Review of CRYOBURN by Lois McMaster Bujold
Baen, October 2010
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 BooksForABuck.com 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.
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