Read CryoBurn by Lois McMaster Bujold Online


Kibou-daini is a planet obsessed with cheating death. Barrayaran Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan can hardly disapprove—he’s been cheating death his whole life, on the theory that turnabout is fair play. But when a Kibou-daini cryocorp—an immortal company whose job it is to shepherd its all-too-mortal frozen patrons into an unknown future—attempts to expand its franchiseKibou-daini is a planet obsessed with cheating death. Barrayaran Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan can hardly disapprove—he’s been cheating death his whole life, on the theory that turnabout is fair play. But when a Kibou-daini cryocorp—an immortal company whose job it is to shepherd its all-too-mortal frozen patrons into an unknown future—attempts to expand its franchise into the Barrayaran Empire, Emperor Gregor dispatches his top troubleshooter Miles to check it out.On Kibou-daini, Miles discovers generational conflict over money and resources is heating up, even as refugees displaced in time skew the meaning of generation past repair. Here he finds a young boy with a passion for pets and a dangerous secret, a Snow White trapped in an icy coffin who burns to re-write her own tale, and a mysterious crone who is the very embodiment of the warning Don’t mess with the secretary. Bribery, corruption, conspiracy, kidnapping—something is rotten on Kibou-daini, and it isn’t due to power outages in the Cryocombs. And Miles is in the middle—of trouble!...

Title : CryoBurn
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781439133941
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 345 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

CryoBurn Reviews

  • Evgeny
    2019-04-13 07:16

    A buddy read with Choko and Maria.This is the first time in the series where book starts in the middle of the story with Miles hallucinating about a rain of angels while being lost in city underground surrounding by dead bodies. We only get to know what happened after the first POV switch to his armsman (which means bodyguard/butler/adjutant all in one) Roic who conveniently had a flashback right away. Speaking about Roc, he was in jail chained to a wall and it is hard to say who was better off: he or his lord. I think this is the only piece of plot I will give away. Instead I will rant; sorry. The first thought I had reading the novel was, "Not enough Miles' POV". Upon some reflection I understood the reason for this. Miles the admiral of a mercenary fleet is full of excitement and action. Miles the auditor is outright boring. I mentioned the story beginning in the middle. The most probable reason for this is that the beginning was all about diplomatic negotiations, presentations, meetings, etc. I do not know about you, but I personally have more than enough of those (minus diplomacy) in real life. In fact I would die a happy man in case I will not see a single presentation from this point on. So Miles' changing of careers was good for his development, but brought him to a dead end as an interesting character. Only one other person from previous books had any sort of significant presence - aforementioned Roic. His came out somewhat bland, much less interesting than earlier in novella Winterfair Gifts. I do not consider a brief cameo of Mark and his girlfriend to be a meaningful presence. Speaking of Mark I still do not care about him; he looked like an asshole to me. Other than these all of the characters were new. It felt pity to leave very interesting regulars outside of the plot. Another big complaint: it seems the story focused on exactly the wrong parts. Some major people died and we only get some brief flashbacks about their demise. Last couple of chapters felt like a complete waste of paper and time. Before I read them I still thought 4 star rating was possible. Not anymore. So in summary this is one of the weakest (if not the weakest) books of the series so far. I said "so far" because I strongly suspect after the events of this novel the next one would be even worse. Still 3 stars mean a good enough book in my rating system.

  • Courtney Milan
    2019-03-21 05:13

    The second half of this review contains spoilers for the book. I'll post a warning before we get into them. (Note: this is an actual review for the book--which normally I don't post, as the community norm in romance is that authors don't review books. So don't assume I liked this book less than other books, simply because I say bad things about it. Which is fine--but this is not a romance, and scifi the norms are different. So this is an actual a review.)So, this book. I have been arguing with myself as to whether this is a four or a five star book, not because I waffle as to how good the book actually is, but because I am not sure which grading scale to use.I had some worries going into this book. My biggest worry was this: About 10 years ago, I was one of Bujold's natural readers. By this, I mean that the books she was writing were the perfect emotional fit for the books I wanted--no, needed--to read. I've read some of her books literally dozens and dozens of time (Memory, I'm looking at you). But over the last decade that has shifted. I've changed. She's changed. I still enjoy her books, but the last handful haven't caught flame in my heart the way the middle-Miles books did.So. This book. It's a fast-pace, tightly-plotted Milesian adventure, along the lines of Cetaganda. There's a mystery. There's a pile of cryogenically frozen bodies. And the stakes escalate as the book goes on, from mystery to curiosity to planetary warfare. There's her trademark sense of humor. There's a creepy threat to the Imperium. I enjoyed it.But this book has a problem, and his name is Jin. Don't get me wrong--I have no problem with kids in fiction. The problem with Jin is that he didn't feel like a child. Or, rather, he didn't feel like a consistently rendered child. (Nikki, on the other hand, always did.) Jin felt like an inconsistently rendered plot device--deeply ignorant, when he needed to ask a question for clarification; and yet profoundly savvy when not.As an example, Jin (who is twelve) hears that Miles is an Auditor, and assumes that he's an insurance fraud investigator, with Gregor as his boss. Let me point out the ways that this doesn't make sense: At this point, Jin has seen that the Barrayaran consul jumps at Miles's command, that they follow his words as if he were in charge. Jin has seen Miles in action. He's seen the paths that he follows. It simply does not make sense, in light of everything that Jin has seen, that he would persist in the belief that Miles is a glorified insurance salesman, until the very end of the book. Jin is not a stupid twelve years old. He's not a foolish twelve years old. In fact, in my experience, kids--and especially smart kids--are so much less likely to be confused by labels, because they have so many fewer boxes to put things in.If Jin was too age-stupid in some parts, his emotional concerns felt astonishingly adult-like in others. The way he evaluates Miles-as-father really felt critical in a way that adults are of other adults. In some ways, I felt like Bujold wrote a twelve-year-old child by writing someone like an adult, but with more misconceptions.This is not to say that Jin ruined the book, but I had a hard time believing he was the narrator when we were in his point of view. Gripe #2: Ekaterin. I loved A Civil Campaign, but this book just...argh. She's presented as so freaking domestic--and she always was domestic, but--she's so traditional. And that's not out of character for her, I said, argh.Hence, the four-star review: As a standalone effort, this is a very good book, but one that contained a significant enough flaw that my brain would not turn off in its entirety.Now we get to the other half of the review. Because there is one way in which this book is unquestionably, undoubtedly, a five-star book.Here there be Major Spoilers for the last five hundred and three words of the book, so please don't read any farther unless you want to be spoiled.No. Really. I mean it. DON'T READ ANY FARTHER.Okay, are you serious about this? Because if you haven't read the book, I don't want to rob it of the emotional impact for you. And you might think you want to be spoiled, but really... you don't.One of the things I...regret is not the right word. One of the things that makes me wistful about writing romance is the notion that you cannot screw with the Happily Ever After. You don't kill off the spouse of the first couple in the sequel. In fact, in most instances, you show the couple of the prior books off only in order to show their increasing, sickeningly sweet happiness, and their extraordinary fecundity (without, of course, the corresponding sagging body parts).In some ways, I feel like the extraordinarily rosy future in some ways cheapens the Happily Ever After--as if all the hard work has been done, and so now they may rest on their laurels, content with well-behaved children, estates that produce everything they could want, and milk and honey in every cup forever and ever, and no problems ever threaten the couple.I don't believe it has to be that way. And this makes me think of what Jo Beverley said at a keynote speech that I heard--that what we should be striving for is not the saccharine happy ending, but a triumphant ending.On that count, this book delivers. In spades. There is one way that this book is absolutely, without question, a five star review, and that is as an ode for Aral Vorkosigan. This book is a justification for death of the non-cheating variety, as a necessary component of rebirth. And even though she makes you doubt the event in question will happen, during the course of the book, she tells you the truth from the very first line of the book: "Angels were falling all over the place."If you, like me, have read the earlier Vorkosigan books a billion times, you'll feel the echoes and reverberations throughout.“They’ve a right,” Miles repeated, wondering why those words seemed to resonate in his mind. He ought to know, but these days he couldn’t blame every memory lapse on his own ten-year-old cryorevival.I remember. It's an echo of what Harra Csurik says to Miles in the Mountains of Mourning, when she comes to Vorkosigan Surleau, seeking justice for her murdered child. And it is Aral Vorkosigan who listens to her, and who tasks Miles with the meting out of justice. But here, instead of it being justice for the parent to the child, it's an inversion, that of justice for the child.Throughout the book, we are consistently told that Aral Vorkosigan is aging to the point where perhaps emergency treatment, via untested lab results, is indicated. And, with Lord Mark's business interests, Bujold makes us believe, perhaps hope, even that perhaps she's going to cop out on the promise she made once--that the next book in the Vorkosigan series would be about Aral's death. But that hope is Miles's and Mark's--the belief that really, their father cannot die.And that hope is just a fairy tale.This book, even if it is ostensibly about planetary politics that are far removed from Barrayar, is about Aral's legacy. There's a weird symmetry to the plot: Miles saves Komarr from off-world invasion of the weirdest and creepiest variety (and think about what that means for Aral's legacy). More than that: it's about an elderly Komarran lady who, instead of being gunned down, turns to the Imperium and thus saves them all.There are a thousand other cross-weavings.At the very end, we have an... epilogue, of sorts, entitled "Aftermaths." Not having all my Vorkosigan books easily to hand, I can't check. But I don't believe that any book had an epilogue entitled "Aftermaths." Any book, of course, except Shards of Honor.And so I embark on the epilogue with that first Aftermaths firmly in mind:"Don't be afraid," she said. "The dead cannot hurt you. They give you no pain, except that of seeing your own death in their faces. And one can face that, I find."Yes, he thought, the good face pain. But the great—they embrace it.

