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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.4 out of 5
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All Book Reviews

  • Did not finish

    I initially got this as it was highly recommended, but didn't get far into it. Then I found out it had won the Hugo award and decided I should give it another go, but only got 23% in before getting too bored to continue. It is more of a political intrigue novel in a futuristic/alien setting than anything else. Not really my cup of tea. A lot of time is spent describing this alien culture that our main character is thrust into the midst of. They seem to be very obsessed with poetry. I can't stand poetry. (Honestly, if I had spent more time reading reviews I would probably known to stay away from this book.) Also, don't you just hate when you read a line of dialogue and think to yourself "uff, what a lame thing to say, does he think he's clever?", and then that very same comment is described to you as "razor-sharp wit" or something? The imago machines just bothered me. They are essentially a copy of the mind of dead person, that you put in somebody else's head and then the two combine and become one new person together, with all the useful memories and skills of the copy. Kind of immortality but not really. Surely if you can do that, you would be able to do actual clones and androids and whatnot. There were mentions of imago-lines of pilots getting lost? Why not just keep another copy of the imago machine back at the station? And why doesn't the Empire seem to have anything like this, being so powerful? Initially I suspected some sort of ideological/religious opposition to the idea, but all the Teixcalaanli that find out about it seem to not have any sort of qualms about continuing to work with the Stationer. Nor do they call the cops on her or anything. If you enjoy political intrigue and worldbuilding that is very much focused on cultural differences, you might like it.

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    9 person found this review helpful

    9 people found this review helpful

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • A Science Fiction murder-mystery

    Mahit Dzmare is the new new ambassador to the Teixcalaan Empire. The problem is, her predecessor is dead, and that’s the least of her worries. She hails from Lsel, a space station and trader with the Empire. Lsel lives in constant fear of annexation, and sent the original ambassador to stave off any desires Teixcallan has of adding Lsel to their pile. But first Mahit needs to find out what happened to her predecessor and ingratiate herself with the people of Teixcalaan. Let’s start with the world-building here, as it is quite unique. There isn’t a whole lot about Mahit’s home, but their technology is quite impressive. They have created an “imago,” a device that attaches to the spinal cord and records every incidence of a person’s life, in particular their skills. This is useful when one lives in deep space. Instead of rookie pilots, an imago of a dead pilot is attached and all their skills and knowledge is shared. The added value is one can have lines of pilots dating back 20 generations. This is kept secret from other cultures though, especially Teixcalaan, who claim such devices are immoral, but would likely jump at the opportunity to get their hands on one. Mahit’s problem is that while she has an imago of her predecessor, it’s fifteen years old as he hasn’t returned in that time period, and there was no opportunity to record a newer one. Now Mahit must manoeuver her way through complex Teixcalaan politics (and it is complex), with nothing but some outdated information as a guide. The Teixcalaan homeworld where she must go is a planet wide city (a more attractive version of Coruscant), where the people consider themselves a step above the “barbarians” from the outerworlds. The city is run by a singular AI which controls much of daily life, while the inhabitants seem to be focused on either politics or poetry, both of which play a major role in the story. Mahit has trained her whole life to be here, but she still feels out of her depth while trying to make any headway on her mission. Luckily she has a liason, Three Seagrass, who helps her negotiate the shark-infested political waters, and their developing relationship is one of the strengths of the book. That’s basically it in a nutshell, but there is a lot more to the book than I could possible bang out in 500 or so words. I really enjoyed it. It’s rather different to almost anything else you will read, with little actual action, but instead plenty of wordplay and political machination. I bet you will not see the ending coming. Be warned though, it is quite a slow burn, and I feel like I spent an inordinate amount time reading it (and checking the definitions of words relating to poetry). If you want a quick read, look elsewhere. If you want a slow but satisfying science-fiction-politically-driven-murder-mystery-with-some-cool-tech, then this could be the book for you. 4 out of 5 stars

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    4 person found this review helpful

    4 people found this review helpful

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • A very interesting thriller.

    Memory called Empire is a very well written political thriller taking place in a fascinating alien culture. In order to truly give credit to this book, I would need to spoil the contents, and that would be a shame, fo this one is best read with no foreknowledge. I can only leave high recommendation. 5/5

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    0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

  • Solid, satisfying space opera

    Well written, great world building. Doesn't fall pray to the downfall of many expansive sci fis, where the various plot lines become unwieldy and the characters stilted.

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    0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

  • Space opera court intrigue

    I love a good space opera. The emperor is dying, and a new ambassador has been summoned to court.

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    0 person found this review helpful

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    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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