I really enjoyed reading Ivan's story, even though I half expected the book to be titled, "Ivan, You Idiot!" That's a good illustration of why newcomers to Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books shouldn't come to this one cold--it's a reward for people who've watched Ivan's development since he first appeared in The Warrior's Apprentice.Ivan's most definitely a beta hero, often being the straight man for his frenetic cousin Miles Naismith Vorkosigan. Here Ivan gets to be the hero of his own story, and because we're so often in his POV we understand him much better.The love story between Ivan and Tej is also a beta story--two nice people who are surrounded by overachievers, and find what they want is a more restful relationship than Wuthering Heights style passion.What kept me from giving it five stars is I enjoyed the first part of the book more than the second. A marriage of convenience trope can still work in the 23rd century, and it was vastly entertaining to see this unfold. The second part of the book with the adventure sequence wasn't as strong for me, but it did allow Ivan to shine.Most of the usual suspects are here, though (thankfully) the Vorkosigan's are mostly offstage. It may be the last of the Vorkosigan novels, though I can imagine a next generation coming forward to have their own adventures.