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_Cryoburn_, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Bar Harbor
Did you know that Baen Books will sell you an "e-ARC" of a forthcoming book before it's released in paper form? I only recently found out, and have thus just finished reading _Cryoburn_, the new Miles Vorkosigan book, which won't be out in paper until November. You can too, if you want.

Non-spoiler review: A serviceable Miles Vorkosigan (TM) adventure. Well worth reading, but not likely to place in anyone's list of Top Three Miles Books.

Mild spoilers and criticism beneath the cut.

I have two sets of objections to this book, which can be summed up as lacks of Tension and Character Development.

Tension: The opening chapter has Miles in a truly horrific, dangerous situation. By chapter two, he has escaped, and is never in any notable personal danger thereafter. There is a conspiracy to uncover which threatens the Barrayaran Empire -- but the conspirators are completely outclassed by Miles in both competence and ruthlessness, so the outcome is never in doubt. There are a few tense moments near the end, when the bad guys are desparate, but they are few, and quickly defused. The stakes are intellectually high, but not emotionally, and the overall emotional tone is close to that of a 'cosy'.

Character Development: None of the important characters in this book have any character arc. They end as exactly the same people they began as. Miles has been changed somewhat by becoming a parent -- but that all happened off-screen, before the story starts. There are occasional references to what has been happening to long-term series characters; *none* of them are remotely surprising. The book ends with a tease of some *future* interesting character developments, but only in the last few pages, after the Story Proper has concluded.

I did like the exploration of the ethics of widespread use of cryonics, especially the (accidental?) resonances with modern health care debates. And spending time with Miles remains enjoyable as ever. Recommended.

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electronic Advanced Reader Copies (eARC). That acronym was surprisingly hard to Google up; and I had mistakenly assumed it was another competing ebook format.

It appears Baen gives you .MOBI/PRC files. Cool.

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