A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine (Teixcalaan #2)
**we received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley that I took way too long to read. We’d like to thank Arkady and Tor for the opportunity. Promise we’ll do better next time**
Reviewed by Sam!
What I drank prior: I went to happy hour with my co workers and got to meet one of my staff for the first time. Plus also see a couple folks I haven’t seen since March of 2020, which was such a delight. So needless to say, I’ve had a lot of wine. It was happy hour that turned in to a happy night…. Which is how this works a lot of times I suppose.
An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, and Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is running out of options.
In a desperate attempt at diplomacy with the mysterious invaders, the fleet captain has sent for a diplomatic envoy. Now Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass—still reeling from the recent upheaval in the Empire—face the impossible task of trying to communicate with a hostile entity.
Whether they succeed or fail could change the fate of Teixcalaan forever.
Drunk Overview: So this is the second book in this series and it picks up shortly after the first, so get outta here if you haven’t read the first one.
Ok cool, so Mahit is back home on her station but has no idea what the political environment is and how many people know about her broken Imego (sp?) and having two Iskanders with her. Then there’s Three Seagrass and the fact that there’s this alien species that has technology that can LITERALLY MELT SPACESHIPS and that’s not even close to terrifying. So Three Seagrass has to figure out who these aliens have language that’s not really verbal, it’s more screaming, so she goes to her favorite linguist, Mahit. then there’s the captain of the ship that Three Seagrass is on plus also the heir to the throne and I cannot remember his name but they exist too. It’s complicated… just like the first one.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: Was this as good as the first one? Absolutely. Was this more political intrigue than the first one? It’s hard to imagine it, but it was.
Characters: The characters in this is actually where this falls short if you can believe it. I think they rely a bit too much on the previous one and not enough in the development of the characters in their current situation. I find that hilarious because they’re literally learning a new scream-o language of an unknown species that can spit and dissolve spaceships. Who doesn’t grow in that situation? Not these folks. I will say, they deal with the relationship between Mahit and Three Seagrass well. They’re mad at each other, and they do the whole “don’t tell them” thing but they figure it out eventually. Basically this whole book is them figuring it out.
Plot: Ok, so the plot is basically this: There’s a species that will spit on you and destroy you that screams to speak. They’ve got to figure out how to speak back while also dealing with people both at the station Mahit is from and the Texicalaan homeworld really want war. That’s it. Feels like…. It should either take way more time than it did (like the movie Arrival) or way less time. But the pacing sucked.
Writing Style: just like the first time, I listened on audio and I really feel like that’s the best way to read these. The narrator does so well.
World Building: Not enough if you ask me…. And you’re not asking, but you’re reading this so you must care at least a little… right?
What to pair it with: A summer shandy. You want to keep drinking it and it is absolutely delicious, but you know exactly what you’re getting.
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,