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Romance and other things


I do not know what to think about this one, read 200 pages out of 344

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen - Lois McMaster Bujold




Necessary disclaimer I have read most books in this series more than once, but I have not reread them for a while and even more importantly I have not read first two books - which as we know are Cordelia and Aral's books. I started these series in the middle, fell for Miles and hard, but more importantly  I  did not want to dislike Aral because some things that he did which were told in passing in the past annoyed me and I did not go back to the beginnings.


Having said that, I enjoyed what I saw of this couple, was sad  over Aral's death and was looking forward to Cordelia's book. I also read what appeared to be the main spoiler of this book and was curious and excited to see how it was executed.


So apparently Aral was bisexual (yes, I read that it was mentioned in the beginning during their wedding and Cornelia corrects the person saying that he is bisexual, not homosexual but he is monogamous now) - I am summarizing a quote from somebody's review, I am taking on faith that this is what happened, I have the book but did not go searching for the quote.


There was another spoiler which friend alerted me to day or two before I started reading the book - babies! I want to say this very clearly that I adore babies and I want children so nothing I will write next should be attributed to any kind of personal anti-babies bias.



Anyway, the book starts three years after Aral's death when Widowed Viscerine is once again returning to Sergyar from one of her trips. And admiral Oliver Jole is meeting and greeting her and she tells him that she and Aral long time ago froze their sperm and eggs ( I think she used different words which meant the same though) so if she ever wants to have more kids she could and Aral made sure that sperm would  be only hers in his will.


Well, okay then - would be nice to know that this was Cordelia's burning wish all her life, no? Yes, I know we see her through Mile's eyes, I still think the author could have let us know if what she was doing was not completely retconning lots of things about Cordelia.


So, she is planning on having six daughters with dead Aral. No, not at the same time, but with time interval she would put all of them (there were more I think but those remained vilable) in the replicator. Sorry, I was creeped out and more than a little bit. Yes, I know she was dealing with her grief, still felt weird to me.


Oh and she does not want to be in the political Arena anymore - on one hand I get it, she feels that Aral gave up too much and died because of it, she is tired, but she is not tired to have six daughters even if she is planning to hire a nanny?


And lets talk about Aral's bisexuality - because apparently Cordelia and Oliver were sharing Aral for the last twenty three years. Wut?


Let me be very clear here - I am always beyond excited when I hear that gay/bi romance is going to be front and center in the main stream book. I was jumping up and down at first when I learned about this spoiler.


But I was so bothered by  several implications of this co-marriage.


 1) Apparently it is not enough for bisexual person to be in love with the person of one gender? She/he needs both!


Before you say so, it is one thing if we learned that Aral fell in love with Oliver who is a person, (and he did, kind of), but the book specifically says (Cordelia says) that Aral used to get crushes on men before Oliver came along - wut? So Oliver, awesome guy he is satisfied the itch to love a man?  Note, he was not crushing on men and women, only on men and once he got himself a second spouse he apparently stopped.


2)  No, Oliver was not a kid when Aral started their affair, he was still his subordinate good twenty years younger. Yes, I know Cordelia being Betan and all was not bothered, but I as a reader was. Squeek.


3) As I said - gay/bi romance front and center - awesome!  But I still felt that author was trying to have her cake and eat it too. The visible relationship was Cordelia/Aral and now relationship between Aral and Oliver is all in the past and now the new relationship will all be cheerfully hetero and gay relationship was fantom retcon and never materialized.


Want to give us the gay romance between alive characters dear author not just between the dead one and alive one which took place in the past?


Note that I do not take the position that gay/bi characters should never die in the books now as compensation for the past when they died so often - sometimes story requires death no matter how upset I may get, but walk the walk ?


I thought about reviewing at DA, but close to DNFing instead.