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[personal profile] white_hart
I hadn't heard of Yoon Ha Lee's Ninefox Gambit until it was shortlisted for the Hugos this year; I wasn't quite sure it sounded like my kind of thing, but so many people were praising it I thought I'd try it. And actually, I'm very glad I did, because it's an amazing book.

Essentially, the plot is standard military SF. Captain Kel Cheris is removed from command of her unit after suffering serious losses in battle and placed in command of an expeditionary force charged with putting down a rebellion on a distant outpost, taking with her a secret weapon; the mad but brilliant general Shuos Jedao. Who just happens to have been dead for 400 years. There are battles and subterfuges and a staggeringly high body count. So far, so standard. The worldbuilding is stunning, though: the civilisation Lee creates is complex and believable, based on a complicated system that's part religion and part mathematics and which enables the use of weapons of mass destruction whose functions are somehow tied to the structures of belief and which can be rendered ineffective by alternative, heretical, belief systems. The characters are well-drawn, believable and mostly likeable even when they are committing acts of terrible devastation; Lee certainly doesn't shy away from showing the horror and futility of war, and I particularly liked his use of vignettes of the ordinary soldiers fighting the battles, contrasted with Cheris and Jedao in the command centre, away from the action. And the prose is incredible, with some stunning descriptive passages. I can't recommend this too highly, and obviously I've already downloaded the sequel.

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Date: 2017-09-04 07:12 pm (UTC)
owl: Amy Pond from Doctor Who (Amy Pond)
From: [personal profile] owl
Sounds interesting; have added it to my wishlist.

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