Why is it that I had to resort to ILL from my public library to get this highly-lauded first novel from a respected sci-fi author? For shame, for shame. All copies must have been stolen by eager fans.
I've read one other book by Bujold: The Curse of Chalion, and did not have the same problems with her pushy feminist approach in this novel. A female starship captain may not have been commonplace in this universe, but even her enemy scoffing that women could even be considered for rank in the army didn't bother me. Bujold made this fit without creating way too obvious a place for it.
Our female captain has her own set of balls, of course, falls in love with the only man who would do for her, and both of them are so full of honor and loyalty as to make you gag in sections. The intelligent writing, scenic descriptions, and complex characterizations more than make up for any failure there.
I was enamored enough that I plan on reading more of her Vorkosigan saga. Even though there will be no appearances of any of the characters from this novel. The universe itself is drawn so deftly, I'm sure not to miss them.