Monday, February 24, 2014

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold & Hallowed Bonds by Eresse

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (Vorkosigan Saga #15) by Lois McMaster Bujold 5*
BLURB: Book fifteen in the best-selling Vorkosigan series. This time the story moves away from Miles Vorkosigan, the protagonist of the earlier books, to his cousin, Captain Ivan Vorpatril.
Captain Vorpatril is happy with his relatively uneventful bachelor’s life as a staff officer to a Barrayaran admiral, assigned to the planet Komarr, far from the Byzantine court politics of his home system.
This content existence is shattered when an old friend in Barrayaran intelligence asks Ivan to protect an attractive young woman, who may be on the hit list of a criminal syndicate. Ivan’s chivalrous nature takes over, and it seems danger and adventure have once more found Captain Vorpatril.
Tej Arqua and her half-sister and servant Rish are fleeing the violent overthrow of their clan on the free-for-all planet of Jackson’s Whole. Now it seems Tej may possess a hidden secret of which even she may not be aware. It’s a secret that could corrupt the heart of a highly regarded Barayarran family and provide the final advantage to the thugs who seek to overthrow Tej’s homeworld. But none of Tej’s formidable adversaries have counted on Ivan Vorpatril. For behind Ivan’s facade of wry and self-effacing humor lies a true and cunning protector who will never leave a distressed lady in the lurch–up to and including making the ultimate sacrifice to keep her from harm.

My Review: I have loved reading about the Vorkosigans ever since I discovered Lois Bujold's stories about them but, I was still a little apprehensive that this one wouldn't be as good as it was about a cousin not a Vorkosigan. I am glad to say I needn't have been. Not only was it as good as all her other Vorkosigans stories, it was Space Opera with great big dashes of humour and action added to the pot. I loved every word of it and it was lovely to read about Ivan without him being overshadowed by the larger than life Miles Vorkosigan.

Hallowed Bond (Chronicles of Ylandre #2) by Eressë 5*
BLURB: Time and circumstances may force true lovers apart but the tie that binds them can never be fully severed.
When Dylen Teris and Riodan Leyhar meet one harsh winter in the dual-gendered realm of Ylandre, neither expects the encounter to lead to a fast friendship and abiding love. For a chasm of vastly dissimilar social stations lies between them, and not all Deira could imagine, let alone accept, such a relationship.
Circumstances eventually separate them for what seems forever only to conspire to bring them together once more in the most unlikely of places—at the court of Rohyr Essendri, Ylandre’s powerful monarch. Complicating their situation is the attraction that still lingers between them, waiting to flare once more into love. But when one is unwilling to venture his heart again or wholly forgive its breaker, it may take a king’s interference to reunite these star-crossed lovers for good.

My Review: This is the second book in a series but it can (with a little bit of a push) be considered a stand alone. Most of the background needed to understand the world is there and as it runs parallel to the first one there is a lot of overlap in timeline story. However for the best understanding it should be read after Sacred Fate anyway. A lot of people mentioned betrayal and stuff but I ignored that and am glad I did. Without giving spoilers, I can understand where they were coming from about Rio but I understood him and his reasons. Plus the story would have lost half its emotional content without it. Personally I say if you enjoyed reading book one then read it with an open mind and enjoy this one too.

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