Details: (c) 1989 Lois McMaster Bujold; Pub Baen Books 2003; ISBN 0-671-69799-4
Verdict: Brothers in arms is magnificent fun.
Reasons for reading it: I should probably stop filling in this field for the Miles series, because really the only trouble here is rationing myself so that I don't spoil them by reading too many back to back.
How it came into my hands: cartesiandaemon lent it to me. I really ought to buy some copies of my own, because I'll certainly want to reread at least Borders of infinity and The warrior's apprentice
As I've come to expect from this series, Brothers in arms is full of delightful intrigue and tension and some very moving moments. In some ways it comes very close to classic farce, with all the multiplying clones and mistaken identities and people pretending to be someone who's pretending to be someone else, and ending with marriages. In some ways it seems to want to fold in the middle, there are almost two arcs, and the section after Miles' rescue seems to be a little bit Miles gratuitously buying trouble in order to make plot happen. But I can't complain because the plot that does happen is fun and thrilling. Also, the glimpses of far future earth are really cool!
I really enjoyed the development of the relationship with Ivan; in BiA he becomes real and isn't just a goofy flirtatious straight man to Miles. And the interaction between Miles and Mark is very well done; he isn't just a sucker who falls for Miles' silver tongue, and I did like the ambiguity of the ending, the realistic awkwardness rather than a nice neat resolution. I think I probably preferred the UST of the earlier books over the random romantic interlude; for one thing, it really does seem a bad idea for Miles to get involved with a senior officer, and the book seems to skirt over that in an annoyingly "love conquers all" kind of way. But I do like the fact that Miles at 24 is rather more emotionally mature than Miles at 17, though still not exactly confident romantically, and the relationship is perhaps a good way to convey this.
I'm starting to think that a minor problem with this series is that a lot of the tension is dissipated because in spite of all the intrigue and double-crossing, Miles has too many people he can absolutely trust: Elli and Ivan and Elena and to a pretty major extent Bel and Tung as well. Having one such person would probably work, because that person wouldn't always be available, but when there's a whole crowd of them, it makes it difficult to buy into the concept that Miles is just winging it completely blind. And it also makes Miles a bit too shiny, having this many people being passionately and unremittingly loyal to him.
Anyway, yay exciting space pirates frolic!
I'm still horribly, horribly behind on book reviews (and have been since summer, really), but here are a few of the books I've read recently: