Jun 232017

B&N SFF Review: Yoon Ha Lee blew up like a supernova last year with the release of his debut novel, Ninefox Gambit, earning a double fistful of award nominations (among them the Hugo, Nebula, and Clarke awards) for a brainy, intricate space opera as much about identity, the politics of empire, and grief, as it is about flashy space battles and a revolution within a mathematically constructed super-empire known as the Hexarchate.

Lee’s ability to balance high science fiction concepts­, worlds, cultures, and weapons­-with a deep examination of character-tragic flaws, noble purpose, and societal ideas ­is nigh unprecedented in space opera.

Raven Stratagem more than lives up to the promise of its predecessor, continuing the intriguing double-sided story of Shuos Jedao, the enigmatic tactician reborn and looking to make things right once and for all. It is a challenging read, but it’s not all philosophizing and waxing poetically about scattering of stars in the Hexarchate. There’s a ton of action, and when it hits, it hits hard. There’s literally a climactic battle in which two space fleets just throw math at each other, and it’s spectacular. Only a mad genius could pull off that maneuver in style­ and that madman’s name is Yoon Ha Lee.