Sunday, June 12, 2022

A Desolation Called Peace

My book for June was A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine. The book was nominated for 2021 Nebula Best Novel award, but didn't win. It is also nominated for 2022 Hugo Best Novel Award.

The novel is a sequel to A Memory Called Empire; I read that book in November of 2020. A Memory Called Empire won the 2020 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

The story continues to follow Mahit Dzmare, the ambassador from Lsel Station to the Teixcalaanli Empire. In the aftermat of the political upheaval in the first book, Dzmare is called upon to assist with an alien first contact.

Building on the themes from the first book in the series, the book tackles conquest and colonialism, what constitutes language, and personal connection to culture and institutions. The book also introduces the theme of collective consciousness.

The title alludes to a famous phrase by Tacitus who quotes a Caledonian chieftain describing the policies of the Roman Empire: solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant – "they make a wasteland and call it peace".

I enjoyed the book. I don't think that it is as good as the first novel in the series. It is worth reading if you read the first book.

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