  • Choko
    2019-04-01 05:33

    *** 4 ***A buddy read with my friends Evgeny and Maria, because we need some Forward Momentum!!! I can't believe it has been almost 40 years on page, since we first met Miles's mom and dad, his birth, his teenage years, his loves, his Grand successes and major fallings. In this book Miles is 38 years old, a happily married father of four, a very prestigious Emperial Auditor, and still just as much Miles Vorkosigan as when we started... The book starts with Miles waking up in the dark and unfamiliar underground maze of corridors​ in a planet he had been visiting in his capacity as an Auditor. Corrupt Cryogenic Moguls have created a culture in which people freeze themselves in the hope to be awakened when a cure for aging or other conditions is discovered, giving their money, rights to their lives and their voting rights to the Cryo Companies. This must require a ton of trust, because what is to guarantee that they will act in your best interest, or even wake you up at all... So, those Companies are trying to set up shop in Barrayaran Empire's planets and Gregor and his Empress smell something fishy. Of course, the best person to send to get to the heart of the problem is Miles Vorkosigan! The little weaselly Lord can figure out anything! Unfortunately, he also always gets himself almost killed as well. And this is where we find him - drugged out of his mind, beaten up, and lost, when two locals encounter him in an abandoned derelict Cryogenic Facility. Poor and hiding folks are currently using it as their home and a small boy gives the bedraggled short outlander a helping hand. At the end, Miles repays the boy's kindness with even bigger kindness of his own, and with the typical for him manic flair. Armsman Roic is his assigned sidekick for this adventure and it was really good to see him again. However, we didn't have any of our other favorite characters show up, but were told in passing about couple of significant deaths which just broke my ❤!!! The last several sentences in the book just killed me and it feels like an​ era of greatness has ended, leaving a deep scar on the soul... I cried, and now I don't really want to read anything, which truly makes no sense, since we didn't see the character that much anyway... *deep sigh*... The heart feels how it feels. Once again there is an ethical dilemma, this time dealing with how long should we want to live, even if we have the ability to extend our live spans indefinitely. When do we have the moral responsibility to let the next generation have their turn, and if a medical cure for aging is found, should only the rich be able to afford it or should it be a right for all levels of economic groups. It is fascinating and once again the author doesn't judge but gives us only food for thought and I appreciate it tremendously!!!Otherwise the story was more procedural than the space advanture we are used to with Miles and the pacing was slower, perked up by the two precocious children who stole the show. It was not the best book in the series, but as I have said before, even mediocre Vorkosigan book is better than no Vorkosigan book at all. I enjoyed every minute of it, despite it finding a way to smash me to the floor with its ending... I wonder where the author will go from here... It will never be the same again.Now I wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find what you need in the pages of a Good Book!!!

  • Lightreads
    2019-04-21 07:11

    Ah. I got an ARC of this two weeks ago, and it’s a mark of just how fucked in the head I was by the bar exam that I couldn’t even crack it open until now. But I did at last, and ah, it was good.This is a romp. In fact I’d go so far as to say in some places it’s a caper. Basically, it’s a hundred thousand words of Miles repeatedly happening to people. These people generally start out unsuspecting, but by the end are learning to brace for impact, even if they’re curled up in the fetal position and whimpering on the inside. Except be careful of the corners and edges on this caper, because some of them will cut you. Like most of this series, this book contemplates a bit of speculative technology – cryo freezing and reviving, here – and asks a lot of penetrating questions about the sociopolitical fallout. Without, thank God, being didactic or prescriptive or blankly alarmist or utopian. This is a book about the institutions of death when death is temporary. Except – and I’m paraphrasing Miles here, because he sums this up nicely for us at one point – institutions and corporations and political machines are just big groups of people mostly moving in the same direction. They might feel like they’ll live forever, but they’re just us, too, and we certainly don’t.Except when we kind of do, and how voting power would be allocated to frozen people, not to mention the economics of it (I slapped a hand over my face and laugh-groaned a lot over the commodified cryo corpse contract swaps, because ahaha, yes, that is so fucking trufax). Then again, I clearly still am fucked in the head by the bar exam, because I also thought in a frantic gabble at one point, “does this planet have an inherited Rule Against Perpetuities? Because if the voting interests don’t vest within 21 years of the end of a life in being – and technically they’re not lives in being – then the conveyances are void oh my God what is wrong with me?”To everyone who actually understood that: I am so, so sorry.Ahem. The point. This book is not a disappointment. It is fun and hilarious and chewy. It is also a lot more conscious of Miles’s privilege than previous volumes, in ways I appreciated. Really, one of the best things that happened to this series was the introduction of roving point-of-view, because there are so very many things that Miles does not know about himself; his quite literal entitlement is often one of them.And then it ends with a quintet of drabbles. Really good drabbles, the kind that feel like really good haiku, where saying the perfect thing in the perfect, tiny package makes writing like origami or something else beautiful and precise and intense. Ouch.The title isn't any better after reading, though.

