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Ninefox Gambit

Tekijä: Yoon Ha Lee

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

Sarjat: The Machineries of Empire (1)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,5877611,258 (3.86)112
Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris's career isn't the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next. Cheris's best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress. The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao--because she might be his next victim.… (lisätietoja)
  1. 40
    Pelaaja (tekijä: Iain M. Banks) (kaydern)
    kaydern: High sci-fi with excellently complex worldbuilding.
  2. 40
    A Memory Called Empire (tekijä: Arkady Martine) (g33kgrrl)
  3. 30
    Ancillary Justice (tekijä: Ann Leckie) (souloftherose)
  4. 10
    Babel-17 (tekijä: Samuel R. Delany) (amanda4242)
  5. 10
    The Traitor Baru Cormorant (tekijä: Seth Dickinson) (souloftherose)
  6. 00
    Promise of Blood (tekijä: Brian McClellan) (alspachc)
    alspachc: Very different settings, yes, but both on the line of tech & magic, both high-level military & politics focused, both in very dark worlds with good protagonists working to make them better. Somehow, these have a very similar *feel*. 'Ninefox' has more character & emotional focus, but both have excellent characterization. 'Blood' is a little darker.… (lisätietoja)
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» Katso myös 112 mainintaa

Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 76) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
3.5*. Had trouble reading this due to being incredibly gory and authoritarian, and thus pretty depressing! I will probably read the next one when I'm in a better frame of mind for it.

Lee is great at naming things. Battleships called the Sincere Greeting, Higher Higher Highest, and Coiled Stone? Yes. I was also really impressed and excited by the use of math---proofs, axioms, search-spaces, etc---as the 'rules' of the universe and the science and the weapons that do horrible things to human bodies. ( )
  caedocyon | Feb 21, 2024 |
I had this one on a TBR list for a while now. Even from the cover illustration it is visible this is SF that aims for some concepts that are more out-of-this-world than usual and for this I need to be little bit more focused. And so, since I needed to read some SF, I decided to pick this one up and see how it goes.

And what a book. First I would say that this is one of those books where it is a merit not to know about the author (something I truly try these days to maintain as rule number one, because I am interested in books not in lives and life decision of authors). Same as for Star Wars Ronin any additional information on the author would have a negative effect. Which would be a shame since this book (and Ronin mind you) are very interesting and unique SF stories.

So, the story...... Now, in general my opinion on the story is divided on action and character interaction aspect of it.

Lets start with action. If anyone understands what is going on in action scenes (and have read just this book, nothing else in the series) I call it bollocks. All action scenes are akin to crossover of starship troopers and Hogwarths - people are dying all around, explosions show up, some weird energy weapons do terrible amount of damage, shield technology is also present, but in general everybody uses belief to fight (yup, belief) and explanation how things work is completely unavailable. This is such an enigma that .... I do not know, lets say it is weirdest setting I came across so far. Entire setting is based on strict control of pretty segregated, cast based society where entire technology is based on calendar mathematics (yup, you read that right). Basically due to the overwhelming belief discipline enforced on the society so called calendar mathematics (using the numerical theory) is the tool for development of various technology marvel. And this mathematics is weird, with fantastic effects on both space and time. Downside is that it can be affected by loss of belief in official calendar (yup, you read that right) and this is where non-calendar based weapons come in (called exotics :D) and these are as deadly as calendar based ones, although rare.

This belief system is so predominant that all military efficiency is lost if people go through what is called Doctrine correction - reason being that they become hollowed out and thus lose capability to use this belief system to fight effectively (I guess message here is that you can force people to believe into something but they will always know something is wrong in the venerated object or society).

It says a lot about the author when above technological aspect is used, nobody can figure out how it works, but in overall it does not stifle the book. As a matter of fact even when you go through land and space combat (an try figuring out what is moth ship?) even while totally unaware of how things work, incredibly everything works out just fine. Truly. You might not believe me but author's style is great, making very strange and unbelievable things play out in readers mind's eye like scenes from Star Wars.

