newest Bujold

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Wed Jul 31 21:56:52 EDT 2002

On Fri, 05 Jul 2002 09:15:49 -0600, Robyn Starkey wrote:

>I know this is a little OT, but I also know that there are people on this 
>list who have read Diplomatic Immunity, and I wanted to vent. I thought 
>Bujold's previous book, A Civil Campaign, was really brilliant, and funny 
>and pushed the envelope of the genre a bit in unexpected ways. DI was a 
>good read, but I felt it was going a bit backwards, it was very like some 
>of the earlier stories, without new concepts or excitements: a revisit of 
>the ideas from Ceteganda (one of my faves) without the gender politics. 
>Also, I get the impression that Miles' character has stopped developing now 
>that he has a wife, or maybe this book is just treading water. Thoughts?

I agree and disagree.  :)

I agree that _Diplomatic Immunity_ doesn't have the heft of its immediate
predecessors.  What I disagree about is the idea that it's a step backwards.
As I look at the series, she's consistently had some books that were less
complex than others.  _Komarr_, which I loved, isn't nearly the book that
_Memory_ is, for example.  Occasionally she hits a very powerful point in
the series, and the book immediately following is usually a lesser work.  So
I don't see her progressing in a straight line so much as I think she simply
has some books that aren't as powerful as others.  I also don't think _DI_
represents the entire direction the series is heading.  _A Civil Campaign_
made some dramatic changes to the dynamic of the series, and I think it will
take at least two books to see what's going to happen.

I admit, too, that I had low hopes for _DI_ because of the trouble inherent
in introducing a spouse to an established series; it throws everything off
balance no matter how much we like the spouse.  So I wasn't as disappointed
as I might have been, because I already didn't expect a lot.  I liked
individual parts of the novel, but felt the whole didn't cohere very well.
On the other hand, I was surprised at how tense the final scenario made me,
despite my certainty that she wasn't going to kill Miles off yet....  Still,
I liked it fairly well.  I've only read it once, so far, and I will probably
refine my opinion further when I do.

Anyway, my final assessment is that I'm reserving judgment on the way the
series is going until I see the next one.  Probably the next two, since I
have such respect for Bujold's abilities.  And I'm looking forward to the
second Chalion book, to see if she's planning on turning that into a series
as well.

Melissa Proffitt

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