A Desolation Called Peace

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine is part of a two book long series following the first book A Memory Called Empire.

A Desolation Called Peace is a 2021 science fiction novel following it’s predecessor A Memory Called Empire. This book also won the Hugo Awards for Best Novel in 2022 just like it’s predecessor in 2020. If you have not read the first book I would advise you do before reading this as it contains spoilers of the first book.

This book was different than the previous novel made by Arkady Martine as it follows not just Mahit Dzmare but Three Seagrass, Eight Antidote, and Nine Hibiscus as well as some different side characters. Martine weaves an incredible space opera involving the Teixcalaanli Empire moving star ships into the jump gate near the station of Lsel, the former home of Mahit Dzmare, creating an astounding new alien species, and vivid detail to their culture throughout the book.

Martine also masterfully balances the idealistic views of the imperial heir Eight Antidote with the rugged and sometimes cruel thoughts of General Nine Hibiscus, creating a massive view of the story where many different things are going on at the same time, but eventually they weave together to create a beautiful story called A Desolation Called Peace.

In the story the Nine Hibiscus must somehow find away to communicate to these new aliens past the mysterious jump gate. So she requests the help of Mahit’s former liaison Three Seagrass, who eventually drags Mahit Dzmare into all the political drama caused by the many conflicting parties throughout Teixcalaanli.

I found this novel masterfully done with many plot twists and different perspectives on the war. I also found it interesting how Martine could display the culture of Teixcalaanli and the aliens so richly.

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

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