Cetaganda opens with Miles and Ivan going on a diplomatic mission to Cetaganda. You know, the one that keeps trying to invade Barrayar. (Fortunately, they don’t know that Miles was the one who foiled that last attempt.) The Dowager Empress of Cetaganda has just died and they are going to witness her funeral.
It wasn’t my favorite of the series so far, mostly because I missed the supporting cast. It was a little more plot and a little less character driven, which I definitely missed. It did give a bit more depth and substance to Cetaganda, beyond the simple “Let’s go invade Barrayar!” types which they’ve been so far. I just cared far less about the Cetagandan society, which meant that my emotional investment was pretty much solely on Miles and Ivan’s behalf.
However, that’s not a terrible thing, and Bujold’s writing keeps me happy anyway.
(ALSO! The cover for this was hilariously awful. I don’t even know what to say about it. It’s one of those covers where the artist technically got everything right, and yet it’s just so wrong.) [Nov. 2010]