Ninefox Gambit : Machineries of Empire

  • by Yoon Ha Lee
  • Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
  • Series: Machineries of Empire
  • 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The first installment of the trilogy, Ninefox Gambit centers on disgraced captain Kel Cheris, who must recapture the formidable Fortress of Scattered Needles in order to redeem herself in front of the Hexarchate.
To win an impossible war, Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general.
Captain Kel Cheris of the Hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris' career isn't the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the Hexarchate itself might be next. Cheris' best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress. The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao - because she might be his next victim.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A difficult novel

This came highly recommended. It 's focus on one key battle, and the people and influences creating around this scenario. It is quite original in its intense focus on this.

I enjoyed how well women were represented - I was shocked at myself when I realised how many times I assumed a character was male until he stated their gender was female. Also characters are graced with a sensual, sexual fluidity which is seldom seen in scifi.

It is also a bit grim with an extraordinary amount of graphic violence and gore as it is centred on the military and war.

However too many things just left unexplained and hanging which was very annoying in the beginning. It seems this is the writer's style not to divulge too much and just hope that you catch on. It is a fine line between not wanting to spoon feed the reader and giving practical information that highlights the significance of an event or action. I often just wanted more explanation so I could understand the point being made.

I suspect that it might have been easier to follow if it was a book not an audio recording. I tend to listen when driving so I don't get the opportunity to stop and refer back. I am sure I only understood half of what was going on. My comprehension picked up towards the end so maybe better on second listening?

Overall, I have mixed feelings. So many things to admire but I was often found gasping with annoyance (asking myself, "what does that mean?") as well. Recommended if you feel like a challenging listen.
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- midian

Poor, robotic narration

Would you try another book written by Yoon Ha Lee or narrated by Emily Woo Zeller?

I didn't think there was enough story here to justify a full-length novel, but I'd definitely check out Yoon Ha Lee's shorter fiction.

I would actively avoid other books by this narrator.


Has Ninefox Gambit put you off other books in this genre?

Military SF isn't quite my thing anyway. This hasn't put me off entirely, but it doesn't encourage me to explore further any time soon. It felt repetitive enough as it is.


Would you be willing to try another one of Emily Woo Zeller’s performances?

No. I found her to be robotic and stilted in delivery, almost like she was reading this for the first time and never quite knew where it was going to go or what her inflection should be.


You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

There was some interest in the relationship between the protagonist and the dead general inserted into her mind, but this was explored less than I would have expected.


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- Teorgian

Book Details

  • Release Date: 14-06-2016
  • Publisher: Recorded Books