source for free and affordable eBooks


Powered by FreeFind

Site search
Web search

    Review of CRYOBURN by Lois McMaster Bujold


    Baen, October 2010

    Imperial Auditor, Miles Vorkosigan has been sent to Kibou to investigate a proposed corporate investment in one of the Barrayarian Empire's worlds. He thinks he's on the right track when one of the businessmen offers him a bribe, but his investigation is temporarily disturbed by a kidnapping attempt. A dissident group, dissatisfied with Kibou's proxy government (when near-death, citizens freeze themselves, turning their proxy-votes over to the corporations which keep their frozen corpses ready to be revived when cures for their illnesses are finally discovered and these votes now allow control of the government) manages to drug Miles, but he somehow escapes and wanders around drugged and incoherent, until he is discovered by a runaway boy (Jin Sato) whose mother, coincidentally, holds the secret that just might topple the Kibou corporations.

    Once he is able to get the drugs out of his system, Miles goes into investigator mode, trying to uncover exactly what the Kibou hope to accomplish by their Barrayarian investments, and to find where the corporations have stashed Jin's mother.

    Author Lois McMaster Bujold (see more reviews of novels by Bujold) continues her Vorkosigan series with a story that simply doesn't live up to the best in this series. Bujold is a wonderful writer and the Vorkosigan series is a superior SF adventure. CRYOBURN gives us some thoughtful comments. What, exactly, will it be like when people can be frozen, still alive, yet not really animate? Will they have rights? Will the corporations responsible for keeping them alive be allowed the political power to represent their silent but un-dead residents? Surprisingly, it's in the execution that Bujold falls short. The coincidence of the drugged Miles being rescued by the one child who can lead him to the secret behind the corporations is extreme. Miles himself is never at risk and the danger to the Barrayarian Empire is remote, especially in light of the drastic way that Barrayar has in dealing with its enemies. The danger to Jin seems to be that he might have to leave his pet chickens and bugs behind when he's sent to live with his aunt.

    Bujold is a powerful writer, and she was able to draw me into the story despite its flaws, making me care about Jin, his sister and mother, and about the mysterious amateur-death-cult that had been taking care of Jin since he ran away from his aunt. Ultimately, though, this story just isn't up to what I'd expect from Bujold in terms of character, plot or emotional depth.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 2/28/11

    Buy Cryoburn (Vorkosigan Saga) from Amazon

    Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name. Banner Exchange