Book Review: Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold


339 pp.

 Cryoburn (The Vorkosigan Saga)In Cryoburn, Miles is set on a mission to Kibou-daini, a world where cryo stasisis big business. Large insurance companies provide stasis for the elderly and those with incurable diseases with the promise of being awakened when the cure for the client’s disease is found A large cryo corporation is attempting to get a foot hold on Komarr. Mile’s mission is to investigate the corporation.

Miles immediately discovers that something is very wrong when he escapes a kidnap attempt and goes wandering the city drugged up to his gills. He is taken in bya young boy who is living in a building that used to be a small family run“cryo corp” business that had been driven out of business by one of the larger corporations. It turns out that some of the employees have been squatting on the property, and have created a highly illegal cryo clinic for the local homeless population. This gives Miles more clues about the situation.

The boy turns out to have been the son of a political activist, whose activities were shut down by the corporations, who subsequently had her put into cryo-stasis. (I do not think the bad guys have ever read the Evil Overlord list. I think there is a rule where you never leave the hero alive.) This immediately interests Miles, because the boy’s mother would be an excellent source of information about whatever the cryo corporation is up to, so he arranges to find out everything he can about the mother, and what might have happened to her. (He also researches the group the boy’s mother had started.)

Shenanigans occur when he tries to rescue the boy’s mother. The first time, it looks like a body switch had taken place. (I felt a little surprised he decided on a body switch himself, without considering that the body might have already been switched.) Miles does some more research and traces the body to the home of a doctor who had switched the bodies, possibly out of a sense of misplaced romance. (As in, he wanted to rescue the activist, apparently in hope that she would fall in love with him or something. She is not happy with his methods when she wakes up–mostly because the doctor’s romantic imagination forgot that she was a mother, and would be deeply unhappy with someone who separated her from her kids.)

There is a flyby visit from Mark and Kareen, who is interested in doing business on Kibou-daini, and with the underground cryo clinic. He is also of help with the case, and serves as another foil to Miles hyperactive wit. (I would have like da little more of Mark than a flyby. He is one of my favorite characters in the series.

While I liked the book, I felt it was a little lacking. The various mysteries and clues were kind of obvious to me, and it seemed as if Miles was more carried along by the information, instead of discovering the information. (Either that,or the pacing was too fast.) The book seems a little shallow in places, though I really liked the characters–it seemed a very light book, up to the point where Bujold rips our hearts out. It’s a good example of the series, but a little short.

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Filed under book, distant future, Lois McMaster Bujold, mystery, non-earth, Review: Book, science fiction

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