A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.
Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.

Book Cover

I was gifted this book from a friend off of my wishlist. I went into it not knowing much, but I’d heard really good things. I assumed from the little bit that I did know that this was going to be a space opera of sorts. But it felt to me more like a murder mystery set in space and filled with politics. I listened to the audiobook and I think that led to most of my feelings about this book.
I don’t think I can really even talk about the characters all that much because I can’t remember half their names. I think this is because I listened to the audio. The characters have unusual names like 3 Sea Grass and 6 Direction. This is all a part of the culture on the planet that the main character travels to for her new job. I mostly liked the characters. They were quirky and made the story fun.
The politics and mystery were the main focus of this story. Someone has killed the main characters predecessor. She’s been sent as his replacement and she is determined to figure out what happened even though she has a huge gap in her knowledge. So, she’s thrust into political maneuverings that she has little to no information about. She spends most of the book trying to put the pieces together (hence the murder mystery comment earlier in this review.) I thought the way she and her new friends put the pieces together was interesting. It didn’t all fall into her lap. She was a really active protagonist and I thought that kept the pace of the story feeling like it was fast-paced. The politics come into the story because she’s an ambassador for the government of the planet she’s just arrived on. The previous ambassador was murdered and it all has to do with local politics. The idea that there were two sides fighting was easy to understand, but when it got more complicated than that with all the different offices and departments it was hard to keep them all straight. Again, I think this is because I listened to the audiobook.
Overall, this was a good book and I think I would have enjoyed it significantly more if I’d read it in a different format. I’m not sure if I’ll continue the series, but if I do, I’ll definitely read the synopsis of the second book before I start.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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