Friday, May 1, 2015

James Review -- Cryoburn

This week I decided to review Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold. The story opens with Miles Vorkosigan on the run after being injected with a sedative that he is allergic to during a botched kidnapping attempt. Struggling to flee while suffering from illusions generated by his reaction to the drug, Miles encounters Jin Sato, a young runaway who guides Miles to an abandoned Cryogenics company headquarters where a number of homeless people live. Miles is on Kibou-daini, a world ruled by corporations that specialize in cryogenically freezing humans until cures can be found for whatever condition is killing them, with the corporation that is taking care of a patient gaining the right to vote in the subject’s name. One of these corporations is plotting to form a branch inside the Barrayaran Empire, and Emperor Gregor has ordered Miles, who has himself suffered negative effects from cryogenic freezing and revival, to investigate. While Miles recovers from the side effects of the drug he was hit, with his armsman Roic, who was captured by the kidnappers, is plotting escape. Miles sends Jin with a message to the Barrayaran Consulate, but Jin is arrested for truancy while bringing Miles a reply. This leads to Miles making the journey to the consulate himself while Roic escapes the group that kidnapped him and many others. Meanwhile, Jin runs away from his aunt again, this time bringing his younger sister Mina. While investigating Jin’s family, Miles discovers that Jin’s mother Lisa was a leader of a minor dissident political party who was cryogenically frozen, officially due to having an untreatable mental illness, in the aftermath of a protest that became a riot. Miles suspects that Lisa knew some secret which scared one or more of the cryo-corporations enough that she was frozen to silence her. So a desperate race to locate, rescue and revive Lisa Sato begins while the increasingly desperate forces that seek to hide the secret she knows close in.
I give the book an 7.5 out of 10. It was a little dull at points but had some nice humor to it. One point I really dislike is that while the primary plot points of the story are resolved well, the end introduces a new event which will have major repercussions for any future stories in the setting that occur after Cyroburn and seemingly comes out of nowhere. I feel this point would have been much better if it were the opening to a follow up book rather than at the end of Cyroburn. 

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