Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
I'm catching up on the Vorkosigan books, and was a little disappointed with this installment. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance isn't nearly as interesting as Bujold's other work, and honestly I only finished it because I'm invested in the series.
I feel like I can see what Bujold wanted to do with this book--Ivan is the perpetually underestimated himbo cousin of the more dynamic Vorkosigans, and showing the world from his point of view IS an interesting premise. Unfortunately, I never really felt like I understood what made Ivan tick. The book doesn't dive very deeply into his character, and like, okay. He's a shallow guy. But I wanted to know what parts of him weren't shallow.
The other characters were in the same boat. The love interest, Tej, is not a particularly complicated or ambitious person, and her interactions with her family are generic. This is pretty disappointing coming from an author who taught me that everyone is ambitious for something, even if it's something obscure that doesn't make sense to other people--sometimes in order to bribe an official you need to find the pink elephant of his dreams.
That said, maybe a simple, cozy heist story isn't the worst thing. It suffers only because my standard for Bujold's work is so high.