>> Thursday, June 26, 2003
First novel in the popular series that begins with the inauspicious meeting of Betan astrocartographer Cordelia Naismith and Barrayaran Captain Aral Vorkosigan during a treacherous war. As captor and prisoner on an abandoned outpost planet, the honorable captain and the resolute scientist must rely on each others' trust to survive a trek across dangerous terrain, thus sparking a relationship that shares the struggles of culture and politics between their worlds.My first experience definitely won't be my last, this one was an A-. I loved the attention devoted to the world-building, though I think I might like even better something with less intrincate political intrigue. Even so, even I could follow this one easily, so it was pretty ok.
Of course, good, interesting universes and adventure aren't enough for me. SoH succeeded because it also had wonderful characterization. I especially liked Cordelia. She was strong and sensible and no-nonsense, but also compassionate and kind. All that, and a nice self-deprecating sense of humour.
Aral Vorkosigan was a bit more of a cipher, since we didn't get his POV, but I liked what I saw through Cordelia's eyes (and, given the discussion we had about sympathetic homosexual characters on one of AAR's message boards, where someone wondered why we never see heros or heroines that have had any kind of same-sex sexual experience in the past, I found it especially interesting that there's a hint of it in Aral's backstory. I had 0 problem with this, in case you're wondering!)