Series Review: Machineries of Empire by Yoon Ha Lee

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When I set out to catalog my library, I couldn’t wait to write this series’ review. This series is unlike anything you’ve ever read. It’s 100% sci-fi but the technology almost seems magical in its military applications, yet is described mathematically. The effect is a rich world, deeply imagined, and well executed. 

The story arc is intensely character-driven, and developed from the beginning with the end in mind—in other words, it all ties in neatly throughout the book. But yet, it’s not laid out directly on a straight path from past to present to future. The plot twists and turns, the timelines shift, and the perspective changes. The series is deeply engaging. 

Be warned, it’s not entry-level sci-fi. For that, I recommend 2001 Space Odyssey, Ender’s Game, or Ready Player One.  This series is for the sci-fi nerd looking for something that pushes the boundaries, breaks the norm, and yet is still interesting and engrossing.


Genre: Sci-Fi
Series: Machineries of Empire | Subjects: Rich’s Reco’s, Series Review
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Revenant Gun audiobook cover

Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee

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Go deeper into the Machineries of Empire saga to uncover Jedao’s real goals and how he plans to achieve them. Or is it really Jedao? I love the conclusion to this series. All the crazy technology, the fractured memories, and the hidden agendas come into play in the final book. After finishing the series, I immediately started listening to it again. Like the second book, it’s a character-driven plot with lots of twists that you’re trying to figure out along the way. I won’t say any more… enjoy it for yourself!


Genre: Sci-Fi
Series: Machineries of Empire |
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Raven Stratagem audiobook cover

Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee

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Book two of Machineries of Empire is every bit as intriguing as book one, but this novel is even more focused on the characters than the first. The mathematics of the battles plays less of a role, and instead Lee focuses on building the universe, delving deeper into key characters in the hexarchate, and creating more of a space opera than a space military battle novel. With far more interpersonal intrigue, the characters come alive, and the plot still has great twists making for a great read. It’s definitely worth continuing on with the series.


Genre: Sci-Fi
Series: Machineries of Empire |
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Ninefox Gambit audiobook cover

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

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You’ve never read anything like the books in this series. Though distinctly sci-fi with most of the action taking place on space ships and space stations, the technology seems more magical than sci-fi. Imagine a world where the effectiveness of offensive weapons and defensive shields are based on two things: 1. the religious observances the population 2. the formations of military units. The “mathematical” interaction of the two determines what effect each formation has on offense or defense. It’s wild.

But like any great story, the real power is in the characters. The main characters are compelling and complex. The plot moves forward, revealing more backstory with each turn. It moves fast and kept me engaged from the very beginning.

Due to its unique “technology” system, Ninefox Gambit and the rest of the series are not entry-level sci-fi. I don’t recommend it to people who are looking to get a taste for sci-fi, but I do heartily recommend it to fellow sci-fi nerds looking for something new.


Genre: Sci-Fi
Series: Machineries of Empire |
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