Friday, February 20, 2009

Cordelia's Honor

By Lois McMaster Bujold

I like science fiction. I read a lot of it. Cordelia’s Honor, on the surface, seems a standard science fiction novel with just a dash of romance. It has the customary interstellar war, political intrigue, and, of course, high-tech gadgets that we’ve come to expect from our sci-fi. What makes this book special is its title character, Cordelia Naismith.

Cordelia is not the clichéd woman you see in most science fiction. She doesn’t just cling to the arm of her leading man (which would be easy to do, because her husband, Aral Vorkosigan, is awesome). She doesn’t sacrifice her femininity to be the hero. And she definitely doesn’t stoop to flaunting her sexuality in a steel bikini either (no offense, Princess Leia). Her strength comes from smarts and the relationships she forges, not from rippling biceps and an icy-cold demeanor, nor from short skirts and seductive smiles. In other words, she’s what I would consider the ideal female heroine: confident, resourceful, and intelligent.

The story itself (this is actually two novels in one book) is engaging and entertaining, but in my opinion, it is little more than a setting in which Cordelia can shine. And I, for one, am glad to find another female heroine that does us women proud. 3.75 stars

* This book is definitely for more mature readers. There is war and the accompanying atrocities, and there activity (all kinds). There aren’t any graphic descriptions - it's more just mentioned in passing - but don’t say I didn’t warn you!


Lula O said...

This sounds like a good one. I love when the female lead is more realistic and true, meaning she forges ahead with her head, not her looks, if that makes any sense. Is this book one in a series about this title character?

Stephanie said...

It's part of a series, but as I understand it, the rest of the series deals with Cordelia's son, Miles, while Cordelia retreats into a more peripheral role. (I'm a little apprehensive about reading the rest; I don't deal well with my favorite characters being left behind!)