Ninefox Gambit

, #1

317 pages

English language

Published Oct. 29, 2016

Copied ISBN!

View on OpenLibrary

View on Inventaire

4 stars (2 reviews)

Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris's career isn't the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next. Cheris's best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress. The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao--because she might be his next victim.

3 editions

reviewed Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (The Machineries of Empire, #1)

Interesting concepts, and good execution

4 stars

This is the kind of book that really gets into worldbuilding, especially in the earlier parts. The reader is introduced to all sorts of weird concepts in the universe, and even if the earlier introductions feel like a bit of a dump, they are smooth—the setting is inventive with its space magic empire, but shows that it is a space magic empire from the get go. The overall concept of the book's universe is, by itself, also captivating.

There are ways to do vast, dystopian interstellar empires well, and there are ways to do them badly. Fortunately, Ninefox Gambit does them well. The story is pretty dark, and the setting is grim, but it doesn't feel gratuitous. Horrible things do happen to characters, but they happen to characters, instead of merely as an arbitrary background violence that punctuates the point. The story feels like it is, appropriately enough, about …

reviewed Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (The Machineries of Empire, #1)

A good book in a great series

4 stars

I had no idea what to expect when I went into Ninefox Gambit, and it was extraordinarily confusing for the first... 100 pages or so. The book begins in media res during a big future/magic infantry battle except the magic might be high-level mathematics? In the first 20 pages alone are going to be puzzling your way through deliberately alien concepts like "calendrical rot" and "linearizable force multiplier formations" and "threshold winnowers". These aren't presented a friendly, "here's a new word, we will explain it now, or at least provide some context way." They are presented as things everyone takes for granted, and if you're lucky, in the next 20 or 50 pages you will gather enough contextual knowledge to piece together what they actually mean in the world of the book.

That could all be a really bad thing, but ultimately it ended up being kind of like a …