Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Review: The Prisoner of Limnos

The Prisoner of Limnos The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Penric and Desdemona is basically a serial, I've realized: linked novellas that, while to some degree complete in themselves, also make up a larger story. In this episode, the very slow-burn romance continues, and we have a caperesque jailbreak.

It has many of the classic Bujold elements - wry/wise/witty observations; an occasional touch of profound theological reflection; a protagonist going into a situation that on the face of it is impossible, with inadequate resources, and somehow improvising a solution; moments of tension, comedy, and insight; a push-and-pull romance.

It suffers a little from the author's recent tendency to softpedal. She famously said once that she plots by thinking of the worst thing that could happen to a character, and then having that thing happen, and in the earlier Vorkosigan books and the earlier Five Gods books, that is the case; but no longer. This one even has a couple of lucky coincidences (though, of course, with the setup here they could be divine intervention) to get the main character out of trouble. That, I suspect, is why, although I like these books, I don't love them, and they don't engage me as deeply as the earlier ones. Which is an important writing lesson for me, if nothing else.

I listened to the audio version; Grover Gardner does another good job in his rich, cheerful voice.

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