A Desolation Called Peace – Arkady Martine

I absolutely loved the first book of Teixcalaan, so I was very excited to a/ be able to ask for the second book on NetGalley b/ actually get an eARC for it 🙂

The story of A Desolation Called Peace starts a few months after the end of A Memory Called Empire. It is divided into several points of view: Mahit, Three Seagrass, Captain Nine Hibiscus, the Emperor, and the Emperor’s heir, as they navigate a tricky first contact situation with an alien species whose intentions seem more than belligerent. Nine Hibiscus is the captain of the fleet handling that first contact; Three Seagrass and Mahit are there to handle the diplomacy.

As in the first book of the series, the world building is delightful, and I really enjoyed the whole cultural and political aspects of all the civilizations involved. However, while poetry and its use in the empire was a strong component of the first book (which I enjoyed immensely), it’s definitely less present in this one, and I missed that a bit. I also had a bit of an issue with pacing: the middle 60% of the book are perfectly paced for my taste, but the first 20% feel a bit lagging and the last 20% feel a bit rushed. I’ll admit that it may have a lot to do with wanting certain things to happen in the first 20% of the book and not wanting the book to end in the last 20% of the book – which may actually be a good thing 😉

That said, I really enjoyed this second installment. I really liked the different points of view, and I got new characters to like. The story and its resolution were very satisfying, and I found myself highlighting a few quotes on my reader – which I hadn’t done that recently. A solid read, and definitely recommended to people who enjoyed the first book.