  • Maria Dimitrova
    2019-04-03 04:26

    Buddy read with Choko and Evgeny.CryoBurn is the next to last book so far in the series and for most of the time is a return to Miles' galactic adventures, similar to Diplomatic Immunity. He's sent to Kibou-daini to investigate a possible ploy by one of their cryo corporations to make some trouble on Komarr. One of his official tasks is to figure out what they are planning. But in typical Miles' fashion he ends up neck deep in some local troubles and gets roped in in the role of the hero who will save them all. Kibou-daini is one of the weirder planets of the Nexus with its obsession with cryopreservation. People are so obsessed with the idea of cheating death that they've stopped living and willingly go to the cryocorps to get frozen. *shudders* Thanks to the fact that technically all those frozen people aren't dead and have their votes, the cryo corporations own the planet, because they are the proxies by which their patrons exercise their rights. And here I thought that Jackson's Whole is corrupt! At least they don't pretend to be the good guys. The first time I read this book I somehow skipped the (view spoiler)[information about Sergeant Taura. I figured she'd died but didn't know the particulars. It broke my heart to hear what had happened but at the same time I melted when I learned that not only Miles, but Roic as well had been with her in her final hours. (hide spoiler)] Unfortunately this isn't the only heartbreaking moment of the book. (view spoiler)[ Aral Vorkosigan's death hit me pretty hard the first time around and the news still pack the same impact on the second read. I wept at Gregor's POV and felt so proud of the man he had become under Aral's tutelage.(hide spoiler)] In a way this is the end of an era for both Barrayar and Miles. I hope we'll have a chance to see what happens in another Miles POV book and how he handles the new situation. Originally I rated the book 3 stars but the emotional impact of this reread made me raise my rating. It's a good book. Different from the others but still a good one. I know that a lot of people kind of dislike it as they do the one that follows (it's the one book in the series that deviates the most from the usual) but I still enjoyed the hell out of it. I loved Jin and the Consul and in my mind (view spoiler)[ the Consul and Madam Sato get married and one day travel to Barrayar and Jin and Mina get the chance to ride one of Miles' ponies :) (hide spoiler)] If you're interested in this series I strongly discourage you to start here. There are too many ties to the previous books and you'll get completely lost if you start with it. So go pick Shards of Honor and start at the beginning.

  • Eh?Eh!
    2019-04-04 23:27

    Bujold returns to her sci-fi world after 7 years and 2 fantasy series (one wonderful, the other not as wonderful). Many thanks to Lightreads for pointing the way to read this before it reaches the bookstore.The story is deceptively simple, an investigation that becomes a mystery that turns into a rescue. I don't want to ruin anything so I won't do any of my usual summarizing that brought my grades down in English classes. This is going to be brief fan-squeeeeeEEEEEeeEEEEEeeeeeeeeEE about Bujold and her character, Miles, and my "origin story" with them.I first stumbled across Bujold in the '90s, ordering her Memory book based on the awful and flashy cover. It was amazing - ethics, politics, loyalty, timing, a few puns, and such a beating heart at the center of it all...I laughed and gasped, and a couple times I would reach up to find tears. Its cleverness and deftness set it apart from other things I'd read until then. It didn't matter that this was maybe the tenth in the series. But I did then race out to find all she had and the entire series became my binky-books, comfort reads that I would finish only to immediately begin again. I believed in these characters who tried to do right, often effed up horribly, but managed to retrieve something if not the ideal thing out of the messes. Ripping&roaring. Thump-thump goes the heart.I've been trying to read more literary, mature, and "important" works lately (besides the romance stuff...which is a noble experiment...sort of), and it's been depressing. They're so weighty, and my head so not able to understand what's going on although I know there are important messages if I only had the background and a heckuva lot more brainpower...sigh. I think the same sort of themes are explored in these books. But with lasers! And spaceships! More lightly because they're more adventures than serious delvings, but still. I'm invited to ponder grander and baser things without a constant bewilderment. Each book has Miles changing, showing the different priorities with his age, while leaving the core untouched. Family and responsibility always, but a need for recognition giving way to creations of identity giving way to acceptance with one's situation giving way to betterment of one's situation. I understand that sequence better as I age.Bujold's been getting her character all settled and happy, so with each book I fear she's wrapping the series up. It was a nice surprise to see this book pop up on the feed. I don't mind adding to the binky-book collection.8/5-8/2010

  • Sherwood Smith
    2019-03-21 01:13

    It is so good to have a Miles book again! I suspect that some readers will consider this one of the lightweight ones, partly because there is a great deal of the action seen through the eyes of an eleven year old boy (which mostly works, though occasionally he's able to define adults' expressions with the cognizance of someone far more experienced in life), and partly because, though many of the characters are enduring life-threatening and -changing adventures, Miles isn't. The book opens with him undergoing extreme physical challenge, framed at the other end by another kind of challenge; between beginning and end his emotional and mental gyroscope is squarely balanced. I appreciated the light touch because the business of death, cryo-freezing and revival, and its legal, emotional, cultural, etc ramifications could have been stodgy and or depressing. Bujold's choice to stick with the younger POVs kept a nice tension between a grim subject and a blithe, slyly humorous attitude . . . which doesn't prepare one for the shock of the end, and its elegantly terse coda. Yet that ending was set up from the very beginning of the book.Overall result? Now I want to reread the entire series yet again.

  • Tijana
    2019-04-18 04:35

    Četrnaesta stavka u serijalu, očigledno je da mi se sviđa ako sam dovde dogurala :) E sad, ovo mi definitivno ne spada u najbolje nastavke (ponegde se previše vide šavovi u zapletu, i uvek mi nedostaju Kordelija i Ekaterin) ali je kao i sve što sam od ove autorke čitala napisano pošteno i duhovito i sa posprdnim otklonom od Majlsovog hiperaktivnog junaštva i taman toliko ozbiljnosti (pri kraju) da ne bude sasvim lagani letnji obrok.

