A few months ago, I asked y’all what book you would recommend to introduce romance to a Sci Fi/Fantasy reader who was curious about the genre. Robert, one of the tech support gurus at our host Esosoft, was curious romance, and based on your recommendations, I sent him a copy of Lois McMaster (aka McAwesome) Bujold’s Cordelia’s Honor, a two-in-one book that features Shards of Honor and Barrayar. I asked Robert what he thought, and this is his reply, in the form of an informal quick guest review from someone who loves fiction, has no experience with romance (except what I’ve told him, which is that it is AWESOME), and was open to trying anything you folks recommended. Robert’s reply is from a few weeks ago, hence the reference to Bujold’s upcoming, and now past, appearance at Denvention.
Robert says: Finally and at long last I finished Cordelia’s Honor on Sunday! =) I imagine you’d appreciate some sort of ‘book report’ so here goes…
I enjoyed it. I can’t say I loved it, though I can’t say why I didn’t. I only know that when a book really grabs my attention, I can’t put it down. Cordelia’s tales were interesting, fun, dangerous; but never really took me by the shoulders and forced me to continue reading.
I enjoyed the fact that there was no trashy sex on every other page. I was disappointed to never have run into trashy sex. I thought trashy sex was the hallmark of any romance novel. Live and learn!
I’m (personally) rather turned off by characters whose names I cannot pronounce. And let me tell you (although I’m sure you already know), this book was a smörgåsbord of irregular triphthongs and incompatible consonants. And as with any decent Swedish buffet, everything was interesting to look at, but didn’t inspire quite enough confidence to actually put in one’s mouth.
My usual tactic of calling any character with an unpronounceable name the first letter of his/her last name did me absolutely no good on Barrayar because (again, as you know), nine out of ten characters on that planet have last names beginning with V.
I’m still not sure exactly which V character it was that attempted the coup. I’m sure I had been introduced to him earlier in the book, but by the time he was facing execution, he was just another V to me.
All in all, [Bujold] spins a good yarn. The book didn’t force me to read. It allowed me downtime. But it certainly didn’t allow me to forget that Cordelia was waiting for me to continue with her adventures.
Wow! Lois is going to be the Guest of Honor at Denvention 3! Next time I stop at Barnes & Noble I’ll see if they have a copy of Young Miles and pick it up. It would be interesting to see what familiar characters are up to.
Again, I enjoyed the book, and I think you very much for having sent it. I’d give it a B-. I enjoyed the book. An “A” book would have forced me to read it in one sitting. A “C” book I doubt I would have finished. So Cordelia’s Honor gets a B (B Minus only because there were too many unpronounceable names – but who am I to nitpick?).
Thanks Robert for the review, and glad you ultimately picked up Bujold as another author to follow. One person down, a few hundred bazillion to go in my quest to introduce the best of the best in romance and romance hybrids to everyone on the earth. Mwaaahahahahaaaaaa.