Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Young Miles; L.M. Bujold

Young Miles is an omnibus of two previously published Miles Vorkosigan books plus one Miles short story: The Warrior's Apprentice, The Mountains of Mourning and The Vor Game. The omnibuses put Miles' books together internal chronolgical order- which is nice. No more hunting all over the internet for chronolgical lists.

The story begins with Miles at 17, trying valiantly but failing the physical entrance test for the premier military school on Barrayar. Subsequently Miles escapes his grandmother on Beta and the rest of his adventure begins. Space opera at its best.

At 17 Miles suffers from all of the expected flaws of the young. Especially young people whose parents have money and connections. Namely: the conviction that they will live forever, that credit and your good name are enough, blithe inattention to nuances and ethics, dragging others into his schemes pell mell & damn the torpedoes. Miles seems to suffer from ADD terribly. Genetically unable to pay attention for more than five minutes, Miles is restless and suffers the consequences. Not to mention the chip on his shoulder about his height.

As is to be expected, Miles grows signifigantly in maturity over the course of Young Miles. He learns to read people better. Well, he learns that he needs to read people. He learns that his actions and attitudes have far reaching ripples. Learns that power and responsiblity are heavy at times and never to be taken lightly. Miles firmly believes that sometimes doing the right thing trumps following orders. A difficult stance to maintain in a militaristic culture. Somehow, though, Miles inspires those around him to strive. An admirable and rare trait. Miles is a fully rounded , human character, not a stereotype. I appreciate that most of all, I think.

It was difficult to finish this one. The first section, especially, was hard. I find seventeen year olds who pull a prank on the 'rents, their gov't & a whole bunch of others with credit cards and a ton of chutzpah tough to swallow. I liked the middle section best, despite the fact that it is the shortest. In The Mountains of Mourning Miles learns the true extent of his feudal obligations to the people of his land, how the ripples of decision making reach far and wide. Much growth, here in this little nugget.

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