A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady MartineA Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine
Narrator: Amy Landon
Series: Teixcalaan #2
Published by Macmillan Audio on March 2, 2021
Source: Library
Genres: Science Fiction
Length: 17 hrs 32 mins
Pages: 496
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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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.

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

First, go read A Memory Called Empire if you haven’t yet. It’s a fabulous book and I’m not sure you can fully understand/ enjoy A Desolation Called Peace without it. It’s where we are first introduced to the Teixcalaan Empire, which spans across galaxies. It’s an empire full of political intrigue and poetry. We also met Mahit Dzmare, the ambassador to Teixcalaan from Lsel Station, a small, independent mining space station with its own culture, identity, and most importantly technology. Lsel creates imagos, memory imprints that are designed to meld into the personality of the wearer and preserve the preceding generations of knowledge.

This time around we meet the aliens, the ones killing people on the edges of the Teixalaan Empire. There is so much I could say about this book. The world-building is amazing and the aliens interesting, although maybe not unique. The main characters, and there are several, are each fully drawn with strengths and flaws and a lot of loneliness. It’s about colonialism and what “home” means. It’s about communication and relationships.

And it’s just really enjoyable to read, actually I listened to it, which might have made a difference. Listening, for me, tends to tone down the repetitions, makes me concentrate less on the details and more on the story overall. I like Martine’s phrasing and style and the emotions and personality Landon gives to the narration.

About Arkady Martine

Arkady Martine is a speculative fiction writer and, as Dr. AnnaLinden Weller, a historian of the Byzantine Empire and a city planner. She is currently a policy advisor for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, where she works on climate change mitigation, energy grid modernization, and resiliency planning. Under both her names she writes about border politics, rhetoric, propaganda, and the edges of the world. Arkady grew up in New York City and, after some time in Turkey, Canada, Sweden, and Baltimore, lives in Santa Fe with her wife, the author Vivian Shaw.

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