A Desolation Called Peace

, #2

eBook, 408 pages

English language

Published March 3, 2021 by Pan Macmillam.

View on OpenLibrary

5 stars (17 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.

6 editions

Sogar besser als Band 1

5 stars

Ich mochte Band 2 richtig gerne, weil ich die politischen Erwägungen und das zusätzliche Worldbuilding noch spannender fand als in Band 1. Jetzt, wo ich Band 2 auf Englisch gelesen habe (Band 1 auf Deutsch), kam mir die Sprache auch weniger „kindlich“ und generell runder vor. Nichtsdestotrotz fand ich manche Namen im Deutschen einfach gelungener als im Original (Neunzehn Breitaxt klingt so viel pompöser als Nineteen Adze). Was Gender jenseits Männer/Frauen angeht sieht es leider fast genau so mau aus wie in Band 1. Wobei möglicherweise in einem Satz ein Nebencharakter mit „they“ bezeichnet wurde, aber das ist ein bisschen wenig ;). Zum Ausgleich hatte ich in Band 2 — vielleicht wegen des fehlenden generischen Maskulinums — weniger das Gefühl, dass die Gesellschaft hinter den Kulissen doch patriarchal ist. Auch scheint es, als würde Homo-/Bisexualität nicht „akzeptiert“ werden, sondern einfach gar keine Abweichung von irgendwas sein. Das finde ich erfrischend. …

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!

Excellent sequel

5 stars

Rare for me to find a sequel more interesting than the original, but this was one of those occasions. It takes the world-building from Memory Called Empire and then allows the characters to step further forward in the story. After being at the heart of the Empire before, we're now at the fringe, where it faces a threat and a potential war, with politics at play that might lead to a catastrophe. Really enjoyed watching how this all played out and the way the characters grew and developed through it.

Unclear motivations & prose

3 stars

Disappointing sequel despite potential. Some dubious premises (surely a galactic empire would have first contact specialists?). Unclear motivations & prose: I rarely understood why particular choices were being made. Also an annoying inconsistency: internally, characters were flailing haplessly, but in actuality they were exceedingly competent.

Reading time 6 days, 80 pages/day

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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 …

Review of 'Desolation Called Peace' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This is shaping up to be my favorite #SciFi series.

Good:
1st contact story that feels truly alien & consequential.
Figuring out how to talk to aliens hearkens back to classic sci-fi stories.
Political intrigue from the 1st book continues.
All characters are relatable & their motivations clear.
8 Antidote is a great POV character.

Bad:
Darj Tarats' outburst in the end is kind of inconsequential.

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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