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Revenant Gun

(The Machineries of Empire #3)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  5,253 ratings  ·  631 reviews
Machineries Of Empire, the most exciting science fiction trilogy of the decade, reaches its astonishing conclusion!

When Shuos Jedao wakes up for the first time, several things go wrong. His few memories tell him that he's a seventeen-year-old cadet--but his body belongs to a man decades older.  Hexarch Nirai Kujen orders Jedao to reconquer the fractured hexarchate on his b
Paperback, 427 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Solaris
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Yoon This completes the trilogy; there will also be a collection of short stories in the setting, about half reprints and half new material.--Yoon Ha Lee
Yoon I am informed that the Kindle version will be available for preorder in mid-March 2018.--Yoon Ha Lee

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I read this in April, but I'd be remiss in not squeeing on the actual publication date! IT'S HERE!!!

Oh! For all you fanboys and fangirls, I have the author's own words about his writing experience for the trilogy! Link to my blog

Original Review:

This series continues to be one of the most unique trilogies I've ever had the pleasure to read, and that's saying a lot.

It took me a little bit to get into the new direction this novel takes, but if any of you folk were creeped out by Kujen in the previo
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Check out my Q&A with Yoon Ha Lee for the Revenant Gun Blog Tour

Revenant Gun, the final book in Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire trilogy, opens with its most infamous character displaced in time. Garach Jedao Shkan’s most recent memory is as a first year Shuos cadet serving the Heptarchate – yet here he is 400 years later, with the now-Hexarchate in complete disarray, and Nirai Kujen, the sole remaining Hexarch, explaining to him that he is suddenly a
Seth Dickinson
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: after we read each others' first books, Yoon and I became friends.

REVENANT GUN is the end. It's about death and rebirth, who deserves to survive and who gets to survive (unfortunately two very different things). GUN is the end and it's structured like an ending, in that it is about the last players on the board coming to their inevitable collision. What makes this book so satisfying is that inevitability - it is the last calculation of the Machinery set in motion back in NINEFOX
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ppb, 2018, sci-fi, hugo
I think I finally have a grip on what "calendar" is and does, but I hope nobody ever makes me explain it. ...more
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Revenant Gun is the third and final book in the sci-fi trilogy Machineries of Empire, also known as “the mass murder magic math books” or, more simply, “my favorite books”.

I usually don't like finales. If I made it to the end, there's a chance that I'm a little disappointed that the thing I'm reading is actually ending, yes, but that isn't the point - it's that finales often lose sight of the emotional and personal stakes in favor of tying up the plot, which is always unsatisfying. And this book
Yell and Back Again, a Scientist’s Review

There’s a scene in The Two Towers when Treebeard comes across a clear-cut forest. The sight stops him dead in his tracks, and he stares at it in disbelief. When he realizes Saruman is responsible, he utters, “A wizard should know better!”

Well, I encountered a passage in Revenant Gun that elicited an almost identical reaction from me, except it ended with, “A mathematician should know better!” I was genuinely disturbed. What was Yoon Ha Lee thinking when h
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
4.5 Stars
This was a strong conclusion to the Machinery of Empires trilogy. While Raven Stratagem remains my personal favourite, this third book was a close second. Filled with incredible character work, humour and exciting plot developments, I just loved spending more time in this future universe. 

I enjoyed the new character added in this book, which added a new perspective of another character. This series was just so imaginative. It felt  incredibly unique, like nothing else I have read before
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Charming military space opera not too far afield from David Weber’s Honor Harrington series, which was a guilty pleasure for me over decade ago. In this conclusion of the trilogy, the stable domination of the galaxy by human factions has been upset by the assassination of most of the six overlords known as the hexarchate. Again, the personality of the brilliant and long-ago dead general Jedao is a main character, here put in place in a fresh body as the military commander for the most nefarious ...more
Allison Hurd
A few non-spoilery ways I've described this series:

-A homicidal space ghost goes around fighting injustice with math magic in a vacuum-faring moth.
-A psychedelic K-drama in space pretending to be military sci-fi.

This will either intrigue you or repulse you, I think. I thought it was glorious. As military sci-fi-ish as Star Wars or perhaps even Star Trek. Maybe more Star Trek, because while there are battles, the battles within are always the most interesting.

