Summary: When Shuos Jedao wakes up for the first time, several things go wrong. His few memories tell him that he’s a seventeen-year-old cadet–but his body belongs to a man decades older. Hexarch Nirai Kujen orders Jedao to reconquer the fractured hexarchate on his behalf even though Jedao has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general. Surely a knack for video games doesn’t qualify you to take charge of an army?
Soon Jedao learns the situation is even worse. The Kel soldiers under his command may be compelled to obey him, but they hate him thanks to a massacre he can’t remember committing. Kujen’s friendliness can’t hide the fact that he’s a tyrant. And what’s worse, Jedao and Kujen are being hunted by an enemy who knows more about Jedao and his crimes than he does himself..
The amazing conclusion to The Machineries of the Empire trilogy! Once again, the restraints of spoiler-free are on so this review is going to be rather vague.
The great part about this book is that we get tons of Jedao! As a main character, with his own POV chapters! After two books of characters constantly speculating over Jedao, we finally get a book from his perspective. In that regard, this book definitely lived up to the hype. Reading from Jedao’s perspective and seeing him directly interact with Kujen and other characters was so fascinating. Especially his interactions with Kujen. They have this weird sexual undertone going on basically every time they talk and it felt like anything they said, regardless of situation, could be taken for foreplay.
In terms of plot enjoyment, this book felt like the opposite of Raven Stratagem. With Raven Stratagem, I struggled through the beginning and middle but loved the ending. With this book, I loved the beginning and the middle but the ending was… questionable. Mostly I was screaming at certain characters for the decisions they made. Sure the decisions were in-character, but they were not exactly the interactions I wanted. Beyond that, I just found the ending to be somewhat unsatisfying. It might be because I haven’t read a final book in a series for a long time, but I just wanted more from the characters.
My opinions of the worldbuilding are rather conflicted because of how much was actually explained. For the past two books, I’ve had to piece my way through the world, inferring from the scraps I’m given to make my own picture of the world and tech, filling in the holes with my own imagination. Revenant Gun takes an entirely different approach in actually explaining things While it makes sense given the situation some of the characters find themselves in, as the reader it was weird. It was like watching a movie adaptation finding a small detail was different than your own headcanon.
Overall, I rate this book a 4.5/5. I had minor issues with how the book ended, but everything else was solid. We get much more Jedao, though perhaps at the cost of other characters (more Mikodez please!).
/r/Fantasy Bingo Squares
- Novel Featuring a Non-Western Setting
- Novel Published in 2018
- Novel with Fewer than 2500 Goodreads Ratings (1048 – 15 August 2018)
- Subgenre: Space Opera
- Novel from the /r/fantasy LGBTQ+ Database