Review: A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine

Rating: 5 out of 5

I’m definitely one to love a good sci-fi! In this thrilling story, the reader follows the adventures of a new ambassador (so what happened to the old one, eh? 🙂 ) in a changing centre of a galactic empire. There is a delightful Central American cultural lean in this empire, making good use of an underutilised opportunity.

I found the book’s wish to stay with one character over jumping backwards and forwards a good change from much of recent sci-fi and fantasy. It was a pleasure to follow Mahit Dzmare across the world of political intrigues that awaited her; especially when one would always know that there is something more to the action than is immediately apparent. This means that the reader is kept guessing and thinking along — probably a good thing and keeps one on the edge!

There are also interesting concepts at play with regards to the clash of cultures of the main character’s homeworld and the empire she is sent into. I’ve also seen parallels being drawn between the empire and Eastern Rome but this did not seem as apt to me as it possibly is — or, perhaps, it is that I am thinking of Rome in the wrong time. Either way, there are some historical comparisons that can be drawn and if the character of Bel Riose in ‘Foundation’ appealed, I’m sure this book will feel very enjoyable as well!

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