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Publisher's Summary

2021 Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year

"[An] all around brilliant space opera, I absolutely love it." (Ann Leckie, on A Memory Called Empire)

A Desolation Called Peace is the spectacular space-opera sequel to Arkady Martine's genre-reinventing, Hugo Award-winning debut, A Memory Called Empire.

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....

A Macmillan Audio production from Tor Books

©2020 Arkady Martine (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about A Desolation Called Peace

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but not as good as the first novel

The first book explored identity and culture in a fresh way. The second retreads old ground. Fans of forever war or Enders game will recognise these themes and this novel brings nothing new to them. But the return of all our favourite characters was very enjoyable.

Performance was excellent.

3 people found this helpful

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a love poem for a threat

this series is both beautiful and demanding. if you like Ann leckie you'll like this

2 people found this helpful

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Breathtaking and worth waiting for

Part two of a duo-logy, the first being A Memory Called Empire which won the Hugo last year! While the first book was from Mahit Dzmare’s POV, the sequel expands beyond Mahit to multiple characters which at times the chapter or scene would end on a bit of a cliff hanger and go to the next POV making it very difficult to stop listening to. The prose is light, beautiful, and even humorous at times. I would rewind just to listen to the actual poetry which is one of the main features of Teixcalaan culture and often act as double entendres. The main plot about fighting a monstrous enemy is a metaphor for “us vs them.” If “they” aren’t an “us” than they must be barbarians, monsters or worse even if the “us” commits atrocities to maintain power and control. So ask yourself, who’s really the barbarian or monster here? Many themes are explored such as identity, assimilation, friendship, love, loyalty, politics and others. Probably will need listen to again as this novel is richly layered and more will be revealed. Although the author says it’s a duology, the ending seems like there could be more adventures for Mahit Dzmare and hopefully Three Seagrass as they are a dynamic duo!

2 people found this helpful

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Best sci-fi I have read in years

My only real complaint is that the story ended. I really don’t know how she does it but Arkady Martine manages to create an intriguing and dynamic futuristic universe that doesn’t require Breaking one’s brain in order to imagine - technologies, the culture, all of it is written in a way that flows easily through the imagination. I also really appreciate the wry humor; though highly intellectual the characters remain thoroughly and enjoyably human ( and at many times, hilarious). This second volume gives us glimpses into the thoughts and feelings of a broad cast of characters. At first I chafed at this, having thoroughly enjoyed the previous installment solely through the eyes of Mahit. But further along in the story I felt this was a great narrative choice - how else to show the broader complexities at stake this time? - and I felt it added a greater sense of urgency and emotional risk for the characters. I also loved how much the first book set up in way of plot and meaning for this volume without being obvious. The questions of what makes a person, personality, individual, culture, citizen, civilization - and how all of those things interlink gives me a lot to chew on. I simply cannot wait to see what the next volume has in store.

Lastly, Amy Landon is one of the best narrators I’ve yet heard. Her performance is dynamic without being over the top - just enough subtle shifts to let the listener know when a certain character is speaking and without resorting to cartoonish extremes. A narrator can make or break an audio book for me; I’m very particular and it’s rare for me to say but I’d probably listen to anything she narrates. Highly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoyed to book mostly

I found this book to be well written with an engaging story, with two issue:

1 - The representation of romantic relationship of the main characters was just cringy. They were supposed to be women in their mid-20s, not insecure 12 year olds - mature adults don't act that way. If it was a paper book, I would have skimmed those pages for relevant content but the audio books make that harder, so I had to listen to the silly, juvenile angst hoping for something that would advance the plot (spoiler: there wasn't anything).

2 - As with a lot of science fiction books I've read recently, some technology seems to be stuck in the 21st century. What I mean is that there are giant star ships that use FTL (either warp or gates or something) but somehow a space station is still just a tin can, instead of an O'Neill cylinder or similar. It just shows lack of imagination or maybe lack of research?.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

No safe harbor

Arkady Martine's A Desolation Called Peace is the sequel to A Memory Called Empire. Mahit, the ambassador to Teixcalaan, is back on Lsel station in middle of factional conflict. With her two imagos, she is in a delicate situation. At the same time, the unknown alien invaders are making inroads to Teixcalaan space and military assets have been deployed but are not doing well. Mahit's old flame, Three Seagrass intercepts a request for assistance in communications with the aliens and secretly travels to the front, picking up Mahit along the way. Back in Teixcalaan, the heir apparent, Eight Antidote gets involved in war strategy which has a difference of opinion at the senior levels. Mahit and Seagrass eventually manage to communicate with the aliens which represent a 'hive mind.' Eventually through intervention by Antidote, disaster is averted.

Martine offers quite a bit in a moderate length tale. She explores the relationship between conqueror and conquered. Teixcalaan regard anyone different from themselves as barbarians with little to offer. At the same time, in both Tiexcalaan and Lsel factional forces are vying for control and influence without regard to long term consequences. Through the imago machine process that offers anchoring of institutional memory, issues of identity and conscious free will abound. Finally, the hive mind aliens present the troubling aspect of engaging in communications with another intelligence without a common frame of reference.

The narration is quite good with a solid character distinction. Pacing is a bit on the slow side.

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A new favorite

Excellent series that brings a really cool angle to sci-fi with strong female protagonists. Looking forward to the next release!

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Great detail, lacked story

This was my first audio book. I searched "political sci fy" and went with this as it had many reviews.

It did a great job detailing each scene, as well as character feelings, but it was almost too much detail as the story itself lacked momentum and interest.

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Arkady Martine gets language

By far my favorite prose writer in recent memory, and top 2 of all time, Arkady Martine is a true master of language. She writes with an intention and skill I’ve never before seen. I will be preordering any book she publishes in the future.

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Tedious YA romance novel

Significant departure from the first book. Instead of a smart and interesting near mystery with exceptional narrative most of this book is the internal monologue of a young girl learning to deal with relationships and other adult problems. Roughly an hour of actual plot fluffed with interminable days of immature reflections on feelings and slight embarrassments. Tiresome.