Review: Shards of Honor
So at this point I'm just going to say that Bujold can do no wrong. So wrap yourself in for some gushing from me. I keep finding that it's rare that I like older books. Usually they are written in a voice that I find to be, well, gross. Or there's an older language feel that I just can't get into. Its a shame because it usually means there's a bunch of classic stories that I just don't like.
But in comes Lois McMaster Bujold in the ancient days of 1991 with Shards of Honor. This is classic sci-fi, and though it still has some flavors of the old styles that I don't like, the classic story and the modern voice more then make up for anything that I didn't like. The story is epic in scope. It covers a lot of time and space and planets and people, but it gives us a point of view to make things immediately personal and small scale. It's a wonderful tactic to give the feeling of a big war based sci-fi tale while grounding everything in an interesting point of view.
The point of view being female allows her to deconstruct and observe common tropes and characters from the genre in a way that never feels like commentary or camera winking. Instead they are treated seriously and allowed to show themselves off in a genuine way that both adds to the story and speaks more broadly about the place for the book in the larger genre.
I shouldn't be surprised that I enjoyed this so much after loving this author's fantasy work, but I've seen plenty of times where skills don't transfer over to other genres. I give Shards of Honor four out of five.