While browsing through my kindle for something to read I came across the Miles Vorkosigan books. Deciding that I wasn’t already reading enough multiple-novel series’, I decided to give the first Miles book, The Warrior’s Apprentice, a go. What I found was a quick paced and easily readable story that has much potential, and left me thinking where the story could go from here.
A cripple since birth, Miles is not your average Barrayan. He’s also the grandson of a military genius and the heir to the house of Vorkosigan – more than enough to live up to. But Miles is intelligent and headstrong, determined to prove others wrong. However, while attempting the physical tests to pass his Officer’s exams he breaks both legs and sees his chance disappear. At a loose end, he decides to visit his mother’s side of the family on Beta colony, a colony that saw much fighting prior to his birth. Along with Sergeant Bothari, his personal bodyguard, and Bothari’s daughter, Elena, Miles takes a trip that ends up being much more than he bargained for.
I enjoyed The Warrior’s Apprentice, despite the setting and its history not really hitting the spot. It felt strange – a society that went from fighting with swords, to spaceflight between planets, in perhaps 70 years. There is some allusion in the novel to the ‘Time of Isolation’ after the colony was founded, but never in any detail, and it often left me wondering a little more about these things.
Fortunately, The Warrior’s Apprentice is not about the finer points of world building, but about the characters. Mile Vorkosigan is our main man, and he’s a completely intriguing character to follow. Despite his weak bones disability, or perhaps in spite of it, he’s confident and, to be fair, a little arrogant. He can talk his way through many things, and in reality that’s what this novel is about: Miles Vorkosigan. While the other characters add to the mix – particularly Sergeant Bothari with his dark and mysterious military past.
On the whole The Warrior’s Apprentice does things well. It’s a quick paced novel that leads the reader from one point to another, often leaving you blinking at the change of situation. The times that it does slow down and allows some deeper issues to be raised and dealt with are by far the highlight, showing that it’s not all about moving the story forward at a breakneck pace.
Definitely recommended, and with Hugo winners in future volumes I’ll be looking forward to what other adventures Miles has in store.