Review: Raven Stratagem, Yoon Ha Lee

Rating: 5 out of 5

It was, again, my plan to review this before starting the third book of the trilogy. As it happens, I finished the third book yesterday so this did not go as planned. However, that also allows me some extra leverage in thinking about this book. The most important part of the extra knowledge is that I can safely say that this is my favourite book in the trilogy.

That is mostly as this book is more uncertain — what’s going to happen and how… There are plenty of opportunities for the actions to go any which way, and though readers always suspect that ‘good endings’ will come to pass, it is difficult to see what that means in this case. Therefore, it was very interesting to see how Jedao’s plan worked and what moves/countermoves were possible by the various players. My favourite character was Mikodez as it was a pleasure to see his thoughts and how others thought of his actions — how much of calculation went into projecting an image of not thinking anything through.

Lastly, I am not sure how good a re-read of this volume will be. So much of the wonderful effect came about due to the author continuously reinforcing some preconceptions. Perhaps it won’t work as well the second time round or perhaps the knowledge of what’s going to happen will make it even more enjoyable. Either way, it is definitely worth a try!

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