  • Kathleen
    2019-03-30 02:21

    I have come to the end of the fabulous Vorkosigan Saga. Wish I could say it ended on a high note, but I didn't much care for this one, with the exception of the superb beginning, when Miles was lost in the cryocombs beneath the city (chapter one, not a spoiler) and suffering some pretty funny butterbug hallucinations, and when he was first staying with young Jin. I also liked some scenes later in the book, including the plot twist, when (WARNING! MAJOR SPOILER!!) (view spoiler)[ the kids were so utterly disappointed that the revived woman was not their mother, and Miles was so utterly stupid. I read that scene with my heart aching for the kids, and wanting to kick Miles. (hide spoiler)] However, as a whole, CroBurn felt unfinished and heavy. It left me underwhelmed and almost bored sometimes, despite the "Conquest!" proclamation midway. Heavy tone:Theoretical speculation and detailed exposition of the technical, moral, political, economic, and theological implications of extending life through cryonics. It was interesting to me, and sometimes profoundly so, but Bujold got carried away. Too much info. Too much focus on death. The book began to creep me out. I needed some lighthearted and loving human interactions. Some good laughs. They were in short supply. Characterization:I partly attribute the tone to the topic, but also to the characters. They didn't much appeal. I needed someone like Eketarin or Duv or Ivan, even Gregor or Quinn. The director of the Barrayaran Embassy (Vor-something) was a fusty stick in the mud, but he began to almost supersede Miles as the main hero. Meh. (I did like Raven, though. A lot.)Roic is nice in the background, but his POV did little for me. As an Armsman, my beloved Bothari was far more interesting. Was Roic subbing in for Ivan's schtick as a long-suffering comrade? I suppose I was expected to chuckle at his thoughts about "M'Lord" but I didn't. However, I was very interested in his POV about Sergeant Taura, the super soldier wolf-girl he loved in Winterfair Gifts, including his memories of how she rejected cryogenics in favor of death.Here's Jin, an animal-crazy adolescent: With an air of confession, Jin lowered his voice. "Eggs come out of chickens' butts, you know." I liked Jin well enough at first, and his little sister Mina, but for some reason I started losing interest in their plight. I think it was because I guessed how things would play out for them, in terms of family relationships. Also, all those bits about the wolf spider (finding it, boxing it, naming it, feeding it, fighting over it -- there were several scenes) went nowhere. It wasn't even used to scare the villains. At least three times I was told they don't spin webs. (I actually knew that.) With all the other animals, the spider was excess; dump it, leaving room for a more complete ending. Jin's repeated thoughts about ponies got redundant, too. The sphinx-of-twenty-words was interesting. Then Mark and Kareen entered the scene. Their interactions brought no laughter or loving either. All business. (In fact, I'm not crazy about how Bujold has developed Mark's character. He is a bit of a disappointment to me. In Mirror Dance, when he was at Vorkosigan House, and working in the basement at ImpSec, he found the missing link that led back to Lily Durona, and Miles. He was happy in that work, and made the decision that he wanted to work for ImpSec as an analyst, sifting through data. That never materialized. I understand why he wants great wealth, and applaud that he is still striving to stop clone-murder, but... Somehow, he disappoints on several levels, and I hate to say it, but his deliberate obesity is also a factor.) Point of View:I didn't care for the shifting 3rd-person POV. So much head hopping! The transitions were abrupt, occurring within a chapter. Whenever young Jin was thinking, Miles was referenced as Miles-san (the setting is a Japanese-based planet, from what I gather). Whenever Roic was thinking, Miles was referenced as M'Lord (I really disliked that -- it made Miles seem like an "other"). The POV also switched to Miles quite frequently -- where I like it best.Plot:Bujold left many things hanging. Whatever happened to all the old squatters in the cryo-facility -- the poverty Suze-san was so worried about? What about the clinical testing Raven planned to do? How did that turn out? But even worse, we did not get to see WhiteChrys go down the tubes. Huh? No denouement scene for Wong? No denouement for the criminals at New Egypt? Anything we learned about their collapse was told in passive, probable, vague terms. Drabbles:The five 100-word drabbles were interesting to me as a novelty, but maybe not as an effective storytelling tool -- at least, not in this case. I liked Gregor's drabble the best. Mark's was the most disappointing. I did not care for how Bujold handled this plot twist. I needed more closure. I wanted to see the whole family together. Why only 500 words for this major watershed?Bottom line: 3.25 stars for this book, but 4.5 for the series.My reviews of this series (*favorites), listed in chronological order:Shards of Honor review*Barrayar review*The Warrior's Apprentice reviewThe Vor Game reviewCetaganda reviewThe Mountains of Mourning reviewLabyrinth review*Borders of Infinity reviewBrothers in Arms reviewMirror Dance review*Memory review*Miles in Love: Komarr, A Civil Campaign, Winterfair Gifts review*Komarr reviewDiplomatic Immunity reviewCaptain Vorpatril's Alliance reviewCryoburn review

  • Elf M.
    2019-03-21 07:35

    Lois McMaster Bujold returns to her first and most popular character, Miles Vorkosigan, in the lastest novel, Cryoburn. Sadly, the story is sloppy and uninspired, the writing hampered by Ms. Bujold's personal cliches and obvious reluctance to return to this well, follows an entirely predictable arc from beginning to end, and even ends up as its own sort of used furniture, not so much from SF as from modern television police procedurals. The sort of brilliance that turned the SF lexiconigraphic "used furniture" into the literal used furniture scene of A Civil Campaign, by reaching back fourteen (!) books to deliver one of many "oh, yes!" scenes is nowhere to be found in Cryoburn. There is only one "oh, dear God no," scene and it's almost the last scene of the story. The rest of the story runs on rickety rails.(view spoiler)[ Miles is sent to a planet to investigate a creepy obsessed-with-cheating-death culture ruled by megacorps that promise to cryo the recently dead or almost dead in the hopes that centuries from now they'll wake up healthy and whole. It's a riff on cryonics thing going on here, with weird laws and votes being controlled by the proxy corporations, and involves a mundane sort of financial shennanigans that Miles uncovers halfway through the book and spends the rest of the book, well, not really trying to undo so much as simply make trouble for the corpys who've made his life Hell through the first half of the book.The book starts with Miles escaping from incompetent kidnapper-terrorists, who are out to bring down the whole Cryo business, and stumbling out into a bad section of the city, where the first person he befriends turns out to be a young boy who just happens to be the linchpin character with The Secret that could bring down the Evil Corporations. The boy lives in a homeless commune, which turns out to be a criminal enterprise, and the two leaders of which tell Miles everything, almost without being asked. It's almost as if Lois said, "It's Miles, the readers know he'll get it out of them eventually, so let's just get past this part because I don't feel like making it up too much."The corporations are theme-park-ish, with one taking on Egyptology as a theme, another Asiania. When Miles visits the Asian theme park, I had another jarring moment, as none of the usual comparison powers Bujold brings to bear in her books is here. Instead of a concise comparison between the poorly aped Zen serenity and the competent serenity of the Cetagandan Celestial Garden, we get a snide comment about how "The space was all paper screens and tatami mats, plus more art glass and those flower arrangements consisting of a handful of pebbles, three sticks, two buds, and a blossom." A Milesian snide comment, I believe, would have included a wistful thought to The haut Pel.Roic takes center-stage for two chapters, and seems to have been written to be inhabited by Bruce Willis. A brief scene takes place in a painfully obvious chunk of 20th-century suburbia, complete with little patches of greenery, musty carpets, yellowing wallpaper, the whole kitsch and caboodle. The subject of their investigation, a corporate type, has "an endearingly tame, by galactic standards, porn collection in the bedroom, out in plain sight," as if nobody used data pads on this high-tech world. This is followed by an equally silly police procedural takedown outside a sleazy airport spaceport motel.Meanwhile, Miles's one "covert ops" moment is so routine as to be boring. Nothing goes wrong. What's the point of writing a "nothing goes wrong" scene?And finally, Lois's fiction has still not caught up with the Internet. The Internet on Kibou-daini is caught in the year 2000, still, where there's a ridiculous amount of public data about the living and the dead, but somehow all this intense data-mining by the Barryaran consulate never comes to the attention of the corporations, or the officials. As evil corporations go, these are some of the least competent seen in the last century, never mind this one! (hide spoiler)]All in all, this is a book designed mostly to Say Something About Families, And How Important They Are, a textbook Motherhood Statement, but somehow it manages to look more like Vorkosigan Fanfic, very definitively told by someone religiously avoiding Mary Sue, than it does a Vorkosigan story of any merit. This is a book that begs the audience, "Please, let's let Miles alone, this time. His time is done. Let me write something else." And the plea is strong, because it also conveys the message, "Look, I seriously injured Miles several times, and he's not going to live a completely full life. People get old, they get sick, and they die. Miles and I are only going to get worse at this, and you don't want me to write that story, do you?"In that, the book does its job. It is time to leave Miles alone. Ten years of Miles should have been enough for all of us. It's obvious that this book was written purely to give the fans one last look at their hero in his later years, as if 39 were "later years!" Sadly, it does that job all too well.

