I typically get bored or annoyed before completing most long sci-fi or fantasy sagas; Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is the lone exception so far. Lois Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga has the potential to join that tiny club, although to be fair, I’ve only read one, Komarr. I’m pretty sure I saw someone’s rave review on here, but I’m sorry I don’t remember whose it was. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this series before then, but I’m glad to have found it.
Komarr is both very dated and very relevant for being over 25 years old. Both Miles and Ekaterin’s initial situations, his as a disabled person, hers as being in an abusive relationship, are most certainly now better recognized now than they would have been when this was first published, but some of their unspoken reactions to each other as they bond aren’t quite so modern. Given that the story take both of their perspectives at times, that puts the emphasis of the plot more on the two characters than it does Miles’ investigation; the mystery of the space ship crash and discrepancies that follow are supposedly the main point of the story, but this takes a major backseat for nearly two-thirds of the novel. I’m not complaining exactly but watching Miles do his strategist underestimated thing is one of the best parts of the story, especially once he actually starts to figure things out.
Ekaterin’s struggle to find some kind of self-fulfillment throughout the novel is also a pretty modern feature, and she even points out that even though Miles might be nicer about it, he seems to have plans in mind for her future just like her husband, when she wants some self-sufficiency; this is kind of cringey of Miles, but she’s right and it’s not the only time that happens (although to his credit, he does acknowledge being wrong about things).
There’s an attention to details in the characters and the plot that’s pretty striking, in a good way. Seeing an established investigator trying to work things out, both personally and professionally, and seeing at least part of that from an equally detailed but different perspective isn’t a narrative strategy I can’t remember seeing recently. There’s some science as one would expect of classic sci-fi but it doesn’t go too far overboard with jargon or philosophy, which is sometimes a hard to reach balance.
I know this novel is part way into the series but it’s a recognized entry point into the series; I’m hoping some of the world-building I’ve missed shows up elsewhere. The only question now is going to be do I go back to the beginning of the series or forward from here. It’ll probably depend on what the library has, so we’ll see.