A Memory Called Empire
In a war of lies she seeks the truth
Ambassador Mahit Dzmare travels to the Teixcalaanli Empires interstellar capital, eager to take up her new post. Yet when she arrives, she discovers her predecessor was murdered. But no one will admit his death wasnt accidental and she might be next.
Now Mahit must navigate the capitals enticing yet deadly halls of power, to discover...more
Easily one of the cleverest sci-fi debuts Ive read so far.
A Memory Called Empire is Arkady Martines debut novel and the first installment in the Teixcalaan series. Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in Teixcalaan only to find out that the previous ambassador from the same mining station as hers has died. Contrary to her belief, nobody wants to admit that his death wasnt an accident, and now its up to Mahit to uncover whos ...more
What do you mean, what do I mean? There's something about it--as good, as inclusive, as remarkable as it is--that just fails to miss me. Possibly it's the empire-building genre. At any rate, this is probably what Alastair Reynolds was going for in The Prefect, only this was so much more tightly plotted, with better characterization, that it was far more satisfying. Perhaps my reservations are due to lingering disaffection, because Martine does exactly what I expected from ...more
In fact, 85% of the story was pure dialogue and explanations. It TOLD me about this cool alien world and society, but it often neglected to SHOW me. And that feels like a colossal opportunity wasted. Incidentally, I ...more
It's set in a space empire in which straight isn't the default, most of the cast is queer, and the worldbuilding is complex but never confusing - everything I've ever wanted.
And yet it's so much more. I knew this would be an intense read for me right from the dedication, because this book is dedicated to anyone who has ever ...more
It started out well enough - the 'deadly technological secret' referenced in the blurb was absolutely the most interesting part of the book. Though I think labeling it 'deadly' is debatable. But once that secret ...more
However, I've read a ton of murder-mysteries built into SF worlds so the core of the tale was something of a no-brainer and followed all the conventions. Welcome a stranger, an ambassador for a tiny space-station ensconced in a huge, huge empire, have her replace her murdered ...more
I guess I'll start at the beginning. One of the first pages said something along the lines of: "This is for all those who have ever fallen in love with a culture that was not their own."
That one line pretty much sums up the whole book. Mahit (our MC) has spent her whole life training to be an ambassador from her ...more
I'm sorry, I'm skimming more and more and it's just not worth forcing myself to finish another book I can't enjoy.
What I was initially struck with was how much I respected the author--she seems educated, kind, fond of wit and justice, and I admire those things. Unfortunately, this book was largely misrepresented to me, and by the time I adjusted to the accurate genre, it was clear that it had none of the elements I enjoy in that sphere.
-A political thriller not a space opera. ...more
Multilayered, creative, and finely written, all the more impressive when considering this is a debut novel. Basically all the hype is both true and well-deserved.
Interestingly, while I was reading this the writing style kept reminding me of Vivian Shaw. Strange Practice is a completely different story, in a different genre, but has a similarly comfortable and personal narrative style. It turns out Vivian Shaw is Arkady Martine's partner!
Although this book can be read as a standalone, ...more
Ambassador Dzmare, he said, welcome to the Jewel of the World. A pleasure.
Mahit, a very green-behind-the-ears ambassador, comes to the capital of the empire that might have designs on her home, Lsel Station. This is what she yearned for, but its not entirely what it was supposed to be. And things dont go as planned.
After the first two chapters this made me think of Ann Leckies Imperial ...more
Mahit Dmzare has been training at Lsel Station to be an ambassador to the Teixcalaan Empre, when she's told the Empire has requested a replacement for their existing Lsel ambassador, Yskandr. When she arrives at the City, the main city of the ...more
Now a Hugo nominee for Best Novel. Yay! Can't wait for #2. Get writing, AM! Sadly, I see Tor (& AM) have pushed back the release date to 3-2021. Grumble.
Galactic empires have a long pedigree in SF. The world-city capitol of Teixcalaan will remind old-timers of Asimovs Trantor. But Martines iteration has some fresh twists. New ambassador Mahit Dzmare is shoved into deep ...more
It states that this is book 1 but it could easily be read as a stand-alone. She leaves just enough hanging out there to make you want to pick up the next book, but ties up most plot points.
I'm so sorry you all have to wait until March. I cannot begin to tell you how MUCH there is in this book. Philosophy, poetry, politics, ethics, mystery, language, literary heritage, HERITAGE, LEGACY. LEGACY. AND WHAT IT ALL MEANS. I CAN'T GET ENOUGH.
I want to talk about the politics of the self and the ethics of legacy. The poetry of heritage. I WANT TO WRITE ...more
A Memory Called Empire offers both, but maybe on other terms than I'd expected.
This is the story of Mahid, an ambassador from the small station of Lsel, who is tasked to serve at the court of the Emperor Six Directions, the ruler of the vast Teixcalaan empire.
Her predecessor has been murdered, so the mystery part of the novel is to find out who did it ...more
This fits well in the grand tradition of culturally-focused scifi, and I loved the implicit and explicit exploration of how humans will be different growing up in a space station culture threatened with physical (and cultural!) assimilation from a large neighboring empire. And the idea of a star-spanning empire based on poetry and intrigue tickles me too!
The plot is propulsive, the characters ...more
Comparisons to Cherryhs Foreigner series, as well as Leckies Imperial Radch, will of course abound, and yes, diplomacy, politics, and linguistics have an important role in this book, but the treatment of these themes is different. Martine has her own style, which is great. The world she creates is complex, multi-layered, and ever so fascinating! Two cultures, widely ...more
I also loved the main character Mahit and the main secondary character Three Seagrasses (awesome structures of names in this sci-fi novel), and following them navigating court intrigues and politics was a pleasure.
A quote I loved:
"and you thought, At last there are words for how I feel, and ...more
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