New Series, first in the Teixcalaan series and published on March 26, 2019!
Ahh a day late for Pride 2021 but we’ll call it as under the wire–what a book to finish off on, and one where romance is not even the second (or third) priority for any of our characters. I will hold off on giving this a five star review but might very well come back and do so in the very near future. It has my feelings in a VISE.
New romance, that is, because of course our main character Mahit is in possession of generations upon generations of lives (and, therefore, presumably, loves) via her imago, a small neurological implant that carries forward the knowledge of prior generations and, over time, gets assimilated into the implantee…who themselves will, one day, become an imago and (hopefully) be implanted as well.
That’s just one of the many fascinating, clever bits of lore that Martine endlessly weaves into what is superficially a “space opera” but is really the best distillation of the form. Not much happens–the prior ambassador to Teixcalaan from Lsel has died, a new one needs to be sent asap but without knowledge of what’s happened in the past 15 years. While normally this is a pity, for Mahit this is a contravention of what she’s expected as an ambassador. Without a more recent imago she’s constantly aware of the gap in her knowledge.
I loved this book so much for the endless permutations that the characters and situations ended up in. Lsel’s imago vs Teixcalaanli cultural allusions as a way of life (imagine–picking the literary figure or work upon which your entire life will be modeled). Mahit’s week of confusion versus Yskander’s twenty years of integration. Three Seagrass’ clean ambition vs Twelve Azalea’s freeflowing people-driven network. The empire vs the independent republic. Mahit’s desperation to be Teixcalaanli vs her longing to be back in Lsel.
There are lots of books like this, I’m sure. Someone will come along to tell me how derivative this is of x or y or how z does this at a level superior. I just really, really liked this book and am full of FEELINGS and wish that I could exhaust them by composing fifteen syllable acrostics on the spot and having them be proclaimed winner by acclamation.
I’m going to go off in a corner and make nonsense sounds now.