It's hard for me to do my usual forma
Chris Berko
May 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Didn't really click with this series like I thought I would and I enjoyed each book a little less than the one before it. Almost DNF'd this one a bunch of times but I had already invested so much of my reading time that I finished it for finishings sake. From about 60% to about 75% on my Kindle was pretty cool but I felt absolutely nothing for any of the characters and could not have cared less about anything that was happening to any of them. Gone was the grittiness, violence, and intensity of ...more
Dear Hugo voters,

Let me share with you my thoughts about this book. I remember the first time I read Ninefox Gambit. I was stunned. Entering a world of the Hexarchate, a repressive space empire (not unlike the Empire from Star Wars), that derived its power from “calendrical weapons”, which rely on the acceptance of a particular calendar to power devices that bend and break the laws of physics. I was so confused at first. This regime was so paranoid, they had a special faction (one of the six) sp
Ok, this series, and this book in particular, is everything I love most in sci-fi: wildly imaginative tech (I vastly prefer fantastical, clearly made-up technology to pseudo-science tech explanations that don't make sense); so much politics; so much plotting and backstabbing and strategizing; ethical and moral tangles; characters I adore (I loved basically every main character except Kujen - I understood how Kujen became who he is, but I never liked him), including AI critters; queer and polyam ...more
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's nine years since the climactic events of Raven Stratagem shattered the Hexarchate. What's left has consolidated into two groups, the Protectorate, loyal to the last Hexarch and effectively being run by the traditionalist General Kel Inesser while the Compact, running on the heretic calendar that was instituted in the previous book has formed up under General Kel Brezan. There's been a delicate peace between the two because both realms are worried that the Hexarchate's enemies would strike i ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: earc, 2018, owned
This, by the way, seems to be my 500th review on this website! I want a cookie. And what a fitting book to mark this moment.


I read this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; nonetheless, I also bought a paper copy with my own money (and it's reportedly on its way to me already).

It's difficult writing the review of a next or last volume in a series! So much of what might be said is a spoiler for earlier volumes, or might make little sense for tho
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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I wish I could stop caring.
And the day after that, scrawled in the margin in jagged, shaky letters almost entirely unlike his usual handwriting:
I know how to do that.

- from the journal of Inhyeng Kujen

One of the greatest trilogies of hard science fiction comes to close with plenty left over for more.

What was well done:
The origin story of Nirai Kujen.
The rise of the servitors.
A shock or two.
Calendrical Warfare, obviously.

What could have been better:
Some threads, they dangled.
Apr 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Reluctant rebels
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work
"There are a lot of problems that can be solved more fruitfully by not shooting things."
—Shuos Mikodez, p.35
I think Hexarch Mikodez is right—and he has reason to know—but... even so, Revenant Gun involves a lot of shooting. It comes with the territory.

I certainly wouldn't recommend starting your exploration of Yoon Ha Lee's work with Revenant Gun, though. This is the final entry in the amazing Machineries of Empire trilogy, whose previous books—in case you're somehow coming at this review cold—a
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Whew. This was a wild conclusion to the trilogy, and while I spent the first quite a bit trying to figure out what the fuck was going on (complicated by the fact that math magic is weird and I haven't read the series since 2019 or something), it was ultimately really damn good.

May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Compared to the gloriously bewildering Ninefox Gambit and it's sequel, Raven Stratagem, which occasionally doled out information in a begrudging kind of way, Revenant Gun practically holds the reader's hand. This isn't a slight against the book, because it never dips into the realm of infodumps, but more something that made me affectionately roll my eyes. Like, really Yoon? Now you decide to explain your shit? We made it this far only barely grasping the mechanics of this world, we could have ma ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Complicated and mixed feelings about how this one ultimately handled the themes of abuse and how it's perpetuated on a personal level, though I thought the issues of social change were handled well. The pacing felt uneven in the first half and some things were resolved with less conflict than I expected (both good and bad); I liked Hemiola a lot and I liked the ending and epilogue. ...more
What am I going to do with my life now that this series is over? I suppose I’m left with no choice but to read everything else Yoon Ha Lee ever writes.

