Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold

So, this is the third book in the Vorkosigan saga, but I believe it can also be read as a standalone, which was what I did. I hadn’t read the previous books, but now I really want to!

Athos is a planet inhabited only by men. The inhabitants of Athos believe that women are evil and eschew all contact with them, using uterine replicators and imported ovarian cultures to reproduce. However, when the latest shipment of ovarian cultures go missing, it is up to Ethan Urquhart, a doctor to go to outer space and track it down.

I really enjoyed the world-building. While Athos was a misogynistic society, the people there weren’t cruel to women, they just tended to isolate themselves from them to an almost comic degree. Which was cool, as this book was just a fun read rather than one written for social commentary (though it did touch on some feminist themes). The main characters were well-developed, especially Ethan and Elli (who I believe appears in other Vorkosigan books as well). The dynamic between the two of them seemed really well-developed, and Ethan’s initial wariness because of his social conditioning turning into an eventual bond with Elli was well done. The plot was interesting as well, though the solution to the mystery was not quite as significant as I expected. Still for the sheer enjoyment factor alone, I’d rate it 4.5/5


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