Genuinely enjoyable space opera with a bit of mystery and romance, where everybody has a brain, and a character, motivations and grievances, and different opinions on each other (which is nice with multiple POV characters).
Not quite a replacement for Bujold, but maybe getting there? Convincing as a first book, in any case, with strong characters, a very interesting backdrop, a mature adult relationship and several good friendships, while also having a decent mix of action, diplomacy and politics. The love interest is perhaps overly dreamy and too close to mature and perfect, but so is Aral (in later Vorkosigan books, at least).
The general arc of the story was a bit predictable (or maybe that’s me reading too much Bujold), but since the friendships and personal developments were more important, that’s fine. It’s not high art, but with Vorkosigan over and done, I’ll take what I can get.