A Desolation Called Peace

Hardcover, 496 pages

Published March 2, 2021 by Tor Books.

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4 stars (8 reviews)

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, and Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is running out of options.

In a desperate attempt at diplomacy with the mysterious invaders, the fleet captain has sent for a diplomatic envoy. Now Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass—still reeling from the recent upheaval in the Empire—face the impossible task of trying to communicate with a hostile entity.

Whether they succeed or fail could change the fate of Teixcalaan forever.

5 editions

much better than the first one

4 stars

I wasn't sure whether to start this, because the first one was a bit hard to follow, but it was very good! It took up some of the themes of "A Memory Called Empire" and explored them in another, deeper way. Also, it was a lot more thrilling, and the characters became more fleshed out and interesting. Had a great time, recommended!

Not too surprising but extremely competent

3 stars

Content warning Spoilers

A Worthy Sequel

4 stars

There were many directions in which Arkady Martine could have taken the sequel to her popular 2019 novel A Memory Called Empire, and she has chosen an interesting and entertaining one.

The worldbuilding for which A Memory Called Empire was praised is back in A Desolation Called Peace, and while the first book focused on the Teixcalaanli capital, the second one explores more of the life onboard of the Lsel Station, as well as life in campaigning military fleets of the empire. For the most part, the worldbuilding in the sequel does not disappoint.

The bits where it does disappoint is in Martine leaning perhaps too heavily on space opera tropes in the parts of the book that take place aboard starships. While the descriptions of the capital or the palace grounds therein continue to be evocative, the descriptions of what it is like onboard of an imperial …

Arkady Martine has outdone herself.

5 stars

Better than the first installment of the series. The characters are more rounded, the story around the first contact with an alien species can be read on many levels and is much more adapted to a SF setting than the first installment. I hope there'll be another book telling what happens with Mahit and Three Seagrass!

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5 stars