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Cetaganda (1996)

Cetaganda (1996)

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4.14 of 5 Votes: 3
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0671877445 (ISBN13: 9780671877446)
baen books

About book Cetaganda (1996)

Cetaganda is one of those "filling in the blanks" books. It comes after The Vor Game in chronological order, but it was actually written after two or three more books were out. As far as I can tell, that means that the whole issue of Miles as Admiral Naismith and the Dendarii Free Mercenaries is left to one side (I'm assuming something will happen in that area in the next few books), and we get a little side-adventure.That side-adventure takes place in Cetaganda, of all places. Miles and his cousin Ivan Vorpatril are on an official mission, representing Barrayar at a state funeral. Trouble starts even before they properly land. The Barrayaran ship is directed to a docking bay which is strangely deserted. A strange man in a technician's overall comes on-board, a scuffle ensues and he runs off, leaving Miles and Ivan in possession of a mysterious object the man had in his pocket. By the time they get redirected to the right docking bay (containing the expected full complement of Cetagandan officials to provide a proper ceremonial reception), they have decided to keep quiet about it. They'll just tell the Imperial Security man as soon as they get to the embassy.Turns out the ImpSec man is away on a short trip, and that's enough to get Miles investigating on his own. Because clearly, something very strange is going on. Before long, Miles and Ivan (pressured by Miles, of course) are fully involved in what could become a truly damaging mess, both for Cetaganda and for Barrayar.I found the plot entertainingly convoluted. Miles is Miles, though, so his brainpower and gift for strategic thinking allow him to make some quite impressive deductions. But really, it's all about the world-building here, and that succeeds only in parts. On the positive side, Cetaganda is quite a fun place to read about, with its noble ladies floating about in opaque white bubbles and its aristocratic classes obsessed with aesthetics and genetic manipulation. It all creates some fantastic visual pictures. Most of all, I liked that Bujold is trying to explore some quite interesting concepts with this world, such as where does power really come from. It's a world, however, that doesn't really bear too much examination. When Bujold describes and contrasts Barrayar and Beta Colony, I get it. Given their history, the way they work makes sense. With Cetaganda, I never completely bought the way their culture is supposed to have evolved. I don't know if it's an intrinsically flawed concept or just that we don't get enough depth here, but I just wasn't convinced.That isn't a fatal flaw, though, and on the whole, I enjoyed this very much.MY GRADE: A strong B.

This is the third book in the Miles Vorkosigan saga (the first 2 aren't about Miles) and it's the weakest I've read so far. The book is another adventure in the convoluted history of Miles' somewhat...unusual "military" career. "Technically" assigned to Barrayarian Security Miles has been sent to Cetaganda for the funeral of the Cetagandain Empress.The book sets out to tell an intricate, Byzantine type story of palace intrigue. It does a pretty good job and the story holds the interest fairly well. I say "fairly well" as this one didn't really hold my interest as well as the first two. There was once in this novel that I skipped forward a bit, the first time this has happened with this series. I did find the book interesting and I did like it. It's still about Miles and it continues the "saga". Still it wasn't one I was in a hurry to get back to when I'd laid it aside. It isn't one I think I'll reread. And it's one I wasn't sorry to see end. Too bad.The next book I have is one that's much farther along in the series and we'll see how it goes. I can still go back to the ones "between" this one and the one I just downloaded from the library. Still, a good series and I have hopes for the next one.So, for this book we'll rate it a good solid "okay". Three (3) stars and a recommendation that's just a bit less enthusiastic than the ones for the 2 novels of the series before this one.

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My 2nd or 3rd reread of this, and I had very mixed feelings. I love Cetagandan culture -- Bujold clearly drew on Japanese history, with her artistic high-culture Imperial haut who are carefully keeping the reins on the military ghem; the two classes need one another and struggle against one another in equal measure. What I liked less about the book was, surprisingly, Miles. Young, brash, impetuous, arrogant Miles, who is so convinced of his own competence and almost everyone else's *in*competence that he has to do everything by himself. I'm sure Bujold knows what she's doing here, and has no illusions that her hero is actually acting in the best interests of anyone around him, but it was still difficult to read, mostly because when I was in my early 20s his behaviour seemed so completely appropriate & now in my mid-30s it seems so frustratingly selfish.Overall I'm glad I reread it, and will probably reread it again for the culture, but I'm looking forward to watching Miles reach painful maturity in the next few books.

This is my favorite book so far in the Miles Vorkosigan series.What I liked: A limited sphere of action, fewer characters than some of the other books, a mystery to be solved, and a closer look at the Cetagandan civilization.Miles does more thinking things through in this novel, rather than making so many intuitive leaps. We get to see more of his relationship with his cousin Ivan (who provides some of the laugh-out-loud moments in the book). Miles continues to learn about himself, continues to come to terms with his physical limitations, and continues to be bold in following his own path.

While this was another fun addition to the series, it struck me as a bit too convoluted & convenient to really work at times. Much hinged on security & technology gaffs that didn't fully make sense, still it was a fun trip featuring Miles & Ivan. They're great characters & if you just go along for the ride, it's quite entertaining.It was also nice to get a better look at Ceteganda. They're mentioned quite often in other books, but this is the first time we get to see the beasts in their natural habitat. Their philosophy, culture, & world is interesting.

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