A Sense of Honor

(1) "A Sense of Honor (One)" (Sentinel/Vorkosiverse)

By Besterette
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 11th October 2000 (1)

This is so cool! Two of my favourite things together: The Sentinel, and Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan universe. And it fits so well! James Vorellison, military man, Barrayaran aristocrat, prisoner of war with a secret shame. Blair Sandburg, cosmopolitan Betan anthropologist, finding his life's work -- a Sentinel.

A perfect blending of both worlds, with all these little touches and details (like Naomi's "single-parent licence" or the fact that Blair spent a year on Athos, the offhand remarks about Jackson's Whole, and so on). I don't know how someone who wasn't familiar with Lois McMaster Bujold's work would cope reading this story -- there are a number of subtle details that they would miss (one of them, at the end, quite important in its implications). But I like the subtlety of the details very much.

The characterisations are spot on: James is reserved, suspicious, short-tempered with a tendency to use violence, honourable, dutiful. Blair is enthusiastic, academic, non-violent, freethinking, been everywhere, man... The little we see of Naomi is good too.

This is terrific! The possibilities are fascinating. I can't wait (even though I have to) for the next one.

(2) "A Sense of Honor (Two)" (Sentinel/Vorkosiverse)

By Besterette
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 29th July 2001 (13)

I was looking forward to this one. More of the story of a What If Blair Sandburg and James Ellison had been born into Lois McMaster Bujold's far-future "Vorkosigan" universe. (It's a bit hard to figure out what to call the universe... I've chosen to call it after one of the planets, Barrayar, which is better than calling it after the family name of some of the characters -- Vorkosigan -- because the Vorkosigans don't turn up at all here!) This is the sequel to "A Sense of Honor One" and follows on immediately from it. You absolutely need to read the first one first. I like, again, the way the Barrayar universe stuff is woven in as needed; it fits very well. Some things didn't fit with Barrayar though -- "bus" and "taxicab" and a few other terms really jarred.

It felt too short. There were things I would have liked to have seen in much more detail. For example, I would have liked to have savoured every moment of Blair's appointment with Barrayaran Imperial Security; instead we only get a taste.

I liked the character of Carolyn (what we saw of her), and it was nice to see cameos of various well-known names. Megan was a bit of a cypher, though. On the upside, there were some choice remarks scattered all through, which I can't repeat because they would be spoilers.