Book 2 in the Teixcalaan series, A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine, is an exciting return to the Empire. Detailed and imaginative, her world-building is extraordinary and thought-provoking.
Having enjoyed the first book, I was keen to delve into the second. I think this book is actually better than the first. Perhaps because I didn’t have to work as hard to understand the world and people she created. I already knew them. But I also think the story is better.
Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass team up once again to help negotiate with an enemy that inspires fear among the most hardened war veterans.
Don’t ask me how to pronounce a lot of names, but it was easy to fill in my own pronunciations, which I’m sure are very wrong. But that doesn’t matter. The story is beautiful and the language often aching. The Empire loves its poetry, and I feel as if the story immerses me in the culture of the Empire and that I see it through the lens of their poetry. It’s quite an extraordinary feat in writing.
I definitely recommend reading this one, especially if you liked the first, A Memory Called Empire.
Here’s the official description:
An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, and Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is running out of options.
In a desperate attempt at diplomacy with the mysterious invaders, the fleet captain has sent for a diplomatic envoy. Now Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass—still reeling from the recent upheaval in the Empire—face the impossible task of trying to communicate with a hostile entity.
Their failure will guarantee millions of deaths in an endless war. Their success might prevent Teixcalaan’s destruction—and allow the empire to continue its rapacious expansion.
Or it might create something far stranger . . .