A Memory Called Empire – Arkady Martine

Now this was a science fiction novel I enjoyed.

The novel is a space opera, much in the style of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, featuring an ambassador to the Teixcalaanli capital, who is thrust into something of a crisis. First, Ambassador Mahit Dzmare’s predecessor died in mysterious circumstances. The ambassador suspects murder. Second, it appears the empire is getting ready to subsume the ambassador’s home station into the Empire regardless of any opposition. Third, she has a wee secret of her own that could make all the difference – for good or bad.

So, courtly intrigues are on display along with a reasonable mix of some standard ideas and fresh perspectives. For example, there is an AI controlled city, but here we get to look at some of the less well examined issues that might arise from such supposed ideal arrangements.

The other reason to enjoy the book is that there is an abundance of strong female characters. All are well drawn , interesting, and have their part to play in the action.

There are some sequences where the writing seems to phase out of the plot and threaten to go off on an unnecessary tangent. But these are rare and easy enough to get through. Another way of looking at these is that the author was trying to make a point and it went right over my head!

Overall, a satisfying and enjoyable read. Recommended.