A Memory Called Empire
In a war of lies she seeks the truth
Ambassador Mahit Dzmare travels to the Teixcalaanli Empire’s 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 wasn’t accidental – and she might be next.
Now Mahit must navigate the capital’s e...more
On rare occasions—and when you’re very lucky—you stumble upon a book that awakens a dimension of you that you had not known existed. A story that feels like an unlocking, or a becoming, like something inside you is shifting into a new and strange place—piecing itself together or breaking apart or both. It’s a wonderful feeling: to find a story that you can carry within you so powerfully it sears through your bones, and takes root in your chest, and win ...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 Reyno ...more
Easily one of the cleverest sci-fi debuts I’ve read so far.
A Memory Called Empire is Arkady Martine’s 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 wasn’t an accident, and now it’s up to Mahit to uncover who ...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, ...more
“That was the problem. Empire was empire—the part that seduced and the part that clamped down, jaws like a vise, and shook a planet until its neck was broken and it died....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
Listened to the audio this time and it really smoothed out the issues I had with the prose. All my initial problems stand, but it was enjoyable. So, 3 stars, but I'm keeping the rating because it really needs to be listened to in order to be palatable, and really it still doesn't add up to a compelling story for me. A political intrigue book where none of the politics make sense and the intrigue is...mostly imaginary.
Time of death: 62%
I'm sorry, I'm skimming more and ...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 fa ...more
“the jaws of the empire opening up again, akimbo, bloody-toothed -- the endless self-justifying desire that was teixcalaan, and teixcalaanli ways of thinking of the universe. the empire, the world. one and the same. and if they were not yet so: make them so, for this is the right and correct will of the stars.”
in a dazzling sci-fi read high on worldbuilding and political intrigue, an ambassador to a small space station is trying to investigate her predecessor’s death at the court of ...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 coun ...more
I really enjoyed this story of an ambassador that is new on the job and not only has to get used to a different place and culture, but also has to find out what lead to her predecessor‘s death. All this while she has an outdated version of him in her head, and her endocrine system.
I found the idea with the imago-machines, which preserve the memories of the dead, fascinating. The main character Mahit Dzmare should be able to benefit from the exper ...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 h ...more
If you have time to read no further than this second line, know another: you should read this book.
If you’ve got this far, know a third thing: A Memory called Empire, is one of my favorite SF novels of the last twelve months.
That’s all you really need to know. If you love a good SF novel that is more than the pew-pew of laser pistols and the throaty roar of warp-drives, then a visit to your l ...more
✨ Review now up! ✨
The best science-fiction novels steal your heart, squeeze it, and make an impact. 2021 is still a child learning to walk, but somehow in its first adventures it decided that it would be the year when I finally enjoy reading those novels, and I'm still reeling from the absolute bafflement it makes me feel, okay? Not liking science-fiction - not understanding its appeal - has been part of my reader DNA forever and honestly, I don't know if they just got better or if I've changed ...more
There was nothing safe, there were only gradations of exposure to danger
It is very interesting how Arkady Martine engages with the question of how the barbarian tribes past the Rhine and Danube would have felt when they’d be invited into Rome at its apex. But than in space.
The Heian court of Japan, with the focus on decorum, rituals, literature and poetry, comes to m ...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 Asimov’s Trantor. But Martine’s iteration has some fresh twists. New ambassador Mahit Dzmare is shoved into deep wate ...more
With the publication of the second volume around the corner, I couldn’t resist revisiting the fascinating world of Teixcalaan :O)
This novel was a totally unexpected find when I read it back in 2019. The narrative follows Ambassador Mahit, diplomat from the fiercely independent mining Station Lsel to the multi-system Empire of Teixcalaan, under very unsettling circumstances. What happened to the original ambassador? Is the threat of annexing Lsel to the Empire ever more present? What is h ...more
|SciFiBN: January 2022: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine||1||3||Jun 06, 2021 10:39AM|
|Thoughts on the Book - "A Memory Called Empire"||4||29||Jun 05, 2021 06:43AM|
|Balticon 55: "Tell Me What To Read Next||1||2||May 30, 2021 02:56PM|
|Undead & UnRead B...: May - A Memory Called Empire||5||11||May 14, 2021 12:53PM|
|SFF Hot from Prin...: March 2020 -- A Memory Called Empire (Spoilers)||11||24||Apr 27, 2021 11:18AM|
|Space Wizards: Teixcalaanli names||1||9||Apr 20, 2021 11:20AM|