Two books into the Vorkosigan Saga, and I’m increasingly flabbergasted that it took me so long to read not only this series, but Bujold in general. These books are so competently written, and I want that understatement to be interpreted as laconic reverence, and not as an underhanded jab. The writing is uncomplicated and efficient, and is a real testament to the power of honestly good storytelling. A lot of sins can be forgiven by covering them in flowery, lyrical, and highly figurative prose. Bujold’s writing, on the other hand, offers itself bare; the characters speak plainly, the plot develops naturally based on the characters’ actions, and the emotional response from the reader is authentic, not evoked by histrionic declarations, but by genuine affection for the people in the proceedings.
Young Miles follows Miles Vorkosigan, son of Cordelia and Aral from Cordelia’s Honor. While in the womb, Miles was unwittingly subjected to a chemical attack against his parents, and the antidote that saved their lives resulted in birth defects. His fetal viability was saved by an experimental treatment, but even into adulthood he struggles with weak bone density and is very short in stature. Miles would have wanted nothing more than to follow a long line of Vorkosigans into Barrayaran military service, but his physical impairments made traditional academy education (with its physical fitness requirements) out of the question. Despite his youth, however, Miles appears to have inherited the military and strategic brilliance of both sides of his family.
The Vorkosigan Saga was written originally as novella-length stories and has since been collected into Omnibus editions, of which Young Miles is the second. The book collects the various capers and trials of Miles as he pursues what would be rightly considered his very NON-traditional military education, and how Miles proves himself an asset to Barrayaran superior officers and officials. I have nothing bad to say about it and only hope that I will be able to make the time to read ALL of the Bujold some day.