Book Reviews

Review: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

You know when a friend tells you to read a book and it’s already on your TBR? That kind of mind meld? That was me when Kate from Your Tita Kate recommended I read A Memory Called Empire for my 12 Friends 12 Books Challenge. So commence happy screaming, because this book made my mind work! Keep reading this book review to see what I mean!


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.


I was so ready for space and ambassadors. But A Memory Called Empire is a political manipulation masterpiece. Not only did I end up loving the concepts of Imago technology (which essentially imprints another consciousness/memory thing onto yours), but I ended up being wrapped up in a world of politics. Mahit has to unravel the mystery of her predecessor’s death, as well as trying to figure out how to speak up for herself. She’s thrown headfirst into situations of mired and intense politics that no one wants to talk about. At the same time, she has to figure out just who she is.

Is she just another element of this Imago technology and how faithful does she want to be to what the previous ambassador was pursuing. Full of documents at the beginning of each chapter, the readers are as unsure as Mahit about what secret deals were made. What forces are at play here? The forces at work, the powers at be pushing and shaping, molding and betraying. If you’re searching for a political SF, A Memory Called Empire is an excellent pick.

It has some fabulous world kernels about humanity, identity, and technology. For Mahit, it almost feels like she’s losing a piece of herself. Struggling to figure out what’s going on and immersed in a sea of sabotage. At the same time it also discusses alien inter-cultural communication. There are questions of ethics and immorality with technology and especially as cultures want to expand and explore. I really enjoyed it and I cannot wait for the sequel! Find A Memory Called Empire on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


Do you have a favorite political SF?

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