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Raven Stratagem (The Machineries of Empire #2)

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  2,740 Ratings  ·  407 Reviews
Captain Kel Cheris is possessed by a long-dead traitor general. Together they must face the rivalries of the hexarchate and a potentially devastating invasion.

When the hexarchate's gifted young captain Kel Cheris summoned the ghost of the long-dead General Shuos Jedao to help her put down a rebellion, she didn't reckon on his breaking free of centuries of imprisonment – an
Paperback, 355 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Solaris
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Rick Boardman Yeah. Book 1 contains a great deal of context for 2.

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May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Re-read 4/10/18:

I have no complaints about my previous review. :) I enjoyed it just as much and just want to add one thing:

Original review:

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!

I think it's safe to say that I'm a fanboy of this writer. I was blown away by the flashy greatness of the first novel, the quantum-perception nature of a whole society versus other whole societies, and especially the absolute craziness of having an undead general in your brain to help y
May 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked this significantly more than the first installment. It may have been a combination of listening to it on audio and it being much more character focused. I do still find myself not following the plot at points and losing interest, but not as much as book 1.
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
4ish stars.

An improvement in all areas on the already impressive Ninefox Gambit, reading this makes me glad I gave a second chance to NG. The POV characters are much more interesting and relevant, the pacing is much more consistent and the prose is just as military-grade immaculate.

This is expansive, unprecedented military space opera done right. If that sounds like your jam, go ahead and spread it on thick. If you're like me and feel intimidated or if it just isn't your preferred genre, give it
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Extended Review at

I must admit I was shocked and a little disappointed when I got through the first chapter of Raven Stratagem. Not because it was bad, mind you; it was just that my memory of the first chapter of Ninefox Gambit – which unceremoniously barrel kicks you into a huge flaming pit of WHAT-THE-F***-IS-THIS – was still fresh in my mind nearly a year later. Compared to that, the kickoff for Raven Stratagem is just so damned conventional: setup and
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A terrific space opera from an emerging talent who is already in the running in this year’s Hugo Awards for the first entry in this trilogy, Ninefox Gambit. I will have to go back and read that, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity of supping on this one through Netgalley. I had to catch up fast on the setting here, a large interstellar system of planets with faster-than-light travel and governed by six factions, the Hexarchate. Each group of the ruling confederate has areas of specialty in the ...more
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After the events of Ninefox Gambit, the undead and possibly mad general Shuos Jedao is free and possessing the body of Kel Cheris. Rather than immediately seek revenge on the hexarchs for his time in the black cradle, Jedao takes a Kel Swarm and leads it in a defense of the hexarchate against an incursion of the Hafn. Meanwhile the Shuos hexarch Mikodez watches in horror as the other hexarchs make a bid for immortality, condemning the hexarchate to a potential eternal rule of their insanity.

Aug 13, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: owned-to-read

It feels like all I've done since Ninefox Gambit came out is try and convince people to read it, and now I have another weapon to use in my battle against those who resist my will. Read Ninefox Gambit because then you get to read the sequel. And trust me, you want to read the sequel.

In what has already been a year of fantastic books for me Raven Stratagem is the best one yet. It takes everything I loved about Ninefox Gambit and just makes it even better. It also does what the very best sequels d
Have you ever read a series that is so bizarre and yet so fulfilling? Mine is Machineries of Empire. The first book, Ninefox Gambit, for me was one of the best reads of 2017. It was so refreshing, confusing, and engaging at the same time. The universe was as weird or even weirder than Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought. Calendars and maths as belief system/technology/weapon? I have never read anything like it.

And the characters, oh my gosh, I love the characters and the dialogues! Even in this seco
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ninefox Gambit was one of the best books I read in 2016. Raven Stratagem might be even better. This whole series is utterly, gloriously, astoundingly brilliant.

