Book Review

NINEFOX GAMBIT by Yoon Ha Lee

Rating: 2.5 / 5

NINEFOX GAMBIT by Yoon Ha Lee was the May book pick for the Deep Dark Reads buddy read on Instagram. I knew nothing of this one going in apart from it being an award winner.

NINEFOX GAMBIT is the first book in the The Machineries of Empire series. This is a space opera following Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate, battling against the heretics. In order to succeed she must connect with the undead Shuos Jedao, a famous tactician who has had great success in the past, but is maybe best known for having gone crazy and killed his own people.

So… if that is kind of a crummy synopsis that is with good reason. I finished the book and had no real clue exactly what all I just read! I’m afraid this one was not a good fit for me. There were bits I enjoyed like the connection between Cheris and Jedao, but the larger world building portion left me feeling constantly behind.

The battles and maneuvers in this book are largely math based, but not the typical math we might think of. They must calculate, but there are also elements of faith involved. The calculations, formations, calendars, etc. left me struggling to figure out what things really looked like. I think I just got hung up on trying to figure things out so that I felt constantly two (or more) steps behind what I was currently reading.

There are a ton of glowing reviews on Goodreads, so certainly do check those out as well since it may be that I was just a bad fit for the book! Regardless, I am glad to have tried something a bit different even if it didn’t entirely work for me.

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