July 4, 2019

Review: Hexarchate Stories

Hexarchate Stories Hexarchate Stories by Yoon Ha Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yoon Ha Lee is the author of the Machineries of Empire trilogy, a far-flung space opera where the technology might as well be (and might be) magic. His books are some of my favorites of the past few years. This story collection fleshes out the world and our two main characters, Shuos Jedao and Kel Cheris.

I would say this book is definitely for those already familiar with the previous novels--I think it would be very hard to dive into this uninitiated. (Anyway, the trilogy is excellent and y'all should be reading it already.) A lot of these stories are short flash pieces from the author's blog, and while the quality of these may be a bit uneven, the Author's Notes justify their inclusion here. The two reprints, "Extracurricular Activities" and "The Battle of Candle Arc," are essential for understanding the hexarchate universe.

The crown jewel of this collection, which alone makes it worth the price of admission, is the closing brand-new novella, "Glass Cannon." Taking up the story of Jedao and Cheris two years after the trilogy's final book, Revenant Gun, this deals with the revelations of that book in particular and the themes of the series as a whole, as well as lobbing a strategically placed bomb into the status quo. I don't know if Yoon Ha Lee intends to write more novels in this universe, but this would provide a terrific jumping-off point.

In sum: This is a very good collection, well worth your money. If it leads to picking up the Machineries of Empire trilogy (and it should), so much the better.

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