I finished the first one and cracked open (well, if you can “crack open” on the Nook) the second book on the same night, so it really felt more like I was reading one looooong book. One long, good book!
This second one was a good mix of slow introspection and non-stop action. The characters second-guessed themselves, acted bravely, grew a little, were strong, embraced their future.
I hesitate to still brand this “space opera” because while there are ships, and interstellar travel, the majority of the action (not just in this book but in the series as a whole) takes place on-planet.
I have to admit, though, that I was looking forward to more books with Cordelia. I liked her, enjoyed seeing Barrayar through her outsider’s eyes. I was a little disappointed to discover that this rich character and wonderful development of story between her and her husband was going to be shuffled off to a footnote and her son would be taking over the rest of the series.