When the new Vorkosigan book, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, was announced last year, I pre-ordered a hard copy for my brother-in-law. He likes first edition hardbacks and there was a limited signed edition, so… When his copy arrived last week, I quickly mailed it to my sister to squirrel away as a gift. And then I downloaded a Kindle copy.
Although I pre-ordered and ordered copies, I didn’t actually read much about it. Jole was obviously the fellow from earlier books, Aral Vorkosigan’s aide de camp, and the Red Queen would be Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan. Set after Aral’s death. But other than that? Eh, I didn’t need to know.
I feel like maybe I had *expectations* for this book. It isn’t a badly written book by any means. It works as a bookend for the series, in the sense that it takes Cordelia back where the series began, Sergyar, and addresses topics came up in the first and second books but were left fallow when the series concentrated on Miles rather than Cordelia and Aral. [I could say a lot more about that but it would involve serious spoilers.] But I kept waiting for an external plot to match the internal one, and it never happened. As Miles went about becoming Admiral Naismith and then Auditor Vorkosigan, he got adventures to go along with the personal growth, while this mostly had Jole’s personal growth/change with Cordelia as…not puppeteer but conscience-nudger, maybe?
I don’t know. I think I’m going to have to read it again.