#Review : A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine. @UKTor

Today I’m reviewing the follow up book to A Memory Called Empire which I reviewed here and absolutely loved! I’ve been wanting to read the second book ever since so when it popped up on Netgalley there was no way I was going to not request it. Many thanks to Tor Books for granting my request.

The Book: An alien terror could spell our end.

An alien threat lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, and Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is supposed to win a war against it.

In a desperate attempt to find a diplomatic solution, the fleet captain has sent for an envoy to contact the mysterious invaders. Now Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass – both still reeling from the recent upheaval in the Empire – face an impossible task: they must attempt to negotiate with a hostile entity, without inadvertently triggering the destruction of themselves and the Empire.

Whether they succeed or fail could change the face of Teixcalaan forever.

The Review: As I’ve said I loved the first book, so this one had a lot to live up to. Happily Mahit and Three Seagrass are back, though not in quite the same roles as before. Three Seagrass felt a bit more rebellious in this book and Mahit needed to get away from Lsel Station, having discovered some people there are not as they seemed. Though I admit getting on a ship to deal with a destructive alien could be seen as a bit extreme, it did work. Being on the ship in a completely unknown situation put Mahit and Three Seagrass to the test and I enjoyed watching them working together and dealing with the situation they had ended up in.

Although the ship and the impending alien threat is the focus of the story we do still get to spend time on Teixcalaan as well, and it is through this that we get to spend more time with the emperor’s clone and other government departments. While the first book felt mostly about Mahit and Yskandr, this one feels like it’s split between the action on the ship and the planet, seeing a lot more of Eight Antidote and his perspective on both his life and what is happening to his people. I felt his character was much more developed in this book and I liked that.

This book covers first contact with a new species, a bit more depth to how some of the government departments work and a bit of deceit, politics and manipulation. It also introduces us to a few new characters like the fabulous Twenty Cicada and Nine Hibiscus. This is an excellent follow on from the first book and, though I believe I will always slightly prefer book one, I really enjoyed this one. The description of everything was again excellent, I found it really easy to become immersed in both the scenes set in space and the ones on the planet. Splitting the story between on- and off-planet action has given the story a wider scope than I felt there was in the first book and it’s definitely widened the possibilities of what will happen in book 3.

I’m really looking forward to the third book, it’ll be interesting to see where it takes Mahit, Three Seagrass and, hopefully Eight Antidiote who has become a character I want see more of.

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