Desolation Called Peace

Paperback, 400 pages

English language

Published Oct. 28, 2022 by Pan Macmillan.

ISBN:
978-1-5290-0164-8
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4 stars (131 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.

9 editions

Solid space opera

No rating

I read A Memory Called Empire earlier this year and really enjoyed it. In this sequel, I was curious to see how the author would handle the mysterious aliens, who we previously hadn’t seen on page.

We see this story from multiple points of view. While I liked getting different perspectives, they felt rather contrived in terms of answering questions raised by the previous PoV character. I also felt there was a lot of characters standing around being told (or overhearing) information by other characters. Sometimes I was put in mind of “messenger speeches” in Greek drama, where important events are recounted to the actors (and audience) by a messenger, rather than being played out on stage.

There was a sex scene which… felt unnecessary and didn’t (in my opinion) contribute in any way to the story, and I could have done without as much angst-y interactions. (Or perhaps, since …

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. …

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

#BookReview #Books #Bookstodon #BookWyrm #SciFi

A stunning sequel

5 stars

I liked the first Teixcalaan book but did not love it. I went into the sequel expecting another book I'd really like, and ended up with a book that is rather stunning. A Memory Called Empire was all about politics, intrigue, machinations without much sci-fi in it. A Desolation Called Peace is still all that, and yet it is much broader as we venture out into the war between the Teixcalaan Empire and an unknown, almost invisible, entirely alien enemy. Mahit Dzmare has returned home to her space station, but is dragged into the middle of the war by Three Seagrass, her Teixcalaan liaison, who is now an envoy to be a diplomat between Teixcalaan and the aliens.

It's fascinating how so many things from the first book are still ever present in this book. The role of individuals, collective mind and memory, ever-present. The view of Empire. The unsung …

Review of 'Desolation Called Peace' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

An intriguing clash of civilizations, bogged down by poetic whimsy and alienating vocabulary.

This was forgivable and effective when telling a fish out of water story about the not like other girls who goes to the big city and finds she can't go home again, but in this book it turns into a chore that gets in the way of enjoying the tale.

There is some interesting themes around the experience of collective consciousness but I don't feel like the book managed to convey much beyond the chaos of it and it mostly feels like window dressing.

The inscrutable poetry is by far the most tedious aspect, though the gratuitous tribblecats did grate as well. Oh well.

Good sequel building on the first part

5 stars

Content warning Desolation Called Peace (sequel to Memory Called Empire) minor setting spoilers

Schlechter als der Vorgänger

2 stars

Die Fortsetzung von A Memory Called Empire und leider nicht so gut. Zuviel Prosa in einer sich eher im Schneckentempo fortbewegenden Story, auch das eindrucksvolle Worldbuilding des ersten Bandes wird hier eher stiefmütterlich behandelt, zuviele Entscheidungen des Imperiums Teixcalaan wirken erstaunlich abwegig – um nicht zu sagen: dumm.

Es bewahrheitet sich also, was Mehrteiler und Serien in der Fantastik allzuoft ausmacht: abnehmende Qualität. Daher besinne ich mich auf meinen Vorsatz zurück, nur noch in sich geschlossene Bücher des Genres zu lesen. Ausnahme natürlich: Die Culture.

Review of 'Desolation Called Peace' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

*I received a free review copy as part of 2022 Hugo awards voting.

A DESOLATION CALLED PEACE is a collision of cultures bleeding into war, trying to find the bounds of personhood in more than flesh and bone.

The plot follows several parallel threads, centering on various characters. I love Twenty Cicada’s storyline. He’s one of my favorite characters, followed closely by Eight Antidote. Mahit and Three Seagrass are working together again, this time to find a way to communicate with the aliens whose proximity Mahit had used as leverage in the previous book. The worldbuilding focuses on intra-empire politics as much as it focuses on the empire’s communications with Mahit and with the aliens. It balances stress and war with levity and intimacy, exploring connections and communication as characters with conflicting methods and competing aims collide. 

This answers a few things left hanging from the first book, showing the …

Not too surprising but extremely competent

3 stars

Content warning Spoilers

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