Bujold, Lois McMaster -- Captain Vorpatril's Alliance

Finally, I have read the Ivan book. Delightful. It was also, and I did not expect this, the Simon Illyan book and the Lady Alys book; this was also delightful. They are not viewpoint characters, but we see rather more of them than we have before, even in Memory. (Established, past-middle-age adult characters with continuing story arcs!)

In focus, of course, we have That "Idiot" Ivan getting into more trouble than you can possibly shake a stunner at. With the dubious aid of his "pal" Byerly. On the other end of the stunner, we have Tej and Rish, two charming young ladies on the run from... well, you'll see. Chaos ensues, to a chorus of shouts of "Vorpatril!" and "Ivan, have you talked to your mother about this?" Will there be plots and catastrophes? Will Ivan finally, finally wind up tying the knot? To say "yes" is really not a spoiler at all. Trust me on this.

New viewpoint characters give Bujold a chance to introduce her motley crew, again. This is always charming, but it reminds me that this series has been going on a long time and maybe it's time to wave goodbye to it. Meeting people you already know is not an excuse for a novel. To be clear, the storylines about Ivan, Simon, and Alys are worth a novel. It's just going to be increasingly hard to keep the balance.

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