Revenant Gun is the third and final book in Lee’s military space opera, The Machineries of Empire trilogy. I would advise against reading it without reading the other books in the series (start with Ninefox Gambit). Also, be advised that this review can’t avoid spoilers for Ninefox Gambit and Raven Stratagem.

Cheris, Brezan, and the remnants of Jed
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading Ian McEwan’s comments about SF with regard to his new novel Machines Like Me, and being accused of ‘genre snobbery’ due to him declaring sniffily that it is not SF, lingered in my mind as I finished the final instalment in the Machineries of Empire trilogy.

Yes, for once I think we can safely say that there won’t be others … Not to say that the ending is isn’t open-ended enough to allow for a continuation. But Yoon Ha Lee subverts so much else about SF in this trilogy, that I think this d
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Unbelievable, but “Revenant Gun” pulled me in like none of its predecessors and finally made me a believer (or wait – isn’t that a heretic nowadays?) out of me. Yoon Ha Lee is definitively the master of ‘show - don’t tell’ and this book has been very rewarding in that regard. I’m not really the space battles fan (at least not in books) and therefore, I specially loved to see how this universe and all its various players started to make sense. Particularly, I was very keen to learn more about ( ...more
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lia Cooper
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018

Revenant Gun is here with the conclusion to Yoon Ha Lee's smashhit Machineries of Empire Trilogy. Revenant Gun picks up 9 years after the evens of Raven Strategem, following Cheris Jedao's and Hexarch Mikodez's efforts to blow up and assassinate the Hexarchate leadership respectively. In that time, the remnants of the Hhexarchate have splintered into three groups, the loyalties flying under a Kel high general, those who follow Cheris's ideological surrogate from Raven Stratagem, Kel Br
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This fucking book.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great ending! I think I enjoyed the second book in series the best. I still love Jedao(s), the servitors, Mikodez and the whole crazy world. The plot was a touch complicated at times and the discussions based around the various plans were overly long sometimes. I wish someone had gone with the moth Revenant, I would love to know more of its story. Lots of layers and stark commentary about war. Loved the whole series.
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020, sff
Hovering between 4 and 5 stars. This was an amazing series and I'd like to reread it again without gaps between the books, which I think would change my perspective. There are so many details I think I forgot after reading the first two. Such great characterization and interesting world-building. Moments that make me laugh and that made me cry. I want to keep reading! ...more
Quintin Zimmermann
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Yoon Ha Lee's "The Machineries of Empire" trilogy offers something truly unique: dense world building in terms of which society and technology are based on the strength of the shared belief in the calendrical mathematical system.

As Jedao postulated in Ninefox Gambit: "all calendrical war is a game between competing sets of rules, fuelled by the coherence of our beliefs. To win a calendrical war, you have to understand how game systems work."

It has been said before, but to truly enjoy this serie
tw for rape, dubious consent relationships (unhealthy power dynamics), torture, death

Galley provided by publisher

Rep: East Asian inspired characters, lesbian mc, male bi mc, trans male mc, nonbinary side characters

But that didn’t mean those things weren’t worth doing. Someone had to carry on with the small acts that kept civilization moving. And this time it was her turn.

You know those series that make you kind of reluctant to read the final book because you don't quite trust the author not
Claudie Arseneault
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
DISCLAIMER: i received a copy of REVENANT GUN in exchange for a honest review

Revenant Gun manages to continue everything I loved about the previous two books in the trilogy—brilliant character arcs wrapped in tense military action, a cutting sense of humour, and a care for individual passions and nerdery that brings a whole universe to life—while still bringing new things to the table and offering a totally different book from the other three. Besides, it hasn’t escaped me how elements of Revena
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Revenant Gun [June-12-18] 40 47 Oct 05, 2018 01:07AM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee 23 44 Jun 26, 2018 02:37PM  

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Yoon Ha Lee is an American science fiction writer born on January 26, 1979 in Houston, Texas. His first published story, “The Hundredth Question,” appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1999; since then, over two dozen further stories have appeared. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Other books in the series

The Machineries of Empire (3 books)
  • Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire, #1)
  • Raven Stratagem (The Machineries of Empire, #2)

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