I am a huge fan of the Machineries of Empire series, which apparently I haven’t reviewed here and that’s a terrible oversight. So I was very excited to finally get this, and dive into the back story of the empire in general and Jedao specifically, and Cheris too. Many of the stories are quite short snippets, which I found intriguing, and they definitely add to the overall character development.
And then I got to “Glass Cannon”, at the end. And then I realised that it was basically a continuation of the final novel. So then I had to stop, about 5 pages in, and go back to the start… so I’ve read the whole trilogy again in the last week. And it’s still amazing and breathtaking and heartwrenching.
(Massive spoilers below…)
One thing I found interesting was how much more aware of the servitors I was, on this re-read (third time read for Ninefox Gambit and Raven Stratagem, I think, second for Revenant Gun). In my head it seemed like they really started being a big deal in the second book and then came most into their own in the third, but that’s not true – they’re there right from the start. Have to admit that Hemiola is still a big favourite, mostly because of the idea that it would be creating fan videos and mash-ups of its dramas (which Murderbot would never do but would probably appreciate).
I was also more aware of the pain and distress of Jedao, which was still balanced exquisitely and terrifyingly with the fact that he was a monster. For Lee to have written such a character is masterful.
Cheris was, and remains, somewhat opaque to me. Not in a bad way: I don’t feel like I fully understand why she went Jedao when it was a choice, and I don’t think I fully appreciate whether or not that actually was a choice. I still find her an utterly absorbing and fascinating person.
I know I noticed it the first time, but I appreciated the natural diversity of this world once again. Men, women, alts, cis and trans, multiple examples of sexuality, many different coloured skins, variations on how to do family… it never feels artificial and it never feels forced. It’s an empire of humans, and they’re all represented, along with some prejudices as well.
So I was very happy to have been egged on to re-reading the trilogy. And then I went back to “Glass Cannon”… and what a trip that is. Messing with Jedao and Cheris and, for good measure, the entirety of the old hexarchate.
I adore everything of Yoon Ha Lee’s I have ever read.