This latest installment of the Vorkosigan saga deviates quite a bit from the other books – well, except for the Winterfare Gifts novella. Firstly, this book is a straight romance. Secondly, absolutely nothing happens in the book. The best I can describe the book is a Slice of Life meets a Clip Show – if it was possible to use those two terms without any of the negative connotations that come with them. While on face value that sounds horrible, in actuality it is just the opposite: this is truly a wonderful book.
The story in its simplicity is that it’s been a number of years since Miles’ fathers death and after the period of grief his mother is finally moving on with her life. This involves a new relationship with Admiral Jole, the third (semi-secret) member of her marriage of Aral, and her designs to bring up more children from the frozen embryos they had stored for the future.
In the early parts of the book I was waiting for a ‘main plot’ to appear. nd as contradictory as it sounds, by the middle, I was hoping one would not – the story was moving at a nice languid pace and introducing strife would have felt out of place.
The writing is as smooth and professional as one can imagine. The style feels like the Vorkosigan saga but as befits new POVs, still different and unique. I did find myself missing the dry, self-effacing humor from earlier books but neither protagonist would really be suited for it.
I did have two nitpicks. There were so many occasions of reminiscence that it was starting to feel like fan service. The second is that there was a feeling of bidding a fond farewell to the characters of the saga. After this, I would be surprised if we meet them again in anything but a supporting role or if there will be any further books set in this universe. But each book has more than been worth every minute spent within them. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.