Welcome to the world of the hexarchate, where total participation in rigid ritual not only keeps control of the population; it also warps the topology of reality to create "exotic effects" that keeps the hexarchate in power. The hexarchate is ruled by six factions: the Rahal, who make the rules; the Vidona, who enforce them with tortur
I read through to the end of chapter 4 in this one (about 14% of the book) and I just wasn't into it. I knew from having already read the first in the series that it would probably take a lot for this to really draw me in, but sadly it just wasn't doing so and although I know many who love this book and series, I just don't think this sort of SF works for me personally. I like knowing where I stand as I read and with this series I constantly feel like I'm not sure what's happening or why or who' ...more
DNF'd at 50%

Maybe I'll try rereading this series in the future but for now, I just can't get into it. I know it is me and not the book because so many people love this book. The part I loved about Ninefox Gambit was removed in Raven Stratagem and other points of view were added. These points of view are added to create a larger network of political threads so that the reader gets a much broader view of the universe that Yoon Ha Lee is creating. Unfortunately, I found it all to be tedious and un
It's difficult for me to put into words how much I love this book. Or this series. Just the fact that I can't tell which one of the two books I like the most is something, since I could always rank my favorites.
Not this time.

The only thing I liked less in this book is that it had less Jedao. I'd read about Jedao doing basically anything, but on the other hand, this book had Mikodez, Khiruev and even a chapter in Kujen's point of view - which was, as I expected, painful to read. It's not easy to
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Holy crap. The last half of this book was so surprisingly good. The characters really drove it home for me.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quite a different feel from the first book- which has its pros and cons. I rather liked the challenges of the first book. There are fewer in this book, but there's still plenty going on. Some nice twists.
Executive Summary: I struggled a bit to get into this one at the start, but once I finally got my bearing back I enjoyed it a lot more. ★★★☆.

Audiobook: This one is a hard series for audio in my opinion. Nothing against Emily Woo Zeller who I think does a fine job narrating, it's just that there is so much going on, I find myself wishing I could go back and reread parts, something I find very hard to do in audio. Your mileage may vary, but this is definitely not for people newer to audiobooks in
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a debut Ninefox Gambit couldn’t have been much better. Dropping the reader right into a complex world without any type of cheat sheet it managed to combine some first class world building with a tight and focused story. Kel Cheris, with the insane undead general Shuos Jedao in her mind, faced off against the heresy threatening the Hexarchate while at the same time being one of the main threats to the Hexarchate. It was my favorite kind of sci-fi, full of big alien ideas and smart enough to pu ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-my-best-of
No as perfect as the first book in the series, but still a most wonderful reading experience. This trilogy feels like the pinnacle of the entire evolution of space opera subgenre. Everything is interwoven together in the most incredibile ways: spectacular space travel, heart stopping military battles, complex political machinations and espionage, very interesting exploration of identity and gender, great mathematical concepts, unusual religious ideas and a novel take on the image of the Other.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
3.5 stars
I didn't feel comfortable rounding the GR rating up to 4 stars, so even if 3 stars looks a bit low, it'll have to do. The first book got a strong 4 from me.

Unlike with the first book, this time I liked the last 100 pages the most. The rest of the book felt a bit drawn out to me, even though I did enjoy reading chapters from the POVs of different characters from different places than just the main spaceship swarm.
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's funny. I could blink and wave my hands and say 'yeah, great sequel. Pacing is a bit off, but it's entertaining. The Shuos amuse me'. Or I could take a deep breath and start talking about themes, but then I'd give in to the floods of feelings that would wash me away.

As with Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee has done something special, wrapped in layer upon layer of distraction. While there's plenty of meditation on the mechanisms of politics and control, this is an unabashed call to examine your c
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Y'all have no idea how much it physically pains me to give this book such a low rating but - in light of the utter masterpiece of the first book - I feel so let down by this sequel.

