A Desolation Called Peace – Arkady Martine

Readers who have loved the first book will probably love this one as much. But for readers like me, who had like it a lot but not really loved it… I wonder.

In a way the story was satisfying, as we get to follow the same characters as in the first book. But it would have been more satisfying if I had felt any attachment to them to begin with; alas, I hadn’t, and it hadn’t.

The second negative point is that I found the story really hard to follow, with a very chaotic rhythm.

To be honest I frequently wondered if I’d be able to finish the book. The only things that made me go on was that it was a Netgalley read, and I don’t like to give up those, and the promise of aliens’ psychology. (The exposition of this last one was good, if rather meagre, after all that wait along the book!)

I’m not sorry to have finish the book, but I wonder if my wobbling reading was due to the fact that I wasn’t in love with the Teixcalaan world and its characters, or because of the writing. The author chose to unfold the story with different points of view, and if the whole was linear and theoretically easy to follow, the writing technique made it nearly insufferably boring to go on. This way of finishing so many parts with cliff-hangers didn’t make me more exciting about reading on, but annoyed me. What made it worse was the rambling and digressing writing. I get that the reader is supposed to be immersed in each character’s thoughts, and that rambling and digressing is perfectly representative of how someone thinks, but for the reader I am, it was painful to read. And most of the time, not very interesting.

All in all, a good read, I liked the story but not the efforts I had to make to make my way through it, and I doubt that I’ll be reading the next sequel. The best reads, in my point of view, are the ones you dive in merrily and swim happily till the end, with little efforts and plenty of satisfaction!  

(I thank Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)

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