If you’re new to the Machineries Of Empire series, start with my review here.
So when I first began reading this I thought, “Wait, what, my memory must really be going because this is totally different from what I remembered of the ending of Ninefox Gambit.” Then I got through over half of the book before realizing that I’m not as decrepit as I thought, and ooh yeah, Yoon Ha Lee knows how to throw his narrative punches!
That said, I did not rate Raven Stratagem as highly as NG, mostly because of the glaringly obvious Andal connection, but also because, tho it was pretty great when it came to action and math and deception (and it made me root for Shuos Mikodez! I was not expecting that at all!) it lacked a certain poignancy that it might easily have reached (and that its predecessor did reach,) particularly in the later chapters with Khiruev and Istradez. Also, it seems odd to me that one can voluntarily reject formation instinct after it’s been indoctrinated/inoculated. I suppose it could be argued that DNA is not destiny, but if it’s so easy to throw off formation instinct, wouldn’t more Kel be doing it in the heat of battle?
Anyway, I was left wondering at the end where Mr Lee could possibly be going with the third and final book in the series, Revenant Gun, but I suppose no one knows where Nirai Kujen has gone or what he’s up to. I’m very excited to find out, tho!
See what Doug had to say in his review here.