  • Jim
    2019-04-14 00:37

    Another mainly Miles adventure that was pretty good. Actually, most of the book was quite up to par, but the end was a bit disappointing. Bujold strayed into too many recaps of Miles' career. She spent time explaining who he was to a couple of kids just to talk him up, I think. Redundant. This book really shouldn't be read as a stand alone & even if a person did, this information obviously wasn't needed or it would have been introduced earlier.The very end was quite disappointing. She shifted into 5 brief POV's for a major event that was nicely telegraphed, (view spoiler)[Miles' father dies. (hide spoiler)] but still felt tacked on. This could/should have been the beginning of a new novel, not tacked on to this one, IMO.Still, it was well worth reading & the last one that I have as an audio book. I'm glad I listened to it. Read, as usual, by Grover Gardner (I FINALLY remembered his name!) who did his usual fine job. He has a great voice for this & it looks like he's read a bunch of other books as well.

  • Algernon
    2019-04-01 00:34

    [7/10]Cryoburn marks my return to one of my all time favorite military space opera universes. After a couple of volumes more concerned with weddings and marital bliss than with warcraft and political infighting (A Civil Campaign, Diplomatic Immunity) this recent book sees our favorite hyperactive short guy, Miles Vorkosigan, back in the business of ferreting out secret plots and exposing bad guys bent on controlling galactic worlds. There are sadly no battles between giant spaceships in this volume, we are dealing with a more mature Miles, in his role of Imperial Auditor (his job description is charmingly put by Emperor Gregor Vorbarra as:"Here, Miles, you're better at diving into the privy and coming up with the gold ring than anyone I know. Have a go." ) . The setting is the planet Kibou-daini, a Japanese inspired culture on a fringe world where progresses in cryotechnology have resulted in an industry specialized in freezing people up and taking over their assets, and their political votes. A handful of major mega-corporations control the market, presenting us with the major theme of the novel: how much can we trust in the honesty and good behaviour of an organization that has all the incentives to produce profit and few to thaw their clients out of their crypts. I forgot the name of the author who said that the more we talk about the distant future, the more we are actually talking about current events. Let me tell you, young man - the dirty little secret of democracy is that just because you get a vote, doesn't mean you get your choice. Of the new characters introduced here, I particularly liked the couple of runaway children: Jin, the mannish boy who had to learn to rely only on himself after his father died in an accident and his activist mother was forcefully frozen in order to shut her mouth ( Girls, hah. Nobody handled Jin smiles like that when he was scared ... he more usually got some sort of unsympathetic and bracing advice to buck up. . And Mina, his younger sister with a talent for posing uncomfortable questions. Miles himself is by now a father of four, and in the absence of his own family he takes these two youths under his wing.For comedic effect, the local diplomat, Lord Vorlynkin, makes an excellent straight man to the excesses of Miles:"What is the next step?" asked Consul Vorlynkin, in fascinated tones. He looked like a man staring at a groundcar wreck. In slow motion. That he was in.. Old friends: Armsman Roic and sibling Mark complete the casting for this episode.While I consider thatCryoburnis a lightweight, sideline episode in the overall saga of the Vorkosigan family, it felt good to come back to the familiar setting and, as always, the prose, the humor, the scientific ideas behind the story are vintage Lois McMaster Bujold. I actually learned a new literary term, from the original format of the epilogue: a drabble is a story in exactly 100 words. I must try to write one of these things myself, as a challenge.

  • Carly
    2019-04-21 03:25

    **edited 01/27/14It sometimes seems as though fantasy is all about new and inventive ways to die. Scifi, its inverse, always--always, in the end-- involves the extension of life to a point where it begins to exceed reason and rationality. What happens when life is no longer a brief blaze of experience lodged between two eternal unknowns? Is the extension of life past the norm inevitably selfish, either through the selfishness of the individual who seeks to forestall the unexplored, or the selfishness of the family and loved ones who cannot be detached from a soul that is ready to move beyond? How much can the average lifespan grow before it is too long? Surely infinity is too dreary to slog through, but surely there must be someone to regret one's passing, or life would not be worth living in the first place. Should life be extended until the only one to regret its loss is oneself? Thus far, Bujold has delicately skirted these thorny issues, even while investigating her cryonic technology, for it has been used only to restore those whose lives have been violently cut short. While the genetically engineered Betans and Cetagandans count their years in hundreds, a panacea for old age is a new and untested invention, and one that could potentially upset the delicate balance of society. For at some point, must there not be some sort of natural order, a point at which the old gives way to the new? Cryoburn is a story about death--both the journey to, and escape from, that ultimate destination. Kibou-daini is a city of the dead, a planet of corpses neatly packed away in thousands and millions of cryochambers, suspended in death until the moment their lives are restarted. But there's something off about the whole political situation, and it's not just the esprit de corpse. Miles Vorkosigan, Imperial Auditor, is selected by his emperor as the current expert on the mechanics and politics of death and is sent to investigate. Aided by his loyal manservant Roic, it isn't long before they're neck-deep in conspiracies--but since this is Miles Vorkosigan, neck-deep for anyone else means Miles is up to his eyeballs in trouble. ~3.5...Due to my disapproval of GR's new and rather subjective review deletion policy, The rest of this review can be found on Booklikes.

  • Laura (Kyahgirl)
    2019-04-13 06:26

    4/5; 4 stars; A-Cryoburn was a different kind of story than the usual Miles Vorkosigan adventure. Instead of running around space and having armed conflicts, there was more of the feeling of a detective solving a mystery. Since Miles has become an Imperial auditor and has a serious health issue to deal with, its not surprising to see the pace and style of his activities changing. However, as a long time reader of the series, it feels a bit uncomfortable to change gears so completely. That being said, Cryoburn featured yet another strange planet with a strange culture and political system. (view spoiler)[ I thought the idea of using cryofreezing to gain control of a whole planet many years in the future was pretty ingenious.(hide spoiler)]. Lois McMaster Bujold is always a delight because her books don't use the cookie cutter approach. There are always surprising new worlds and interesting characters to enjoy. I particularly liked Jin in this one. I also really enjoyed the periodic insights into Roic's character. I don't think you could be an armsman in the service of a Vorkosigan without undergoing some changes! All in all, this was another good addition to the series. I am an enduring fan. Now, I have to talk about the end of the book so don't read it if you don't like spoilers!(view spoiler)[Aral wasn't even in this book, except as a distant parental unit, referred to obliquely by Miles and Mark. To hear of his death, so suddenly, at the end, was just like reality, in my opinion. You are going along doing life and you get clobbered over the head by a terrible loss. That's it. No negotiation, no way around it. The end of the book had that same impact to me and I think the presentation of five points of view from some main characters in the series, was a unique and effective way to deal with it. I was glad this character didn't die by foul means, just a plain old life ending act of nature.(hide spoiler)]

  • Dalton Fitzgerald
    2019-03-25 02:14

    This book is a bit of an anomaly. Up until this point, the Vorkosigan Saga taken as a whole had been quite possibly my favorite work of fiction, full-stop. One of its strong points was and is Bujold's fascination with the dramatic process and with character development. Miles' inner life in these books is in a constant state of transformation, and his external life reflects this; some of the best books in the series focus on events in his life which transform him as a character (his creation of the Dendarii mercenaries, his eventual expulsion from them, his political ascension, his marriage). Then we hit Cryoburn, in which Miles spends a couple of hundred pages navigating and solving a shallow and contrived mystery plot, only to stumble into the single most important event of his life on the last three pages. The most shattering event he has ever faced is tacked on seemingly as an afterthought, and is therefore not explored to any depth whatsoever. I am extremely puzzled by this. Why would Bujold, who has shown herself to be constantly fascinated by the (often painful) transformative events which shape the personalities of her characters suddenly shy away from the biggest opportunity of all? Was she simply overwhelmed by, or overawed of, the task? And then why spend an entire book (if a brief one) putting the character through what amounts to a pointless exercise? We, as audience, know exactly how it will turn out - Miles will solve the mystery, trounce the baddies, and get in a few choice one-liners along the way - and indeed, this is exactly what happens. The whole book seems predictable and unnecessary, and together with the final compression of a life-changing event into a series of poignant but ultimately unilluminating snapshots... I found the whole book disappointing and disquieting.

