inhabiting the Vorkosiverse." Laura Taylor

Science Fiction Review 4 of 5 Stars
"Bujold slips into her Miles glove with ease, this light-hearted (yet fairly serious) adventure showing just how flexible her writing style is. ... It's the characters that make or break a Miles novel, and that's where Bujold succeeds." Dave Roy

SFF World 3 of 5 Stars
"The tale's told deceptively well, the characters are well written and the plot's engaging. And yet, towards the end, I don't feel that we've really advanced things very far, for Miles at least." Mark Yon

Strange Horizons 3 of 5 Stars
"Cryoburn should have been a lot darker. ... With a little more attention to the darker themes inherent to Cryoburn's premise, and some attempt to deal with the political significance of what she was saying, Bujold might have produced another powerhouse of a novel." Kelly Jennings

Critical Summary

The later novels in the Miles Vorkosigan series cast SF/F heavyweight Bujold's most famous protagonist as a detective of sorts, reminiscent of Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict series or Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Retrieval Artist books. Always grand in scope and expertly balanced with fascinating plots and vividly drawn characters, the Vorkosigan novels have garnered a devoted readership since the appearance in 1986 of The Warrior's Apprentice. Although longtime readers might find a bone to pick with the "Vorkosiverse" in Cryoburn--for some critics, the author's vision isn't dark enough, and Vorkosigan shares the stage with the young boy, Jin, among others--newcomers to the series will gladly immerse themselves in Bujold's impeccable world building.