Une désolation nommée paix

605 pages

French language

Published 2022 by J'ai Lu.

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4 stars (4 reviews)

7 editions

Excellent sequel

5 stars

Rare for me to find a sequel more interesting than the original, but this was one of those occasions. It takes the world-building from Memory Called Empire and then allows the characters to step further forward in the story. After being at the heart of the Empire before, we're now at the fringe, where it faces a threat and a potential war, with politics at play that might lead to a catastrophe. Really enjoyed watching how this all played out and the way the characters grew and developed through it.

Unclear motivations & prose

3 stars

Disappointing sequel despite potential. Some dubious premises (surely a galactic empire would have first contact specialists?). Unclear motivations & prose: I rarely understood why particular choices were being made. Also an annoying inconsistency: internally, characters were flailing haplessly, but in actuality they were exceedingly competent.

Reading time 6 days, 80 pages/day

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A Worthy Sequel

4 stars

There were many directions in which Arkady Martine could have taken the sequel to her popular 2019 novel A Memory Called Empire, and she has chosen an interesting and entertaining one.

The worldbuilding for which A Memory Called Empire was praised is back in A Desolation Called Peace, and while the first book focused on the Teixcalaanli capital, the second one explores more of the life onboard of the Lsel Station, as well as life in campaigning military fleets of the empire. For the most part, the worldbuilding in the sequel does not disappoint.

The bits where it does disappoint is in Martine leaning perhaps too heavily on space opera tropes in the parts of the book that take place aboard starships. While the descriptions of the capital or the palace grounds therein continue to be evocative, the descriptions of what it is like onboard of an imperial …

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4 stars