  • Erica
    2019-03-30 23:17

    It was like hanging out with a friend you haven't seen in 10 years only to find out that what you had before was something special and what you have now is just mediocre. I enjoyed Cryoburn, but it just wasn't the same.

  • Katie
    2019-04-17 06:37

    I am 100% on board with all the desirous ferret material in this book.All in all a pretty fun time. And disturbing. haha

  • Wealhtheow
    2019-04-14 04:28

    Miles descends upon Kibou-daini to find out if there's something fishy about a cryofreezing company trying to invest in Komarr. Of course there is, and of course Miles is rapidly caught up in a fast-moving adventure to figure out what secret the cryofreezing corps will kill to protect. The mystery itself is pretty pedestrian, and the adventure isn't particularly exciting. Miles has as many resources at his disposal as he could wish for, so there's never that feeling of flying-by-the-seat-of-one's-pants that made his first few novels so exciting. Moreover, he's pretty much gotten over all the emotional damage Barrayar managed to inflict. When we first met him he was a manic ball of repressed agony. Now he's come to terms with his physicality, he has an easy relationship with his family, he has power and respect, and he works for an emperor he trusts...I'm glad he's made his peace. But truthfully, a content Miles isn't particularly interesting to read about. There's no inner conflict to liven up the uninspired plot.I was disappointed in this book, but I will admit that it ends with the most astonishing last three words. If there's another book in the series, it will be very interesting indeed.

  • Jon
    2019-03-27 01:20

    Really only 3.5 stars, but the last chapter made it 4 stars for me. If you strip away the space opera and science fiction, this story boils down to a mystery/thriller where the old adage 'follow the money' proves axiomatic again. Miles is on a new (to us) planet, Kibou-daini (settled by people of Japanese heritage). An entire culture mortally afraid of dying (pun intended) to the point where millions, if not billions, of citizens have chosen cryo preservation rather than the more traditional final frontier (i.e. Death). Oddly, since they are not dead, as citizens they still retain their votes in this democracy, albeit by proxy held by ever larger more monopolistic corporations. This sparked quite a few intriguing interpolations both in the characters and my own internal ponderings. As Emperor Gregor suspected, thanks to his Komarran familial connections, Miles uncovers a plot that could pose an inexorable glacial threat to a third of the Barrayaran Empire and manages, in his usual manic hyperactive style, to expose and diffuse said threat. Cameos by Ekaterin, Mark and Kareen. Briefer cameos by Cordelia, Ivan and Gregor in the last chapter, but have a box of tissues handy.

  • Miriam
    2019-04-03 23:26

    I can't tell if I would have liked this less or more without having read the rest of the series. On the one hand, the earlier books set the bar awfully high. On the other hand, many of the recurring characters and motifs here would be awfully flat without previous encounters. But is having introduced characters in earlier books really an excuse to leave them flat? Mark and Kareen hardly existed in this book (and weren't really needed plotwise) and Ekaterin might as well have not been mentioned. It was disappointing that so much time had elapsed since the last book. And why have it be four-children-later if the children aren't in the book at all? As always (in this series, that is) Bujold does some imaginative world-building and slips in some fascinating discussion points, in this case about life, death, and age. But the levels of both humor and and emotional intensity weren't where they are in earlier installments, so overall I found this book a bit disappointing. However, I recall that there were a couple later books in the series that I liked better on rereading, so I look forward to giving this one another chance in a year or two.

  • Megan Baxter
    2019-04-01 03:39

    I picked this up at our local library's big sale in the fall, and I think it brings me up to date on Vorkosigan books, with the exception of the first two from before Miles' birth, which still elude me. I've read a lot of Lois McMaster Bujold the last couple of years, and have loved every single one of them. Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Melissa McShane
    2019-04-01 04:21

    This reading (as an audiobook) is my second, and I had no memory of any of it except the infamous ending and the aftermaths. It's fun, and clever, and Miles is at his Auditorial best, but the whole thing remains overshadowed by (view spoiler)[Aral's death, with Miles learning about it exactly as he earlier said he feared he would. The final drabble, with Gregor taking his place as pallbearer, just about kills me. (hide spoiler)] As a final Miles book, it's not my favorite end to his character arc (you could argue he continues that arc in Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, but there he's no longer the main character) but it's a pretty good story nonetheless.

  • Bradley
    2019-04-07 02:25

    The worldbuilding was great, Miles was as hyperactive as ever, and the intrigue was quite interesting. The end of the novel was sad, for obvious reasons, and I really want to see more of Miles's own children, but the novel was quite satisfying. I get the feeling that age is really beginning to creep up on him, but his brother's little side-projects might eventually side-step the need to ever slow down. Now if only we could side-step age the same way, we might expect a lot more of these novels, eh? I'd love that!Sigh. This concludes the current suite of novels until Ms. Bujold writes more of them. Here's for praying! Thank you for the wonderful series!

  • Clouds
    2019-04-02 03:24

    I keep a stock of 18 new (to me) books to read at any one time - and I'd somehow ended-up with 5 Bujold's amongst them. Normally I try to never have more than 2 by the same author... now that CryoBurn is finished we're down to 3 and I'm following it up with Ethan of Athos which will get me down to 2 :-)Sadly CryoBurn is not the best Miles adventure - its perfectly solid, but doesn't excel in the same way as some others. [proper review to follow]After this I read: Ethan of Athos

  • rivka
    2019-03-25 00:36

    The book overall was very good. But the ending took it from very good to excellent, as it shifted the entire story that prefaced it. Rather like taking white light through a prism -- none of the components are any different, but how you see each of them has dramatically changed.And the Aftermath drabbles are absolutely heartbreaking.

