Book review · novel

Book review: Revenant Gun

Revenant Gun (Machineries of Empire #3), by Yoon Ha Lee

Please note that this is a sequel and you might get spoiled if you keep reading further and haven’t read the first book yet. My review for the first book, Ninefox Gambit, can be found here and here for Raven Stratagem, the second book. 

revenant gunDescription: (from Rebellion)

Shuos Jedao is awake.
… and nothing is as he remembers. In his mind he’s a teenager, a cadet—a nobody. But he finds himself in the body of an old man, a general controlling the elite forces of the hexarchate, and the most feared—and reviled—man in the galaxy.
Jedao carries orders from Hexarch Nirai Kujen to re-conquer the fractured pieces of the hexarchate on his behalf. But he has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general, and the Kel soldiers under his command hate him for 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

Expected publication: June 12th 2018.
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Some things might change in the final copy.

My brain is yelling with pleasure at such an elaborate world-building, intricate schemes and superbly complex whole trilogy. The Machineries of Empire is a work of art, a masterfully written military science-fiction trilogy, so good that I get a state of glassy eyes when I start thinking about the awesomeness of it all.

From the first word of this novel, “Jedao”, I stopped breathing because yes YES finally we get to observe him being his own person, though, as much as he can. I had already read a short story featuring him while in the academy but it is different here because it’s in the present mess of things.

“No one shot Jedao in the back on the way out, always a plus.”

I loved to find Cheris again as well, even if she’s not really the same Cheris from Ninefox Gambit, her quest and empathy towards the servitors such a nice touch. I wish there’d been more of her, while I can find no fault to this book I do felt a little bit disappointed about the absence of her point of view, even if looking at the whole of it I understand why but still. I also wished for a team-up of some sort that didn’t happen but ha well, Revenant Gun still managed to impress and blow me away without it!

We find again most of the characters from the previous novel, nine years after Raven Strategem. It was a bit surprising at first but I got used to it pretty quickly. After all, these books are a go-with-the-flow kind of stories, where not understanding all of it at 100% is the norm. Still, by this third book I felt like I understood better the heresy, the calendar, the math and everything, which makes me excited for a re-read!

This book dealt a lot with the technology behind the ships, as well as the one behind the longevity of some characters. AND there were chapters from a servitor’s perspective, which might have been my favourites parts.
We also learn a lot more about Kujen, basically the villain in the shadows in the previous books but almost front and center this time around.

The Machineries of Empire is a masterpiece of violence, magic-math-science, devious and lovable characters. While it’s very dark and heart-wrenching at times, it’s still full of hope and characters trying to make it right, aware that the world can be changed, counting on lots of sacrifices and plotting.

This whole “the system is bad and we need to change it, also gender and bodies are seen in a whole new way in this far future galaxy and robots are good” reminded me of The Imperial Radch by Ann Leckie in a very good way as well, and Cheris and Hemiola’s love of tv drama reminded me of Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries ❤

“The girl was scrubbing at her face. Oh, no, she was crying. Crying was something it had only seen humans do in dramas, and in dramas they did it much more prettily, at dramatic moments, with swelling music in the background.”

Other stuff:

  • a kitten is named Jedao because of course
  • trippy and horrific technology
  • many “OMG” moments
  • staring in the distance when finished because this was B R I L L I A N T
  • many other things but I don’t want to spoil it!!
  • I hear there’s going to be a short fiction collection and you bet I’ll be there for it!


Content warning: suicidal ideations, suicide, death, torture, dubious consent, brainwashing, mind control, forced sterility, mention of genocide, mention of child prostitution


3 thoughts on “Book review: Revenant Gun

  1. Great review! ❤ And YES to more Jedao! He's honestly one of my favourite side/main characters in scifi. Question: if a person has a kind of a terrible memory (especially when it comes to fictional names) and if it's been ages since they've read the previous two books, is a reread required or is it okay to just dive into this one?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HE IS! the best. I remember the first book being such a roller coster of contradictory emotions regarding him!!

      Hummmm I’d say a reread is always a good idea but since it had been a year since I read the first two I found that, since the third is set 9 years later, and most stuff are referenced a bit, it’s okay ?
      (so sorry for answering so late!)

      Liked by 1 person

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