A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It may be just me... but I think that this second book is superior to the first. Let's just ignore the awards the first one earned and focus on the story, the action, and the stakes. We see more of Mahat, but there are a number of new, potentially more interesting characters that pretty much take over my enjoyment here.
Between the emperor's 12-year-old clone or the warrior or the Imago expert (consuming imprints of memories that both help and hinder) and a whole WAR that was made more interesting by attempts at communication that are complicated by both the Teixcalaan empire's weaponized poetry and the RATHER alien aliens.
I should mention that I am seeing a LOT of mushrooms in literature lately, and this one is no exception.
Honestly? I really did have a better time in this book. Maybe it is because there was a better balance between thinking and talking about the action and actually EXPERIENCING it.
That being said, read these for the poetry of the writing, the careful placement of words, and the often surprising imagery. Read it for the worldbuilding. Also, read it for the complexified characters that must live, survive, and love within some rather odd constraints.
This is not a cookie-cutter SF.
View all my reviews