Anyway, this time around I started with Komarr, and found myself thinking kalleah should quite possibly read it. There are certain resemblances in their writing styles, and it's one of the less continuity-heavy Late Bujold books. The first few books in the internal chronology of the series are good, but I don't know if I'd genuinely recommend that someone start at the beginning. Shards of Honor and Barrayar are excellent, but if you become fond of Cordelia it's a little jarring to switch over to Miles's POV; I don't even particularly like him until he's 25 or so. (Though Bujold's internal series consistency is a glorious thing to behold -- in the eleventh book or so, there's a lovely detail about what Miles does or doesn't know about events of the first, set prior to his birth. On the few points that are inconsistent, Bujold admits straight out that she had a better idea later, and she's generally right.) In many ways she's a better writer now, but occasionally she's a little too polished; some of her earlier work was a little more raw and earnest. Though Miles's early escapades stretch credulity to the breaking point, which is why I think Warrior's Apprentice and Vor Game are sort of weak.
So I was surprised when I saw that Vor Game won a Hugo. And even more surprised to see thet Barrayar was apparently published later, because it won the next Hugo. Seriously? I know it was (mostly) written long before it was published, but I didn't know it was that late. At least it didn't suffer from 'didn't we give her one of these last year?' syndrome for the Hugos -- it's a hell of a lot more deserving.
I'm also not sure why an author of Bujold's profile gets such shitty covers. The covers in the straight-to-paperback days were moderately ugly, but at least they looked sort of like my mental image of Miles -- a short guy of somewhat indeterminate age whose head is too big. In all the later covers, he looks like a perpetual seventeen-year-old boy. Small, maybe, but not deformed. Is that supposed to sell more books? And then there's the face-closeup covers, which are really no improvement; there he just looks like a troll. (And let's not even get started on Cordelia on the cover of the omnibus Cordelia's Honor. I had to think for a long time before I decided it probably couldn't be anyone else.)
Anyway. I don't even know if anyone on my flist has read the series or particularly cares about it, so I should probably not ramble on at length about the merits of various volumes. It's just that I've lost a lot of vacation to them, and I felt I should somehow account for my whereabouts.