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  • A Desolation Called Peace

  • Teixcalaan, Book 2
  • Written by: Arkady Martine
  • Narrated by: Amy Landon
  • Length: 17 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (114 ratings)

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A Desolation Called Peace

Written by: Arkady Martine
Narrated by: Amy Landon
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Publisher's Summary

2021 Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year

"[An] all around brilliant space opera, I absolutely love it." (Ann Leckie, on A Memory Called Empire)

A Desolation Called Peace is the spectacular space-opera sequel to Arkady Martine's genre-reinventing, Hugo Award-winning debut, A Memory Called Empire.

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.

Their failure will guarantee millions of deaths in an endless war. Their success might prevent Teixcalaan’s destruction - and allow the empire to continue its rapacious expansion.

Or it might create something far stranger....

A Macmillan Audio production from Tor Books

©2020 Arkady Martine (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

What the critics say

Lambda Literary Award - Nominee, 2022

Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, 2021

What listeners say about A Desolation Called Peace

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Zac
  • 2022-10-24

great story and well read.

narration was great, story was good, hard to imagine squeezing another book out of the series

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Frickin' Awesome Voicework

The skill of the narrator really sells this for me. She pulls me in and makes the story real for me.

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A fundamentally well written series, not star wars

The second book of the series introduces an alien competitor to the empire which, if you were hoping for a technically advanced and specific play by play set of action series, you will be disappointed. If you like more of the Dune like political, economic and social aspects of a space drama, then I suspect you will be quite enamoured with this offering.

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Awesome

Super good. Deserved the accolades for sure. I finished both books in the series in like ten days.

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Terrific sequel that enhances & expands the original

All told, a fantastic second round to this story/saga!

More facets of the empire & its culture explored, more intriguing concepts for a reader to wrap their head around and space battles to go along with the political intrigue. And a very unique and expansive look at a competing alien ‘culture’.

The narrator (who I felt was a little wooden for the first book) really fleshes out the characters for this one and enhances the story.

A great sci-fi universe, and I hope a third book is on the way!

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Staggering!

If you have any affection for the world of 'A memory called empire' this is no-brainer. The simmering romantic tension between Mahit and Three Seagrass unpins a story of colonialism unwinding, or to steal from numerous places, "What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?".

Standing on the shoulders of 'Empire', this novel adds additional viewpoints, from weathered Yaotlek Nine Hibiscus and her right hand, Twenty Cicada, to the scurrying, naïve-but-not-for-long child heir, Eight Antidote and his guardian, Emperor Nineteen Adze. With the narration slipping back and forth between what is, at turns, a war, a love affair, a palace intrigue and a first-contact scenario, the story feels gripping, driven and honestly I could go on for hours on the statements in this work, from commentary on post-colonialism to pervasive surveillance, to the amazing, intricate, wonderful world of Teixcalaan, where poetry is politics.

Having just rolled off Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy, you may find the similar themes in both of Arkady Martine's volumes to be to your liking. Martine's prose and dialogue is good but her characterizations are pure delight.

The narration is well executed, by the same narrator who performed the first book in the series, with clearly defined internal and external voices for each character, all equally well executed, including the, at times, mouth-twisting issues of Teixcalaanli pronunciation.

I cannot recommend this highly enough, as a sequel to a Hugo winning debut novel, this does not disappoint.



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  • Andrew Semler
  • 2021-07-05

Good but not as good as the first novel

The first book explored identity and culture in a fresh way. The second retreads old ground. Fans of forever war or Enders game will recognise these themes and this novel brings nothing new to them. But the return of all our favourite characters was very enjoyable.

Performance was excellent.

