Author: Yoon Ha Lee
Title: Hexarchate Stories
Plot: The essential short story collection set in the universe of Ninefox Gambit.
An ex-Kel art thief has to save the world from a galaxy-shattering prototype weapon…
A general outnumbered eight-to-one must outsmart his opponent…
A renegade returns from seclusion to bury an old comrade…
From the incredible imagination of Hugo- and Arthur C. Clarke-nominated author Yoon Ha Lee comes a collection of stories set in the world of the best-selling Ninefox Gambit. Showcasing Lee’s extraordinary imagination, this collection takes you to the very beginnings of the hexarchate’s history and reveals new never-before-seen stories.
I received Hexarchate Stories from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Ninefox Gambit | Raven Stratagem | Revenant Gun
As soon as I saw there was a new book by Yoon Ha Lee, I jumped at the chance to read it. I loved the previous trilogy, even if the level of science-fiction at times meant I didn’t have a clue what was going on.
I hoped Hexarchate Stories would be more manageable, especially as it has been some time since I read the trilogy. Short stories of varying lengths meant it was easier to digest and it was fun connecting back to the characters.
I don’t think I can identify a favourite: there were a few that really grabbed me. The ones featuring Jedao when he was young – especially looking out for his little sister – were the most entertaining. They were light-hearted and featured a Jedao before he was a tortured, confused wreck of a man. I loved him as a character in the main trilogy, and this introduced a deeper level to him.
The final story was by far the longest as it returned to Cheris and Jedao and the next step in their adventure. Out of all of them, this was the one that threw me off the most because it referenced the trilogy heavily and I honestly can’t remember what happened or where things were left with those two. Their dynamic was great though and they’re both as devious as each other.
Which reminded him that he was still procrastinating on writing back to his mother. Surely being sent on an undercover mission counted as an acceptable reason for being late with your correspondence home?
Each story has its own rhythm and feel. There’s a poem; there’s longer stories; there’s a visit to a brothel which was hilarious reading on a train; there’s childhood pranks; childhood nightmares; training scenarios… Pretty much every combination you can ask for and all are as enjoyable as the others.
The majority of the stories feature Jedao in some way, although his participation varies depending on the story. While that was fun, it was also enjoyable to connect to new characters, especially as different styles of writing were used to introduce them. You could tell there were some stories that were experiments as the style is different – and the author himself admits as much.
The stories themselves were thoroughly enjoyable. But perhaps just as entertaining were the author comments that went with each story. It gives us a small snap-shot into the author’s life and I loved them. The way he spoke: mentioned flash-fiction, using terms that I had only associated with fanfiction beforehand, just increase my respect of his work. He was so down-to-earth, which I know is silly because why should I expect anything else? But reading these parts were just as entertaining as reading the rest of the book.
If you enjoyed Ninefox Gambit, you’ll love this addition. I’m not certain you need to have read the trilogy either – yes, some details might not make sense, but you can still pick up on the atmosphere and the writing styles and enjoy the book as a collection of short stories on their own.
It was fairly quick to read and was light-hearted with some more serious undertones. A definite recommendation from me!
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4 thoughts on “Book Review: Hexarchate Stories by Yoon Ha Lee”
Hm. I’m definitely not a huge fan of sci-fi, but I’m intrigued by this one.
– Laura || https://afinnontheloose.com
Oh, science fiction. I tend to like fantasy and that type of stuff so this sounds like a good read but I should probably start with the trilogy first!
Not my genre of reading material, but it sounds interesting for sure. And I love shorter stories at times
Sounds like these would be good to read to get a little taste of science fiction to see if it could be your cup of tea. I don’t think I’ve read much science fiction. These sound good especially since you say they are light hearted and funny. That’s definitely my cup of tea!