I feel like I’m running out of things to say about the Vorkosigan novels. They are all excellent and very entertaining, but it’s always for the same reasons. The characters are fantastic. The settings are vivid and engaging. The stories are well thought out and complex without being slow paced. Cryoburn hits all those points very well.
I guess that’s the problem with a long series. The books can be wildly different in plot, which keeps them interesting to the reader, but very similar in style and execution, which can make them feel a little repetitive at the same time.
That may be the biggest issue I had with Cryoburn. It didn’t feel like Bujold added anything new to the universe. In previous books, it always seemed like a new wrinkle was added to the Vorkosigan family story. Often it came in the form of introducing new characters, like Mark or Ekaterin, in others it’s changing Miles’s job, from Dendarii to ImpSec to Imperial Auditor. Here, that doesn’t happen. The closest thing to that is in the final chapter (I won’t give any spoilers), but that’s too late in the book to have a real impact on the story.
Maybe the reason that there’s very little change in the novel is because the book is, at its core, a mystery, and adding too many character changes would distract from the problem that the characters are working to solve. That’s a little different from some of the preceding books in the series, that fall more into the action/adventure category.
I did like the book, though it wasn’t one of my favorites in the series. As I said in the beginning, the book has almost all the positives of the previous installments. I think that I was just hoping for a little bit more.