Cordelia was not "forced" to marry Ariel! She choose to. "Shards of Honor" and "Barrayar" are 2 really good books and should be read back to back. Then sample the Miles Naismith Vorkosigan books...what a great character!
Both these stories are excellent. Lois McMaster Bujold writes complex characters in intricate plots. Her worlds are fully fleshed out, not glossy sci-fi without any logic. Cordelia and Aral are great protagonists and their love story has depth and power without schmaltz and clichés. Although the Miles part of this series gets more attention I think these two stories are equally good, just different in tone due to the personalities.
Enemies have to join sides to save themselves and everything dear to them. Adventure, love, politics, war, relationships, and wonderful characters. The writing style is easy to read, enjoyable and clever. I just read this one again. My 5th time, yet I still had to stay up all night to finish. I love it. Cordelia is my favorite character not just in science fiction but in all fiction. I love seeing how she thinks and what she does. That is why I’ve read these books so many times. She is strong and smart and empathetic and feminine and resourceful. I can relate to her and want to be her.
I gave this book to my brother to read. "There's a woman in a dress on the cover...," he said. No really, it's an amazing scifi book. "There's a WOMAN in a DRESS on the cover!" Three weeks later he was 5 books into this series. A Space Opera with drama, humor and compelling characters, I recommend this book as the best way to start Bujold's Vorkosigan saga.
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