[Novel] Ninefox Gambit

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Q99
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[Novel] Ninefox Gambit

Postby Q99 » 2017-03-20 08:28am

The Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee is a SF novel I just tore through with great pleasure.

It's a military series, but it's combat is quite atypical, with 'formation' fighting taking center stage- the Hexarchate maintains the 'calender' through their society and technology involving a lot of advanced math, and their soldiers with formation generators can thus take a variety of stances to produce different . The novel doesn't stop the action to info dump you with how it works but presents it pretty naturalisticly, and warfare is all *about* the calender so you get pretty familiar pretty fast, though you may find things a bit confusing until you grok it.

In this, our main character, Kel Cheris ('Kel' being one of the six divisions in the Hexarchate, the soldiers), is in some trouble for breaking doctrine to win in her last combat. This not only gets her in some hot water, but shows her aptitude, which makes her a primary candidate for a major job- One of the Hexarchate's major fortresses has fallen into a major rebellion, and the Hexarchate wants to send arguably their most brilliant general to take it down so as to avoid using up too many forces in the act. Their most clever general is both dead, and infamously killed *both* side's armies in his final living campaign, so is widely regarded as both insane and a traitor, the titular Ninefox or as he's also known, the Immolation Fox. Cheris gets him in her head, and serves as both his hands/mouth, and handler, in charge of putting him down if he looks to be about to do a repeat performance.

The combat is interesting and gets creative with it's exotic effects. Also often brutal- if you have storms that slice apart space, things can get pretty nasty, before getting into what happened in the famous massacre. The tactics are understandable and clever, the characters smart. This book obviously leads to more in the universe, but is a very strong story on it's own.


The book has a lot of recommendations from different authors on the cover, including Ann Leckie of the Ancillary Justice series, and if you're read the Ancillary books you might like some of the themes here too. Both deal with characters that have unusual head arrangements, which I also quite like ^^


I rate Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee an 'A+'.

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Re: [Novel] Ninefox Gambit

Postby Ace Pace » 2017-03-20 09:31am

I really really enjoyed it, read over the past summer (during Finals season). I found the action scenes practically irrelevant, focusing far more on the psychological warfare between Cheris and her "guest". The closest thing I can remember is similar scenes in Enders Game, in both of the books the main character is trying to keep her/his self, personality, whole and coherent while under immense pressure.

The world itself feels generic, just that authors inserted pseudo-math as a placeholder for sci-fi magic.
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Q99
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Re: [Novel] Ninefox Gambit

Postby Q99 » 2017-03-20 10:14am

Sure, the calendar math is the setting's SF technobabble, but I liked the type of combat it made. Shipbattles were neither missile-spam nor age of sail. Groundbattle wasn't just modern-with-better-guns or power armor. The combat was different enough to be interesting to me.

We also got some side-bits of minor characters that gave a good feel of just what it was like in the ground beneath these orders Cheris was passing on.

Q99
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Re: [Novel] Ninefox Gambit

Postby Q99 » 2017-03-23 10:33am

Ace Pace wrote:The world itself feels generic, just that authors inserted pseudo-math as a placeholder for sci-fi magic.


Question on this, if you consider this generic, what books have you been reading? Because I might want to check them out ^^

The Hexarchate is in the position of a normal 'Empire,' but it has an unusual form of government, with no individual leader and each of six factions with their own leader and their own cultures (though I would have liked to see more of them), and some social controls I found interesting like formation instinct and them having to schedule their celebrations and rememberance (normally with punishments of criminals and heretics) days in order to make their science work.


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