So the last up of the Hugo nominees is Yoon Ha Lee’s Raven Strategem and Revenant Gun. I mean, technically, it’s just Revenant Gun, but it’s not like I’m going to read the first novel in a series and then the third, without reading the second.
So I’m super-glad this was on the list, because when I read Ninefox Gambit, I respected it, but didn’t really enjoy it that much—it was just too distant from its characters, a well-executed novel full of brilliant ideas, but one which I could never really connect to. And so I always kinda meant to go on and read the sequels, but it’s hard to get myself psyched up for something that’s going to feel like work.
But in fact, these books are not only good, they’re fun. That’s maybe a weird word to use when they’re about interstellar wars and mass murderers and genocides and what-not, but—and I’m not sure if this is really the book or just me finally leaning in to the setting—the protagonists seem more human this time around, with little quirks and light banter and some positive relationships. The distant reserve that I felt from the first book is entirely thawed out in these two. And then all the positive stuff of the first book is still here—the unique worldbuilding, the political intrigue, the questions about the nature of a good society—just leavened with a dose of humanity.
Good stuff, and I won’t wait for Hugo nominations to read more of Lee’s work.