That being said , the main, juicy part of the book are characters. Kel Cheris (Kel meaning armed forces caste) is asked in a think tank working on a solution for hijacking of important space station what would be her solution. She says I would activate Shuos (spies/assassins/troubleshooter caste) Jedao to solve the problem. Now, this Shuos Jedao is general several centuries old, that gets unfrozen and activated (merged (?) with the living person) when situation is dire. And he is good at what he does - never lost a fight although whether he is good in the head is question that puzzles many. And this is part where we find out that not every caste is happy with him - Kel's are keeping him as secret weapon but rest of the castes would be equally good with him being blown up, or, you know, run-over while crossing the street. And there are six (or maybe seven? ;)) castes [each dedicated to military, spying, philosophy, technology etc] and they are more in conflict than it might be assumed through all all-is-good public relations campaign.

Interaction between Cheris and Jedao and rest of high command and troops on the ground is what makes this a truly excellent book. Soon secrets will come out that will change Cheris' opinion on Jedao, but road to these revelations will be a bloody one (and I mean bloody, Event Horizon style). I wont go into details because it would be spoiling the story but Count Monte Cristo would not show this level of ruthlessness. We are talking about a completely different level of not caring how goals are achieved.

All in all, excellent book. Author's style is great, truly gets you immersed (those weird emails that are scattered throughout the chapters are hilarious) and book ends on a high note (truly wonderful cliffhanger). I am now definitely on a lookout for other books in the trilogy.

Highly recommended. ( )
  Zare | Jan 23, 2024 |
I don't have the brain to do this justice right now and everyone has said everything I could say with more eloquence, so I will probably come back to this at some point. But for now, I have so very many feelings about this book and how it has given me some perspective on my capacity to process and engage with certain things (due to my chronic conditions, severe ADHD, and listening to audiobooks, while playing Elden Ring as a way to keep my head above a protracted depressive episode), and how it's sometimes possible for me to have a personal and extremely subjective rating of a book, which I might end up rating differently because of its obvious quality and my experience of it being dictated by personal biases.

All that to say, I enjoyed this book and was blown away by the concepts, characters, and just how rich and realised everything and everyone was. It took me a long time to hooked on the main character and grounded in the detailed universe, and I just have to be honest that, as much as I love fantasy and sci-fi, the military and tactics of it all isn't my cup of tea. This and my own capacity issues meant that I struggled and was lost, which is very much on me, but the prose and inspiration always carried me through. Once the character dynamics became clear and continued to deepen I was absolutely hooked.

For the first half of the book I was feeling like this was a 3/5 for me, but a 4/5 actually, and ended up enjoying it so much the scores aligned. Honestly, this could be 5/5 and I'm just not the best person for this novel. I do plan to check out at least the next book in the series in the future and thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys military and hard sci-fi.

The narration of the audiobook was really good. The voices and emotions were really effective. The only issue I had was the hard transition from character voice to abrupt and breaking the flow "they said". It's really jarring, but thankfully the author is great and there is very little repetition of that. This is something of a bugbear of mine.

So yeah, my brain is mush and this book is better then me. ( )
  RatGrrrl | Dec 20, 2023 |
A reread for my book club

Ninefox Gambit isn’t really sci-fi, it’s a math magic fantasy in a space opera setting. The premise of this universe is that if everyone uses and believes in the same systems, math magic happens and you can do weird things with physics etc. If someone were to use the wrong equations/calendar, everything starts to unravel. I can imagine how hard some people might bounce off all that. Besides, the first chapters hit the reader with lots of world building words to figure out. I liked the process on the first read, but this time around it was kind of nice to not have to go through the mindfuck stage ;) and just focus on the plot and the characters.

I liked following Cheris.
“In a way each battle was home: a wretched home, where small mistakes were punished and great virtues went unnoticed, but a home nonetheless.”
She adjusts rather nicely to having an undead general in her head. Jedao’s voice is great. Their relationship and the mind games Jedao plays are the best part of the book. I flew through it the first time, and now I realized that I wanted a lot more Cheris and Jedao and a lot less battle carnage. It’s very graphic and hit me hard.

The Hexarchate is a horrific place – with a totalitarian regime, ritual tortures and brainwashing. It becomes somewhat more bearable to read about the hexarch bastards when the wry humour makes an appearance: “He was as susceptible as the next Shuos to thinking up ways to assassinate people with unlikely objects.”