  • Olga Godim
    2019-03-27 23:23

    When I first read this sci-fi novel in 2010, I didn’t like it. Now, on re-reading, I don’t know why it didn’t work for me then. This time, I loved it. As I read, I looked at the growing page count with dismay. I didn’t want it to end. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in the last couple of months. Its science fiction aspect is not of the space exploration, nor are there any heated battles between robots and aliens. This story is much more subtle. The science is of life and death, and it’s threaded through with moral questions. Can we cheat death? Should we pay for it? Is there any one correct answer? The action takes place in the Vorkosigan universe, on a planet where the main business is cryofreezing those who don’t wish to die. They pay corporations to freeze them and store their bodies until... That’s the question. Until someone comes up with the secret of eternal youth maybe. Or until the payments stop coming. And then what? Unfreeze and bury? And what are the scams that could be played to outsmart this system? What are the safeguards? Miles Vorkosigan, the Imperial Auditor extraordinaire, arrives to this planet to find out, but his investigation is swamped with complications. There are a couple of kidnappings and an illegal cryofreezing operation, bribery and orphan children, bioengineered sphinxes and mind-boggling conspiracies. But as always, Miles is undaunted. His cousin, the emperor, has faith in him. When the emperor said, “Here, Miles, you’re better at diving into the privy and coming up with the golden ring than anyone I know. Have a go,” Miles has a go, and beneath his relentless pushing and prodding, the conspiracies disintegrate, and the bad guys are suitably punished. Among all those heavy-duty adventures peppered with life and death problems, the plot is galloping at a frenetic pace, but there are also moments of unexpected and uncontrollable laughter. Like her hero Miles, Bujold is undaunted by the complexities of the world she has unleashed on her readers. Unfortunately, about 70% in, the pace slows down, the story loses its focus and starts meandering, as if not sure where to go. The two main mysteries Miles confronts don’t collide or even intersect; they run in parallel, diminishing the impact of either, making the plot somewhat muddy. The ending is also mildly disappointing. The book doesn’t end when the story does. It keeps going – its pages sliding into philosophy, contemplations, and writing experiments. Despite these minor faults, it’s really a superb novel, even though it is #14 in the series. Most series would’ve been tired by this point, but not Miles or his creator. Their imagination is as rich as ever.

  • Naiya
    2019-03-26 06:17

    Bujold doesn't disappoint. I missed this one in my first Bujold phase years back; such a treat to read a new Miles book.

  • Ben Babcock
    2019-04-01 01:34

    Let me begin with a huge disclaimer: I have not read any other books in the Vorkosigan Saga. And it's all Lois McMaster Bujold's fault.Well, that's not strictly true. It's the fault of her fans for getting Cryoburn nominated for a Hugo Award, which is why I am reading it now. But ultimately it's Bujold's fault for garnering such a huge fanbase. So there. I had intended to start with the first book and work my way through the series at a sedate pace, but circumstances have forced me to do otherwise. I'm sure that my opinion of Cyroburn will be different once I'm more familiar with the world of Miles Vorkosigan (and yes, I know Miles isn't all the books, or even the first book).Is it Cryoburn or CryoBurn? The copyright page uses the former; Bujold calls it by the latter form. The cover page is no help—for all we know, it's CRYOBURN or cryoburn! I'm going to go ahead and call it Cyroburn, because I'm not a big fan of CamelCase unless it's very very justified. However, I'm not assertive enough to go ahead and change the title in the Goodreads database.As far as introductions to a series go, Cyroburn worked very well. The single most obvious fact about this book is that Bujold knows how to write. She knows how to remind old fans and education new ones by dropping enough facts about the distant Barrayaran Empire without sitting us down for a three-chapter lecture on the subject. She can refer to previous characters and to past events without leaving a neophyte like me swimming in the seas of confusion. Most importantly, Cyroburn is a fun story, makes me laugh, and makes me love Miles Vorkosigan. From our first meeting, when Bujold shows that he is fallible and capable of being incapacitated, to his last page, where nothing in his life will ever be the same again, Miles kept me riveted. He's a great character, and it's obvious that Bujold loves to write him. He also happens to be one of my favourite types of character. In fact, it's kind of scary how close Miles comes to my idealized "somewhat crazy covert operative in space" template. If I had a nickel for every time an author stole ideas from my before I was even born….Miles can use a weapon when need be, but there's actually very little of that kind of action in Cryoburn. It's part action-thriller but mostly mystery, and Miles is a sneaky and devious man. Dispatched to Kibou-daini and a conference on cryonics, Miles discovers Emperor Gregor was right to be concerned: one of the cryocorps, as they're called on Kibou, that plans to expand to one of the imperial planets, Komarr, is up to no good. His first clue comes when they offer him a bribe, which Miles uses a way to get his foot in the door and do some surreptitious investigation. I particularly love this passage:Aida facilitated the conversation onto a series of pleasant, neutral topics, all the while inching nearer, her coat and undercoat loosened to strategically reveal the swell of her breasts beneath her low-cut top. Miles suspected pheromone perfumes, but the message hardly needed the boost; this young lady could be part of his bribe if he wished. Alas, Aida had shown no sign of knowing enough dirt to cultivate, and anyway he didn't need to look every kind of corruptible. There was such a thing as artistic restraint.I love that Miles mediates the persona he projects so carefully! And, of course, Bujold communicates this is a way that made me snicker aloud. There's just so much joy here, because Bujold knows Miles is wacky and we know he's wacky—even Miles knows he's wacky. Yet the threats he faces are very real, with very real consequences, and that helps add an edge that keeps Cryoburn from sliding into the territory of absurdism. This is a humourous story in many ways, but it also has some serious moments (especially at the end).The flaws in Cyroburn are gaping, so it is to Bujold's credit that she distracts us enough not to care about them. By which I mean, the story and its pacing are just so damn compelling that I could see what was missing, but I didn't care. I just wanted more Miles and more madness. I was having fun, and that was all that mattered. But now the fun is over, and it's time to pick up the pieces and look at what works—and what doesn't.The cryocorps are the main antagonists in this book. They are suppressing information that could hurt their industry, despite its potential to impact a massive number of people (most of them frozen). Yet as we learn more about the conspiracy, it's clear it's actually being perpetrated by several top executives at a single cyrocorp—and we only ever get to meet one. Everything else happens offstage, behind a wall of lawyers and exposition. Confrontations go through hired goons. So while Miles is a compelling protagonist, he has no matching number on the other team. In fact, having Miles on our side makes it rather unfair for the bad guys. They don't know what hits them. There is never a single moment of genuine terror, never a moment where I wonder if Miles is going to fail. There are some great setbacks, mix-ups, and threats—but they never really seem serious enough. Miles is fallible and not all-powerful, but the bad guys more than make up for his flaws with their own ineptitude.As I approached the end of Cryoburn, I was starting to worry that Bujold would leave me with a sickeningly-happy ending. No one important had died—no one had even been maimed; I would have settled for maimed! Two minor characters, who had been making eyes at each other in the most obvious way, were well on their way to hooking up. As Miles departed Kibou-daini, I worried that Bujold would ruin my happiness by giving it to him. It's not that I dislike happy endings, but I didn't feel like Miles' time on Kibou had changed him that much. He came, he saw, he triumphed—what did it mean to him?And then in the last few pages, Bujold twisted it around and shattered Miles' life in a very big way. Fans might have been expecting it, I don't know, and newcomers and fans alike might see it in the subtext. I didn't see it coming, but I had been paying enough attention to understand why it was so significant. And with that, Bujold accomplished two things: firstly, she made me want a new Miles Vorkosigan book, a sequel, like right now; secondly, she cemented the events on Kibou as an unforgettable part of the Vorkosigan canon. Any doubts I had about the relevance of these adventures were erased: Cyroburn is a watershed moment for Miles.I'm reading this book so I can cast an informed vote for the Hugo Award for Best Novel. I ordinarily read books with a critical eye, but in this case, behind all my other questions lurks one more: why does this book deserve the Hugo? Would if I had an answer, but it doesn't. Or at least, not compared to the stiff competition provided by the likes of The Dervish House. Cyroburn confirmed what I had heard from friends, which is that Bujold is a good writer and her Vorkosigan saga is an excellent science-fiction series. I have no doubt on any of these counts, and I will definitely be reading more books in this series. This was a great introductory novel for me, but it definitely left room for my enjoyment of the series to rise even higher.

