A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
Rating: 5/5 stars
Series: Teixcalaan #1
Genre: Science Fantasy, Space Opera
Release date: March 26, 2019
When Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the centre of the Teixcalaanli Empire, she’s confronted with the immediate problem of solving her predecessor’s murder, while dodging the political instability that’s crept into the empire due to succession issues.
Between all that and protecting her Station from the all-consuming expansion of the empire—Mahit still finds herself embroiled in her own intrigue. But as tensions boil in the empire, she’ll have to decide just how much is too much to give up in exchange for their continued freedom.
**Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing me with an eARC of this book**
This book was absolutely stunning. The world-building was exquisite, the writing was gorgeous and the characters were on point.
I seriously can’t say enough about the world building here. There were so many layers to it, and even though it was largely viewed through the eyes of an outsider, she did a fantastic job of capturing the layered complexities within an empire. Especially contrasting the romanticization of another culture by someone who is an outsider, and the reality of that culture.
And the characters. I loved Mahit so much. She’s strikingly intelligent and incredibly hard working. It was so easy to relate to and cheer for her. Add in Three Seagrass and Twelve Azalea’s banter and I was sold. Every character felt real. And they largely felt filtered through Mahit’s experience of them—which made me instantly suspicious, cause I couldn’t help but wonder what Mahit wasn’t seeing, or where she was wrong in her interpretation of them.
Honestly, there is so much going on in this book, the political intrigue, thoughts about personhood and identity, about memory, the transition of memes and propaganda… like I could probably go on for a long time, and I’m sure if I went back and reread the book I would find more little details that I didn’t notice the first time. It truly is one of those rare books that does a fantastic job of weaving some very complex issues and ideas into an incredibly entertaining narrative.
This is a book that I’m going to recommend to absolutely anyone who loves fantasy or science fiction, the worldbuilding is absolutely top-notch (though admittedly, it is a book best served to people who like steep in the books they read a little).
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