This novel is really about whether becoming a monster is worth if it if you want to bring a monstrous society down…

I have questions about some of the plot points I missed on the first read, so I am not as head over heels any more. (This will make for a nice book club discussion, anyway.) But in this case it is a matter of adjusting the rating from 4.5 to 4.0 stars. I did think that the rest of the trilogy was better than the first book, so I am curious to see what I will think of the reread – because I am rereading the rest, obviously. Hopefully, it will be this year.. ahem. ( )
  Alexandra_book_life | Dec 15, 2023 |
First in the Machineries of Empire series, Ninefox Gambit tells the story of Kel Cheris, a captain in the hexarchate who has been disgraced for “heretical tactics” during a battle. Knowing that there is a price that must be paid for going against her superiors, Cheris is prepared to accept the inevitable – but what she receives is not what she expected. Instead of punishment, she is given an incredibly prestigious assignment: to take back the impenetrable Fortress of Scattered Needles, which has recently fallen under heretic control. However, this is a big operation, and it is clear that Cheris cannot do this alone. So she is given a partner in the form of Shuos Jedao: a brilliant tactician famous for never having lost a battle, but notorious as a madman who massacred an opposing army – and his own. And as the siege wears on and they spend more time together, Cheris begins to wonder if all that she knows about Jedao is actually true – and if such questions are not a sign of her own, impending madness.

That’s the pitch. However, you have to be ready for the hard drop into deeply alien territory.
What I have come to find is you really have to be in the right frame of mind to read this one. Because Yoon Ha Lee does not hold your hand.

Ninefox Gambit takes place in a complicated and well-thought-out world (although it is slightly confusing at first), where calendars, religion and formations combine to produce magic-like effects used in warfare (and factions battle it out in living space ships). Math is a part of the world, but you are not going to be hit with equations (don't think too hard about it or it will make your head hurt). Instead, you are shown an unfolding and highly political world of different factions (think the houses of Dune), where religion is enforced to create military superiority, and the 'grunts' of the military have an enforced group-mind.
The main characters Cheris and Jedao are brilliantly imagined characters and really, although Ninefox Gambit is full of space battles, strange numerology, living space ships, etc. it's the character interaction between these two characters that make this book really shine and provides food for thought regarding identity, gender issues, and conformity.


In Ninefox, Lee is playing with the idea of consensus reality — of a techno-political system that relies on rigid belief in order to function. Which, more specifically, requires near-religious (actually super-religious) adherence to a calendar: A numerical system which can be manipulated to alter reality. Our main character, Cheris is paired up with Jedao to destroy the heretics - the ones who don’t adhere to the hexarchte calendar. Yet, this very pairing leads Cheris to question her own belief system and revolt. And in the end:

“[Cheris] had learned that not all masters were worth serving.”

Cheris, by the end of the novel, can’t agree with the consensus reality. And it’s their break with such a reality that catapults us into book two of the series, which I can’t wait to read.
A brilliantly realized, fresh, take on military space opera. Both human and utterly alien.

A book worth revisiting.
( )
1 ääni ryantlaferney87 | Dec 8, 2023 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 76) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Nevertheless, Cheris is still rich enough, as she stands, to make the whole book work. She lands in the middle of an elaborate and incomprehensible plan and figures out a way through it that is uniquely her own, and that speaks to what matters to her. This isn't unlike what the reader of Ninefox Gambit has to do. "You know what's going on, right?" Ninefox Gambit asks. Often, you have to say, "Uh, yeah, of course," when the real answer is "I have no idea, but I really, really care." And then you keep reading.
 
Lee knows that if the fate of the world is at stake, the reader has to care about that world, so he uses language as a way to reveal a beauty that can be found even in the depths of an interstellar war. He builds more in a couple of sentences than some authors manage in entire novels, and beautifully.
lisäsi g33kgrrl | muokkaaTor.com, Aidan Moher (Jun 15, 2016)
 
Ninefox Gambit Is a Space Opera to Tax Your Brain and Ignite Your Imagination
 

» Lisää muita tekijöitä (1 mahdollinen)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Yoon Ha Leeensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetlaskettu
Moore, ChrisKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Zeller, Emily WooKertojamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu

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Omistuskirjoitus
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
This one is for Yune Kyung Lee, best sister ever, who was there when everything began.
Ensimmäiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
At Kel Academy, an instructor had explained to Cheris's class that the threshold winnower was a weapon of last resort, and not just for its notorious connotations.
Sitaatit
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
The point of war is to rig the deck, drug the opponent, and threaten to kneecap their family if they don't fold.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris's career isn't the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next. Cheris's best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress. The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao--because she might be his next victim.

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