  • Leseparatist
    2019-04-21 05:20

    Definitely at the "Cry" stage right now. A proper review to follow, perhaps.I don't think I'm capable of a proper review. (view spoiler)[ I'm too close to this. I have too many feelings and I'm too raw about this, with my private grief mixed in with everything else. So all I can say is: I spoiled myself well in advance, and I'm glad I had, but even if I hadn't, I think that knowing Bujold's penchant for complex reverberation of a given theme on multiple levels (something like all those serial dramas where the case of the week somehow illustrate or provide a counterpoint to the private issues of the protagonists), I would have been hard-pressed not to infer that, in a novel which is about:a) dying, fear of death and cheating deathb) the pressure of heritage and legacy on descendantsc) Miles's conflicting feelings about home and family (he says he wants to go home, but in the first chapters he thinks about Ekaterin and his children less than Roic does!),we should expect the gut punch of Aral's death.Well, I'm absolutely gut-punched and I ugly-cried so much I had to clean my glasses at least three times. It's highly emotionally manipulative, of course - Miles & Mark talking about what they should talk to their father about! - but the way Bujold communicates it, fulfilling Miles's nightmare so exactly, and coming full circle... masterful. (hide spoiler)]But I will say a few things:a) I don't think I've ever read a book by Bujold where the narrators felt so... not-quite-formed. Jin was skippable and seemed to mostly exist for the sake of narrative convenience. He was barely a real character (at a few points yes, but frequently not) but a plot device who likes pets. Roic didn't have a narrative arc and while his perspective on Miles was appreciated, it was pretty fragmentary. Miles was... going backward instead of forward, and kind of a shitty person to everyone in his private life, I guess.b) it was great to see Bujold try a new genre (biopunk, right? This was biopunk?) but it's a pity she doesn't seem to go all the way with it, defaulting to mystery -> solution (the book kind of loses its thread to me 2/3 through and just goes forward to get to the ending, which is sort of its point)c) it may have been the most annoying Miles has ever been :(d) the fact that we had three male characters of whom one had hardly any thoughts about women, one was a small boy and had negative feelings about his sister and aunt, and one (Miles) had explicitly misogynistic moments (thoughts on female hypochondria, for instance, but also that part about dealing with women & dealing with children) hardly endeared the narrative to me with regard to gender issues.But even if this was a 3-star book, its ending catapults to 4 stars easily.

  • Brenda
    2019-03-21 03:37

    I've read some reviews that seem to be of the opinion that this book isn't one of her best. That it hasn't got any memorable characters, aside from Miles himself, who is rather diminished as well. I think I have to agree. Bujold can write yes, but I've always felt that it was her characters who made the book, and all the interesting new ones promised in the summary,"...a young boy with a passion for pets and a dangerous secret, a Snow White trapped in an icy coffin who burns to re-write her own tale, and a mysterious crone who is the very embodiment of the warning Don't mess with the secretary."just didn't seem to live up to their potential. Everyone felt a little flat, smaller somehow and faded into the background, even the villains, who aren't even on-page at all. This book sounds like a dud right, so why am I still talking so much about it? Well, then there was the epilogue. Which was so bittersweet and beautifully written and in keeping with what the author has effectively set up for the whole novel, that I can't believe I didn't see it coming. In fact I feel like the entire adventure in Cryoburn was really a prelude to the epilogue, a thought experiment before the actual deed -- which may be why it seems so faded as a standalone? Because it's not meant to overshadow the ending?The rest of my thoughts get a bit more introspective and spoilery. (view spoiler)[Count Aral Vorkosigan, the great man behind Miles's 'Great Man's Son Syndrome', has been a huge driving force in Miles' life and story (12 books worth of them), directly and indirectly. He's one of The main characters, even if he's not actually a main character, so I suppose it's fitting that Bujold pretty much takes an entire book to send him off to the afterlife. Tribute to the great man? It worked anyway, because I'm all teared up. :'(I love books like this, books that manage to turn my thoughts and judgments and ignorance on themselves. In case it isn't obvious enough already, death and mortality is the theme that runs throughout Cryoburn. Cryonics is so prevalent on Kibou-daini that activists lobby for inclusion of the poor, for basic human rights to encompass the chance to be frozen and have your life extended. Mention is made of the planet Jackson Whole's ethics-free clone-brain-transplant operations, and the story crosses paths with Miles's brother Lord Mark's lifelong goal to put them out of business by developing better life extension methods.At one point, Miles observes that with mortality being absolute, so it might be as well for people's obsession with avoiding it."I'm not so sure of that," said Miles thoughtfully. "If people start getting frozen at eight hundred instead of eighty, the game will still go on, just set to a new equilibrium." It was just this sort of intellectual detachment from the idea of death that I maintained throughout the novel. I wondered at people's obsession with staying alive indefinitely. I agreed with Miles' casual judgment that these people were more concerned about not dying than living. When Sergeant Taura refused to be cryonically frozen on the grounds that life would be just as difficult after, and that she wouldn't want to wake up in a world with no friends, I nodded along with her.I viewed mortality through the lens of an outsider much like Miles did most of the book. Then BAM! the epilogue comes packing a huge emotional punch, and I am knocked on my back. My immediate reactions, as expected, were along the lines of don'tdiedon'tdiedon'tdie. I don't care what state Count Aral would be in otherwise just not something so final as death, please. I cried.I'm not discounting either of the reactions I had to dying, logical and emotional. I feel that it is precisely because I held two such (naturally) conflicting views in that short span of time that I can examine them in tandem and reconcile them to each other. Miles kind of goes through a similar journey (though fundamentally different I guess, real grief is nothing like fiction-induced grief, and I've not had any deaths in my immediate family whose memory would be triggered by this). He makes those pithy observations on death to himself, then struggles with letting go when it comes to the people he loves (Sergeant Taura and his father). I felt his pain even as I tried to remove myself from it. It is a testament to Bujold's skill that she has managed to engender in me so much love and subsequently grief for a character who mainly exists through Miles's eyes within the context of these books.And thus, wallowing through the murky sentiments of the aftermath, I come to these thoughts. Death is for the living. True enough, whether we manage to live to 80 or 800, death ultimately hurts most for the people you leave behind. People will still love you at 800, and your passing will not be any less painful for them. If there isn't anyone left who loves you by then, I imagine the bulk of the pain is for you in the years leading up to it."Nobody," muttered Roic, "should die of old age at thirty-standard." Certainly not such a blazing spirit as Taura's had been.M'lord looked meditative. "If the Duronas' or anybody else's anti-aging research ever succeeds, I wonder if death at three hundred or five hundred will come to seem as outrageous?"Well, there's no need to wonder so far ahead. Count Aral was at least 82 when he died, old for Barrayaran standards, and one would say he lived a full life. None of that detracted from the grief, as I full well know. I wondered about the title of this book, CryoBurn. I'd thought it meant freezer burn or something, but it's apparent to me now that it's a juxtaposition of freezing and burning. Or more specifically, of limbo and closure. Stretching out the inevitable, but ultimately losing out on those years spent in stasis. Or cauterizing and letting the past make way for the future.Don't get me wrong though, the novel isn't trying to moralize over humans' futile attempts to thwart death or anything like that. It's really about letting go. And I'm learning to let go, just as Miles had to. 4/5 stars.(hide spoiler)]