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Raven Stratagem (2) (The Machineries of Empire) ペーパーバック – 2017/6/13
- 出版社 : Solaris (2017/6/13)
- 発売日 : 2017/6/13
- 言語 : 英語
- ペーパーバック : 400ページ
- ISBN-10 : 1781085374
- ISBN-13 : 978-1781085370
- 寸法 : 12.86 x 2.79 x 19.84 cm
- Amazon 売れ筋ランキング: - 922,661位洋書 (の売れ筋ランキングを見る洋書)
Raven Stratagem is actually a far easier book to read than its predecessor though and that really works in its favour. It's a far more character driven book than Ninefox Gambit, and whilst it does suffer from some of the same issues - a large cast of characters, complex and often similar names and a reliance on maths magic - it is far easier to fall into the story. You see events from three main character perspectives, dipping between the past and the present at times, and it's significantly easier to follow that Ninefox Gambit.
What I really liked about the book though was that I didn't have a clue where it was going until the penultimate chapters. And it wasn't because I didn't understand half of it, which was half the problem with its predecessor. It's just twisty and unexpected in all the right ways. I got attached to the characters and sometimes even thought I knew what was coming next, only to be blown away by what actually transpires. I thought I had a handle on Jedao's personality and possible motivations, only to be proven wrong. I thought I knew what the Shuos leader was up to... and I was proven completely wrong. It's a book full of twists and turns, steering the plot in unexpected directions whilst drilling into the characters.
All in all, it's a pity I didn't get to this book sooner as I actually enjoyed it far more than Ninefox Gambit. Ninefox is clever, don't get me wrong, but it's almost too complex and the author doesn't bother to explain things to mere mortals. Here there's a little more exposition and a lot more character focus and it works brilliantly well.
The Raven Stratagem continues not that long after the first book as Kel Cheris/Jedao arrives at a Kel Swarm in the midst of chasing down heratics and seizes command. The Kel, being indoctronated to follow orders as perfect loyal soldiers nearly all immediately fall under command leaving Cheris/Jedao with an entire swarm. The Hexarcharte tried to kill her, what will she do with it?
Pretty much nothing to be pretty blunt. This book meanders with no real plot is the problem. By the end I don't really feel like a huge amount happened to push the overall story. It suffers from the same issue as the first book where the calendrical system (appears to be that working out a calender by math somehow changes the physics of the universe?) is the keystone of everything that happens yet it's barely explained in two books. It's practically magic based which in a sci-fi is a real crux in my opinion. I'm just not a fan of his writing style, i'm all for letting the reader fill in the blanks when reading but there is just far too much of that, the universe it's set in has very little exposition as do many of the characters which outside one or two feel like throw away fillers. It's weird as I feel the book focused on too many unimportant aspects yet still explained very little which is one hell of a talent.
As afore mentioned though, I enjoyed reading it anyway. I still like the Cheris/Jedao set up and the way she is written in this book, often from other peoples perspectives was a really nice touch. There are some really interesting revelations as well towards the end of the book but it just took far too long to get there.
+ Some clever moments.
+ Cheris/Jedao are still great.
+ Universe has some great ideas...
-....that are barely explained or hand waved away.
- Too many characters are simply filler.
- Story takes too long to get anywhere.
Cheris is presumed dead, her body inhabited by the undead general, Jedao. He’s apparently after a new enemy, the Hafn, and hijacks an entire swarm in order to go after them.
Khiruev was the highest in command until Jedao came along. After attempting to thwart the madman, she accepts her fate and starts to feel loyalty towards Jedao. Khiruev was a strong character: she risks everything to try and stop the threat, then risks everything to help. If you want a woman on your side, Khiruev is the one: she certainly commits to the cause.
Not everyone is controlled by form formation though. Brezan resists and tries to stop Jedao. He’s both kicked out from the swarm and promoted far beyond his comfort in order to stop Jedao. Brezan felt the most human to me: he is deeply uncomfortable with the situation and determined to make things right.
Mikodez was my favourite. He’s a politician (for lack of a better way of describing him) but you seem him love and loss, function the way an over-worked politician would and have a sense of humour. You experience Mikodez’ emotions, especially when the stakes are high.
It was towards the end when an event reveals how human Mikodez’ emotions are that made me realise that’s lacking from the other characters: their Kel instinct means you never truly know what they are feeling. It’s why connecting with them was challenging.
I made a big mistake with the second book: I left it too long after reading the first to remember the intricacies of how this world worked. It meant that I spent a good chunk of the first half of Raven’s Stratagem wondering what on earth (or not, as the point might be) was going on.
That meant the second half was stronger as I felt the stories were coming together, the characters interacting and the pace picking up. I understood what was going on, who was where and whose loyalty belonged to who.
During the first half, however, the story felt fragmented: there was different story arcs taking place as the characters developed, but I couldn’t connect them as a whole; I didn’t have the sense of the full story.
This is a really hard review to write because I was lost for quite a lot of the book. When the stories started entwining, however, I really enjoyed it. Part of me guessed the twist, but I wasn’t certain; it wasn’t a surprise, but I wouldn’t have put money on it happening either.
The characters grow on you, despite the lack of emotions, and there is so much going on that you do get absorbed. I’d say the pace and tension felt quite low for the first half, but then pick up nicely in the second half.
My only suggestion would be make sure you read the series close together.
Why so modest a rating, then? Well, this reviewer found it a little slow. Readers of a less impatient temperament may actually appreciate that aspect and shouldn't be put off. Sample recommended.