8/2012 I got to the end of the series and had to start at the beginning again. Coming at this from the other end, oh how wonderful it is. "Of course," one thinks, over and over, "how very like Cordelia (or Bothari, or Aral...) to respond thus." And one has a deeper appreciation for the world-building that Bujold begins here. I love these people, I do.6/2012 I enjoyed this straight-forward science fiction story, though it did take me a long, long time to get totally behind. This series has long been highly recommended, and I do like to begin at the beginning no matter what. I suspect that after I read the whole series, I'll need to come back to this again and have a whole new view of it. Solid, plot-driven writing, nicely executed.