A Memory Called Empire

Arkady Martine
A Memory Called Empire Cover

A Memory Called Empire


Overall, maybe the worst recent Hugo winner.

The novel has everything I like - space empires, court intrigue, great characters, and yet I was not able to get immersed.

It seems that the author has not mastered the art of the info-dump, so any expositions did not seem natural. I don't mind being lectured on the world, as long as it's being done artfully (i.e. Neal Stephenson). I don't mind either being dumped in medias res, and having to rely on my questionable wits to get the environment (i.e. Hannu Rajaniemi). However, this has some middle-of-the-road approach, that did not work for me.

Also, I think the most annoying thing was the naming - too many too long words, that after a while I stopped even reading and were getting from context. And emperor One Direction fighting it out with general Six Flags did not help the matter at all. I mean, I get it, it was supposed to show a different and strange culture, with (to us) weird customs. But it might have been too weird for my taste - it distracted me from the plot and the action.

However, once I was able to get somewhat immersed, the plot is great and while medium-paced, full of action and consequence. The ending is particularly apt and nicely executed.