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Raven Stratagem (Machineries of Empire) by…

Raven Stratagem (Machineries of Empire)

by Yoon Ha Lee

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Machineries of Empire (Book 2)

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2641963,933 (4.2)28



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» See also 28 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
I spent a large chunk of this book missing Cheris even though I could tell that she was right there. Beyond that hard to review this book in particular given that I finished it and started the next straight away so they blur a bit together.... ( )
  zeborah | Dec 28, 2018 |
The first half of Ninefox Gambit, the first book in the Machineries of Empire series, confused, frustrated, and intrigued me in equal measures; Raven Stratagem had none of its predecessor's confusion or frustration, and all of its intrigue . There was just enough really gut-punching character work in the last half of Ninefox for me to decide to give the series another shot, and thank goodness I did--I would not have wanted to miss reading this.

I don't know if it was because I'd already gotten my head around the idea of calendrical warfare, exotic technologies, and the Kel formation instinct, or if it was because this book just gets to the action quicker, (or even that I was better rested than when I read Ninefox) but I was drawn into the story almost immediately, and ended up caring for the new characters that we were introduced to very deeply. We get just enough of each character's backstory to give us a sense of who they are, and what their vulnerabilities are, and to also give us a sense of how corrupt this society is, without ever making the story feel bogged down. Instead it feels like a vast, strange, and bloody tapestry in dire need of unpicking. Good thing someone seems to be up to the task...

I also want to mention a small detail that I sincerely appreciated: the decoupling of pronouns and physical gender in this book. People are described as being "manform" or "womanform" in this book, but this has almost no bearing on what pronouns are used for each individual. Jedao is currently in a "womanform" body, but he is always given male pronouns, and none of the characters struggle with using the correct pronouns. When a character in unsure of a person's gender, they refer to their visible gender by calling them a manform or womanform, which I think does a nice job of communicating gendered appearances without assuming actual gender.

This book was interesting, and I've already pre-ordered the next book in the series. This series isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but if you liked Ninefox Gambit, definitely give the second book a shot. It builds on the rich world that Ninefox Gambit created in the best way.

This review first appeared on my blog. ( )
  VLarkinAnderson | Sep 24, 2018 |
2018 Hugo Awards Best Novel Nominee
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
Our story begins where Ninefox Gambit left off: The mad revenant, Shuos Jedao, has seized control of the body of Captain Kel Cheris, and gone on to seize command of General Khiruev's swarm, relying on formation instinct and the fact that Kel Command is far away. He quickly offloads everyone who can't be controlled by formation instinct--the non-Kel, and Lt. Colonel Kel Brezen, who is a crashhawk, one of the rare Kel in whom formation instinct didn't take.

Jedao proceeds to do seemingly exactly what Kel Command would want him to do: defend the hexarchate against the Hafn invasion. Khiruev has, at least in theory, two problems. The first iw whether Jedao can really be trusted to defend the hexarchate as he seems to intend. The other is whether Kel Command can be trusted to let them do it, or will instead sacrifice the entire swarm to eliminate the problem of Shuos Jedao.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Brezen finds his way back to Kel Command and is sent out on a new mission: Promoted to High General, and sent out with an agent of yet another faction, able to enthrall the opposite sex, with the goal of taking back the swarm from Jedao--but not till after he's defeated the Hafn, if that's really what he's doing.

The question is, what is Jedao really up to?

This isn't just a great follow-up to Ninefox Gambit. It's a better, stronger, and at the same time more accessible book.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |

Next in Lee’s sequence of novels about a long-dead male general reincarnated in a female body in a military sf future. Fascinating to see the central character developing his own agenda in the face of an ideological and segmented society, and I understood the society itself much better; but MilSF still isn’t really my thing. ( )
  nwhyte | Jul 8, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yoon Ha Leeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Zeller, Emily WooNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Captain Kel Cheris is possessed by a long-dead traitor general. Together they must face the rivalries of the hexarchate and a potentially devastating invasion."--Amazon.com.

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