If you like political intrigue in space, then this is the book for you!
(I listened to the audio book, so I had to look up all the spellings. I never would’ve gotten Teixcalaanli right!)
Mahit Dzmare is a new ambassador from Lsel Station to the Teixcallanli Empire. The previous ambassador, Yskandr Aghavn, is mysteriously dead. When she arrives at Teixcalaan, she is plunged into the mystery surrounding his death, some political machinations from high-level movers and shakers, a favor requested by the Emperor himself, and eventually a full-on revolution.
Complicating all this already-complicated stuff is Lsel Station’s secret technology, the imago machine. Stationers, when assigned an important job, can be fitted with an imago, a gadget inserted into the brain that holds the memories of those who have held that job before. Mahit has an imago of Yskandr, but it’s decades out of date; the recently deceased Yskandr never updated the download of his memories. Mahit has to figure out if the imago was the reason her predecessor was killed, judge who to trust with her secrets and questions, and how to keep herself alive after a couple of attempts are made on her life.
To be honest, all the political shenanigans didn’t really grab me – I didn’t really care what happened to the Emperor or the empire. But I loved Mahit, and the liaison friends she made, Three Seagrass and Twelve Azalea (all the Teixcalaanli have names like that – kind of hard to keep track of when you’re listening). The growing relationship/integration with her inner Yskandr was interesting, and I liked how she managed her way through some seriously heavy problems.
It’s a pretty dense book, and there were a couple whole plotlines that didn’t really get touched on that seem like they should’ve been important (possible imago sabotage, aliens eating mining ships), but the sequel comes out soon, I believe, and I imagine those are addressed a little further, and I wonder how many more commas I can fit into this rambly sentence.