Cover of Ninefox Gambit.

Ninefox Gambit

author: Yoon Ha Lee (2016)
series: The Machineries of Empire #1
date read: 2019-03-31
pages: 384
lists: scifi
rating: β˜… β˜… β˜… β˜† β˜†

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee was a lot of fun, but at the same time frustrating. It’s high fantasy in space, and comes with all the usually frustrating parts of high fantasy (minus the racism).

The writing, pacing, and characters are very well done, but the worldbuilding … it’s frustrating how much potential it has. With some work, this could have been a book opening up a great universe, but it felt like the author cut short all the worldbuilding work they should have done on their end, and instead substituted “what I say goes” rules for an inner logic in that world, making decisions and outcomes feel random. I like being dropped in a weird and unfamiliar world, having to figure things out on my own – but I get grumpy if it turns out that there’s nothing to figure out, because the author makes up the rules as the action goes along.

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