• A Desolation Called Peace

  • Teixcalaan, Book 2
  • By: Arkady Martine
  • Narrated by: Amy Landon
  • Length: 17 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,402 ratings)

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A Desolation Called Peace

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

Critic Reviews

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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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a love poem for a threat

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

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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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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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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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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!

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Wow! Thought provoking new ideas.

Not a big fan of first contact Sci Fi or of stories about telepathy or thought sharing. This one was awesome. The first in the series was worth reading, ok, but this one was great. Best first contact story since Speaker for the Dead. Like that one it was about so much more.

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Smart and fun, but just a little too neat

I actually liked this one a bit more than the first novel, as the expected story of political and personal intrigue intersected with a somewhat unusual (hive mind) alien. So she added in “alterity ethics” to the Byzantine mix. That said, many of the circumstances came off a little too trite and pithy. It’s probably a less smooth book than the first one but more interesting to me. But I liked them both and encourage anyone interested in political intrigue space opera-esque novels to give these both a try

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All around great…

Compelling story, powerful concept, engaging characters, satisfying conclusion(s)—and excellent performance. I always listen at 1.25x and it was perfect at that pace.