A Desolation called Peace by Arkady Martine – Book review

I’m catching up with my sequels as part of the March of Sequels hosted by Sue’s Musing and the sequel to A Memory called Empire was on my list.Here  is my review of A Desolation called Peace by Arkady Martine.

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Texicalaan Duology

Source: My own

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. Review


It has been a while since I read A Memory called Empire, so I have to admit – it took a while to get back into the complicated world created by Arkady Martine.

The book gets off to a slow start picking up not long after the events in the first book but not just in The City. This time the story and action take place in space on the station world of Lsel and on the spaceship tasked with stopping the alien invasion.

The world-building including the political structure is complicated, intricate and fascinating- there are far too many tension-filled conflicts between powerful people to describe. But each one of them felt unique, complex, and tense.

Mahit’s complicated relationship with her Imago continues and begins to read like a sci-fi version of The Odd Couple. But Mahit’s relationship with Three Seagrass continues to grow in a realistically and complicated way ( there’s that word complicated again which pretty much sums up the book).

There are several points of view characters with their own subplots which converge neatly at the end. Eight Antidote, the eleven-year-old clone of the former emperor, was my favourite. His voice forms the heart of the book- a child learning about politics but rising above it with all the innocence of childhood.

I loved the aliens and the first contact between humans and aliens were the best part of the book.

Despite all the political intrigue, warfare, action and drama, the book is actually funny- Seagrass’s reaction to drinking a glass of sea kelp was hilarious!

I would recommend reading the two books close together ( or rereading the first one) as the reader is thrown back into the Texicalaan universe without a recap or summary.

Content warning

Descriptions of prejudice between the Texicalaans and Stationers

Perfect for Fans

Ancillary Justice or space operas

4 thoughts on “A Desolation called Peace by Arkady Martine – Book review

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