I'm going to give myself some time to mull it over before I write a review but,'s not looking great, kids...
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, owned
*draws hearts around the book*

4.5 stars, all the feels, I'll write a proper(ish) review later, but for now: what an accomplished, refreshing, profoundly readable novel. It answers a lot of my questions from volume 1 and it seems impossible not to care about these characters.

The book pulls off some amazing feats and I can't wait for the conclusion.


As usual, when I encounter a book I really love, I find it difficult to compose my thoughts into a single cohesive review, particularly since I don
Christina Pilkington
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While Ninefox Gambit throws readers into a black hole of craziness with its uniquely confusing ( but awesome!) world building and introduces readers to a world wholly different than anything we could imagine, Raven Stratagem focuses instead on mystery, introspection and complex, character motivations. I loved both books, but in very different ways.

This series continues to impress me. I'm very excited to read the third and final book next year!
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with a brain
Review first published on The Curious SFF Reader

It hasn’t even been a year since Ninefox Gambit came out and I already read it twice. The first installment in Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire is brilliant, full of amazing ideas, original worldbuilding and gorgeous writing. It was even better as a re-read and let’s just say that I was extremely eager to get my hands on its sequel Raven Stratagem.

I am easily disappointed by sequels, usually I tend to enjoy first books more because they are the
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Last year, I read and loved Ninefox Gambit, a stunning military space opera. This year, I had the pleasure of reading the sequel, Raven Stratagem, and may have loved it even more than the first book. I highly encourage you to read these books, but they need to be read in order. If you haven’t read Ninefox Gambit, you may want to skip the rest of this review, since I’ll be mentioning spoilers from the first book.

General Kel Khiruev is leading a fleet to stop the advance of a neighboring enemy, th
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Raven Stratagem is the second book in the Machineries Of Empire series by Yoon Ha Lee; the first book was the successful Ninefox Gambit.

This follows the events of The Fortress of Scattered Needles which occurred in the first book. Jedao has been sent to quash a rebellion that has a interesting link of sorts to him. He is one of the few soldiers still alive who was around when the conditioning system that the military now relies on to control their troops was implemented. He knows and understands
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating read as I continue to love this world building. It does some interesting things with POV and, as of right now, I can definitely see me re-reading all 3 of the trilogy once all is said and done.

To go into more detail a couple of weeks later:

The thing I loved about Ninefox Gambit was a) the world building and b) the nature Cheris and Jedao's interaction. This one decided to torture me by withholding one of those two things for narrative reasons and it wasn't the world building. The
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2018
4.5 Stars

Raven Strategem(The Machineries of Empire #2) is a truly fabulous follow up to the awesome first book The Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Han Lee. This is a military science fiction series that is often quite a difficult read but totally worth it for science fiction fans.

In the first book, I loved the characters and the action even though I really could not understand what was actually going on, but I tore through it anyways. Raven Strategem was a much easier read that I also raced through. This
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve been struggling to think of how to review this book, because it was a total whirlwind of stuff I really enjoyed, from the machinations of Cheris/Jedao to the characters to the countermeasures people try to employ. I really want to know more about the deeper plot between Jedao and a character who has mostly been conspicuous by their absence so far. I found it easier, this book, to concentrate on the plot and ignore the magical-science stuff surrounding the calendar, math, etc. I just took it ...more
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Raven Stratagem [Apr 2, 2018] 35 40 Jun 10, 2018 12:36PM  
BooktubeSFF Awards: Raven Strategem Readalong 4 36 May 08, 2018 09:57AM  
The Not a Book Cl...: RS: General Discussion (No Spoilers) 5 26 Jun 19, 2017 06:46AM  
Yoon Ha Lee is an American science fiction writer born on January 26, 1979 in Houston, Texas. His first published story, “The Hundredth Question,” appeared in Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1999; since then, over two dozen further stories have appeared. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
More about Yoon Ha Lee

Other books in the series

The Machineries of Empire (3 books)
  • Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire #1)
  • Revenant Gun (The Machineries of Empire, #3)
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