Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Raven Stratagem (The Machineries of Empire #2) by Yoon Ha Lee

Continues the story which began in last year’s nominee. The story happens in a world where a belief set (or a “calendar”) that is followed changes what sort of technology can be used. The “heretics” who believe otherwise may be really dangerous and are often treated in extreme ways.

The “mad” general who had lived as an uploaded personality for centuries has apparently totally taken over the host body he was inhabiting in the last book. He has never lost a battle in his life, but sometimes his methods have been very ruthless, up to killing his own troops. Now he has some objective – but what really is the objective? He apparently should even be the leader, but the troops have a “formation instinct” that compels them to follow the leader no matter what, and they don’t have any choice in that.

A large cast of characters and a structure where there is a chapter that might be a flashback with no stated time (so you must read it before you actually realize this is a flashback) makes the book fairly hard to follow. Also, the fact that a very large portion of the book consists of discussions concerning strategy and tactics and little of the action happens “on screen“ doesn’t help with the readability. It was pretty hard going for the most part and I really didn’t get involved with the characters. I am not usually a fan of military science fiction, and this book didn’t change that. It won’t be among my top choices in the voting.

355 pp.

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