A Memory Called Empire

462 pages

English language

Published Nov. 7, 2019

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4 stars (11 reviews)

A Memory Called Empire is a 2019 science fiction novel, the debut novel by Arkady Martine. It follows Mahit Dzmare, the ambassador from Lsel Station to the Teixcalaanli Empire, as she investigates the death of her predecessor and the instabilities that underpin that society. The book won the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

2 editions

Super spannendes Worldbuilding

4 stars

 wirklich schön anzusehen. Die Unterschiede auch in der Betrachtung der Welt, zwischen denen, die auf einer Weltraumstation aufgewachsen sind und denen, die auf DEM Planeten aufwuchsen. Gute Charakterisierungen, tolles Namenssystem, das mir das Merken von Namen sehr erleichtert. Alle auf dem Planeten heißen $Zahl $Substantiv also bspw „Neunzehn Breitaxt“, „Sechs Vektor“, „Drei Seegras“. Die Zahlen haben manchmal auch Verbindungen zum Charakter oder Job der jeweiligen Personen — so viel einfacher zu merken fĂŒr mich als irgendwelche random Fantasynamen wie „Ft‘anr Lobdart“ oder sowas. Ich mochte auch die Poesie-Obsession der Planetenbewohnenden, die ihre ganze Kultur formt. Hier hatte ich allerdings desöfteren das GefĂŒhl, dass die Übersetzung ihr nicht gerecht wurde. Auch wunderte es mich sehr, dass die Menschen in dem Buch alle MĂ€nner oder Frauen waren und sehr sehr viel generisches Maskulinum genutzt wurde. Daher werde ich den 2. Band auf Englisch lesen zum Vergleich. An sich ist das 1. 

Empire and poetry

4 stars

This was a very unique and original story. The author did some really cool things with language that I really appreciated.

I love books that are critical of empire, and this book certainly falls into that camp.

I think perhaps the reason I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I'm an empathic reader and tend to absorb the mindset of the main characters of the book...Mahit (aka the main character in this book) spends a significant majority of this book feeling stranded, confused, and totally in the dark about what's actually going on. I think that was reflected also in my experience of the book. Perhaps that should be counted as a positive for the book rather than a negative, but...

Politics as war by other means

4 stars

What do you do when your homeland is in the path of an expanding empire, hungry to consume it and draw it into its embrace? That's the central question to this, and it tells a fascinating story of Mahit Dzamare, sent to the imperial capital as an ambassador to try to protect her home, but also to find out what happened to her predecessor. There's a lot of palace intrigue that she has to figure out, but also a wider set of political processes going on outside the confines of the court, and it's good to see a recognition of those political structures and movements in a book like this. Sometimes feels like there's too much going on - I haven't even touched on the Mahit's internal story, as she deals with an outdated copy of her predecessors mind within her own - but it all comes together in a 

Review of 'A Memory Called Empire' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

On of the best sci-fi novels I've read in some time. Accomplishes the stellar feat of making a story which takes part almost entirely within a single city feel like it has galaxy spanning consequences. Reads as much like medieval court intrigue as it does full on space opera, and is all the better for it.

The last big space opera I read was Saga of the Seven Suns, and while that is a huge story full of fantastic imagination, I enjoyed the writing style of this novel so much more.

Can't wait to read the followup, and hopefully many more to come. Bravo.

Review of 'A Memory Called Empire' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

3.5 stars, really. I wrote this long review and then managed to overwrite it, meh.

In any case, very interesting premise, if you like sci-fi with a bit of whodunnit mixed into it. It's a fascinating look at an old empire from an outsider, and all its intrigues. The sequel should mix things up a bit.

I didn't care for the poetry angles, but overall, would recommend.

It was entertaining

No rating

I experienced this as an enjoyable palace intrigue like some other reviewers, but I didn't really find it particularly insightful on "assimilation and language and the seduction and horror of empire" (quote taken from the author's acknowledgments section). It's an interesting world and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, but I can't say my mind was blown.

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