I’m a big fan of the Vorkosigan series, so I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for a while, especially since it’s one of the few books without Miles as the main character (not that Miles is a bad main character, it’s just that the variety is nice).
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is a solid entry to the series. It was great to get some extra insight into how the characters act when Miles isn’t causing his typical mayhem, especially with Ivan Vorpatril (who seems to bear the brunt of Miles’s adventuring). Unfortunately for poor Ivan, this book follows what happens when he gets into trouble all by himself.
One thing I really liked was that Ivan didn’t suddenly morph into a Vorkosigan when he was the focus. He kept his personality and all his strengths and flaws. Ivan is not as forceful of a character as Miles or Cordelia, but that doesn’t mean he’s incompetent. Ivan’s interactions with his family were also great. It was nice to see him with Simon and Lady Alys, something that’s been a little rare in previous books. Seeing the more intimate side of the Vorpatril’s adds a lot of depth to the characters, and the inclusion of Simon Illyan in the family adds a whole new dynamic.
The book has some flaws, the most notable being how compatible Ivan and Tej are. Circumstances throw them together, and force them to interact, but Tej drops her trepidation and suspicion a little too quickly. There are a few relationships in the book that are like that. Suspicion and distrust quickly turn into friendship or more. It helps move things along, but does so at the expense of developing the characters. (Which is somewhat forgivable since this is the 15th-ish book in the series.)