6 people found this helpful

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  • User
  • 2021-07-02

a love poem for a threat

this series is both beautiful and demanding. if you like Ann leckie you'll like this

4 people found this helpful

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  • June
  • 2021-03-05

Breathtaking and worth waiting for

Part two of a duo-logy, the first being A Memory Called Empire which won the Hugo last year! While the first book was from Mahit Dzmare’s POV, the sequel expands beyond Mahit to multiple characters which at times the chapter or scene would end on a bit of a cliff hanger and go to the next POV making it very difficult to stop listening to. The prose is light, beautiful, and even humorous at times. I would rewind just to listen to the actual poetry which is one of the main features of Teixcalaan culture and often act as double entendres. The main plot about fighting a monstrous enemy is a metaphor for “us vs them.” If “they” aren’t an “us” than they must be barbarians, monsters or worse even if the “us” commits atrocities to maintain power and control. So ask yourself, who’s really the barbarian or monster here? Many themes are explored such as identity, assimilation, friendship, love, loyalty, politics and others. Probably will need listen to again as this novel is richly layered and more will be revealed. Although the author says it’s a duology, the ending seems like there could be more adventures for Mahit Dzmare and hopefully Three Seagrass as they are a dynamic duo!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Quinalt
  • 2021-05-04

Enjoyed to book mostly

I found this book to be well written with an engaging story, with two issue:

1 - The representation of romantic relationship of the main characters was just cringy. They were supposed to be women in their mid-20s, not insecure 12 year olds - mature adults don't act that way. If it was a paper book, I would have skimmed those pages for relevant content but the audio books make that harder, so I had to listen to the silly, juvenile angst hoping for something that would advance the plot (spoiler: there wasn't anything).

2 - As with a lot of science fiction books I've read recently, some technology seems to be stuck in the 21st century. What I mean is that there are giant star ships that use FTL (either warp or gates or something) but somehow a space station is still just a tin can, instead of an O'Neill cylinder or similar. It just shows lack of imagination or maybe lack of research?.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kara Stenberg
  • 2021-07-28

Best sci-fi I have read in years

My only real complaint is that the story ended. I really don’t know how she does it but Arkady Martine manages to create an intriguing and dynamic futuristic universe that doesn’t require Breaking one’s brain in order to imagine - technologies, the culture, all of it is written in a way that flows easily through the imagination. I also really appreciate the wry humor; though highly intellectual the characters remain thoroughly and enjoyably human ( and at many times, hilarious). This second volume gives us glimpses into the thoughts and feelings of a broad cast of characters. At first I chafed at this, having thoroughly enjoyed the previous installment solely through the eyes of Mahit. But further along in the story I felt this was a great narrative choice - how else to show the broader complexities at stake this time? - and I felt it added a greater sense of urgency and emotional risk for the characters. I also loved how much the first book set up in way of plot and meaning for this volume without being obvious. The questions of what makes a person, personality, individual, culture, citizen, civilization - and how all of those things interlink gives me a lot to chew on. I simply cannot wait to see what the next volume has in store.

Lastly, Amy Landon is one of the best narrators I’ve yet heard. Her performance is dynamic without being over the top - just enough subtle shifts to let the listener know when a certain character is speaking and without resorting to cartoonish extremes. A narrator can make or break an audio book for me; I’m very particular and it’s rare for me to say but I’d probably listen to anything she narrates. Highly recommend this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matt Burns
  • 2023-01-26

Great Book, Meh Adaptation

The audio version of this book can be disorienting at times when switching between points of view. While the narrated approach works well with the embodiment of some of the characters. It falls flat with others.

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  • Faisal Sultan
  • 2023-01-12

Meh

I couldnt wait for it to end. And not in a good way. Really boring book.

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  • Richard
  • 2022-12-13

More

as an anthropologist i love this book. i want more. i hope there is a third

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Ttyrnne
  • Ttyrnne
  • 2022-12-06

Boring. Abrupt ending

Not much meat to the plot. Pretty boring overall. Deus ex machina ending. The first one is better, but neither is spectacular. There are plenty of other sci-fi novels with similar themes that explored them in a more interesting way.

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  • Kayto Al'Thor
  • 2022-11-16

left me almost entirely speechless!

Arkady Martine has once again, in a novel where language is a cornerstone of the world building, left me almost entirely speechless. A Desolation Called Peace is undeniably fantastic! It took the foundations A Memory Called Empire built and surpassed my already stratospheric expectations and rocketed them another galaxy. There was not a single moment in this epic novel where I wasn't riveted to the edge of my seat. My only fears were that I would tear the pages of my book from turning them too fast and that I would forget I wasn't Teixcalaanli. I cannot wait to see where this series goes, I love every character and feel the realness. Please do yourself a favor and read this series!