Book Review: Hexarchate Stories


Yoon Ha Lee

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 25th June 2019
spoilers? no

Goodreads

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.

Now and forever, I’m your gun.

Galley provided by publisher

Reading short stories set in a world you love is like coming home. It just feels so familiar and emotional in a different way to the original books. And that’s exactly how Hexarchate Stories felt to me.

For the most part, these stories are more like vignettes, snapshots of life before and after the main events of the trilogy. There are a handful of longer ones (a couple of which were already published as short stories elsewhere), and the last 40% or so of the book is a kind of sequel novella to the entire series (and, incidentally, my favourite of the collection).

The best thing about this collection is the insight it gives you into both the familiar characters of the trilogy and characters outside of them. Not new characters, really, because they’re mostly all related somehow, but characters you don’t see a lot of. Jedao’s family gets a few stories (and those ones really did make me cry, particularly the story from Rodao’s POV). And there are stories which do a little bit to further the worldbuilding of the universe. How it was before, how it was after, more about when the heptarchate became the hexarchate. It’s not things that are necessary for understanding the main trilogy, but it’s things that add to it later on.

Like I said, the story I loved most was the sequel novella to the series. If the ending to Revenant Gun left you heartbroken, then this story will resolve all that heartbreak. Yes, it left me sad about Cheris and Jedao yet again, but it was a good kind of sad this time.

And now all I have to do is stave off the inevitable desire to reread the whole series.

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