Ethan of Athos and Brothers in Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold

Ethan of Athos is not one of my favourite Bujold books set in the Vorkosigan universe – it doesn’t have Miles in it, and I’m not particularly grabbed by Ellie Quinn. Allowing for that, however, it’s a reasonably fun adventure story, with enough twists to keep you on your toes. But even the most plot-driven of the Miles stories seem to have extra depth to them, because of Miles’ personality (or maybe it’s just because he’s so hyper, whereas Ethan, although a well developed character, is very staid). Also, although the settings (Athos and Kline Station) are not uninteresting, they’re both a bit conventional – unlike, say, Cetaganda.

Brothers in Arms is also more plot-driven than character-driven – unlike the next few in the series. It’s more sophisticated than, say, Warrior’s Apprentice, but I don’t think it even comes close to the depths of Memory. Though because it introduces the characters of Mark and Duv Galeni, it’s pretty crucial to the series as a whole. I find it hard to make up my mind how much I like it for itself, and how much because it’s setting up the later books that I really like.

I find the concept of a mercenary fleet having an accountant totally bizarre, and yet at the same time completely logical.

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