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Lois McMaster Bujold – Mirror Dance

Title: Mirror Dance
Author: Lois McMaster Bujold
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Year: 1994

After having resolved the chaotic appearaance of Miles Vorkosigan’s clone (called Mark) on Earth (as depicted in Brothers in Arms), Miles thinks that he can relax for a while, enjoying the company of his beloved Quinn. But while he takes it easy on the way back to the Dendarii mercenary fleet, his brother hastens to use his being Miles genetic mirror image to order parts of the fleet to destroy the cloning facilities he loathes so much, and to rescue the clones bred there for the gruesome purpose of providing bodies to aging power brokers.. However, the attempt is foiled and Miles has to rescue his brother, and is killed in the prcoess and Mark is left to fill the vacuum left by the Vorkosigan Lord.

This novel has one of those titles I love so much. Not only does it sound nice, but it is also a tool that can be used to describe the book. The Mirror Dance of Barrayar is a dance done with a partner, and they alternate copying each other’s movements as if watching oneself in a mirror. The novel is suffused with references to mirrors, and the relationship between Miles and Mark is the most pertinent one. Mark strives to find himself, to break away from being a mere reflection of his twin brother.

Although I think that this relationship is the main focus of the novel, it still possesses the same witty and quick-paced action seen in any book in the Vorkosigan saga, albeit somewhat subdued and not the main attraction this time. Even though the story development feels a bit slow in the middle of the novel, the overall impression is positive indeed.

As for the narration, there are, to my knowledge, two narrators who have produced several (if not most) novels by Lois McMaster Bujold, and Grover Gardner is the better of the two. He is not excessively good, but he is competent and very well suited to read these kinds of stories, especially the bits with much Miles in them.

To be honest, I have difficulties finding anything bad in this novel, excluding what I have already said about the middle sections of the storyline. Mirror Dance is a complex narration, yet straightforward, and manages to handle difficult and interesting themes without becoming too engrossed with them. I am inclined to say that it is the best book I have read by McMaster Bujold so far, with the possible exception of The Vor Game.

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  1. Ronny Hedin’s avatar

    Did I say so? I said so.

    I do, however, think you’re using “engrossed” wrong. :-)


  2. Olle Linge’s avatar

    Hm… I thought it could be used as an intransitive verb, but that does not seem to be the case. Thanks. :) By the way, Gurgeh also said so.