I’ve been thinking about reading this series ever since I was suggested it by Brian from Books of Brian and read his review of the last book in the series. I’m 99.7% sure that he’s no longer active, but that doesn’t mean I forgot about his suggestion or post.
Author: Yoon Ha Lee
I got this one from my library because I went seeking another book, then saw these and was like, “Heh, now I don’t have to buy them. Suckers.” You can read my other reviews of Ninefox Gambit and Raven Stratagem on the links given. This review will contain spoilers for the earlier books in the trilogy.
Just like the rest of the books in the series, this book was just perfectly ok. It’s very out-there, and it’s not even really sci-fi. It’s fantasy in space. *spoiler for previous books* The previous books set up this world such that the government is fractured, so there’s still a lot of room left to play with here. It’s important to note that Jedao died in the first book, but Cheris ate his memories and sort of became Jedao in the second book.
In this book, characters like Kujen and Inesser become important. They were mentioned a few times before in earlier books, but Kujen’s shadowy evil finally takes center stage as the Jedaos (yes, multiple) combat him. Inesser finally shows up, but she suffers viciously from the “Worf Effect” wherein she’s supposed to be strong for the sake of showing a villain being stronger. Inesser is there simply to show that the newer Jedao is still a Mary Sue, unbeatable character, and that just made her so useless to me. Oh, and that newer Jedao? He’s an unkillable, immortal spaceship/human/alien with every single skill you could ever want. He’s a creation of Kujen and he makes literally no sense to me from a character creation perspective.
I also never really understood why Jedao had to go along with Kujen’s orders. He didn’t have the Kel formation instinct, so he wasn’t biologically bidden to do Kujen’s will except that Kujen could have him knocked out if he didn’t. He was immortal and pretty much all-powerful. Jedao had nothing to fight for, no reason to live, and was pretty much suicidal, so I didn’t see why he worked with Kujen at all.
The character I’ve liked throughout the book, Ajewen Cheris, barely shows up in this one, and even then it’s the Jedao in her head that’s important. The multiple Jedaos thing really got to me, and I didn’t like it at all. Cheris has never been as compelling ever since she ate Jedao’s memories, but she was still my favorite character because her adventure was the most fun.
Despite all my complaints, the book was still somehow fun to read most of the time. It was alright, I guess.
3/5 Discoball Snowcones
This book is literally about a bunch of overpowered people flying around in spaceships/aliens trying to kill Kujen, who everyone hates. Even the people who work for Kujen hate him. They make up a bunch of excuses as to why they can’t kill him, most of it due to the Kel inability to disobey orders, and the rest of it to do with the bullshit magic system that isn’t well explained at all. It still feels like an anime where the armies “HAVEN’T EVEN USED THEIR FINAL FORMS!” until Kujen finally bites the dust.
And, the entire time, Jedao is just this absolute teenager’s hero. There’s nothing wrong with him except his ‘craziness,’ which isn’t even clearly insanity. It seems like he gets depressed and makes everything harder for himself, but that’s about it. Cheris as Jedao makes a little more sense because she really cares for people and the servitors, but even she seems like this weird, senselessly powerful thing that can’t be beaten.
After reading all three books, the only thing I’ve learned about battle strategy in this universe is “Jedao can’t be beaten and there’s no use trying.” That’s it. If Jedao is leading you, you’re invincible (at least as far as groups go). There is no point to this. Kujen never had a chance, not once Jedao decided he had to go.
I’m just glad this is done and I don’t care what’s coming next, to be honest.