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A Memory Called Empire

Written by: Arkady Martine
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 15 hrs and 37 mins
5.0 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A new ambassador arrives in the galactic empire’s capital to investigate her predecessor’s murder. But nothing could have prepared her for the labyrinth of intrigue ahead - which will threaten both her and the empire itself.

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare travels to the capital of the Teixcalaanli Empire, eager to take up her new post. But when she arrives, she discovers her peoples’ previous ambassador was murdered - and no one will admit it wasn't an accident. Mahit must hunt down the killer while somehow preventing the empire from annexing her home: a small independent mining station.

Yet to achieve all this she must avoid assassination herself while becoming enmeshed in the intrigues at the city-planet’s heart. And Mahit is hiding a deadly technological secret, one which might destroy her station and its way of life. Or it might save them from annihilation.   

An extraordinary science fiction debut, Arkady Martine's first novel in the Texicalaan series, A Memory Called Empire, is perfect for fans of John Scalzi, Becky Chambers and Frank Herbert's Dune.

©2019 Arkady Martine (P)2019 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic Reviews

"A riveting story of character interplay and politics, this audiobook features the cool, calm narration of Amy Landon. Incredibly dialogue-driven, this story requires Landon to distinguish important nuances between characters with her word emphasis and pronunciation. She does so in a way that allows listeners to become engaged with the story and easily follow the political maneuverings. Her smooth delivery combined with Martine's story makes this sci-fi audiobook perfect to absorb one's attention." (AudioFile)

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What listeners say about A Memory Called Empire

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Deserves every award it got!

A absolutely stunning conception of colonialism and imperialism all wrapped in a personal narrative with moving characters! Amy Landon has nailed the narration. The inflexion and voicing are impeccable

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  • Just reading
  • 08-10-19

Simply glorious space opera

Great narration, a thought out narrative suuported by interesting characters and a penchant for city design. I came for the space empire, I left wanting to know more about The City.

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  • Anthony Bennis
  • 05-12-19

It's like a text to speech reader is narrating

awful. narrator is like a text to machine speech synthesiser. couldn't get past 1st chapter.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-04-19

Astonishingly good!

The story was brilliant and thoroughly enjoyable and all the characters were so interesting. I thought the sci-fi technology aspects were very cleverly and thoughtfully done and the cultural elements were really rich as well. The author created a fascinating world and described it so poetically. I can't wait for the next installment! It was read very well so that the characters were easy to distinguish and the emotion came through very powerfully. It is good to see sci-fi with such a strong cast of believable female characters leading the story. It had plenty of intrigue, politics, action, suspense and surprises!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Kat Matfield
  • 22-07-19

Amazing story, flat narration was a let down

I bought the audiobook after really enjoying the print book – but had to return it because the narration is such a let down. The narrator's voice is so flat and emotionless it almost sounds like Siri. I found it hard to engage with the story and dangerously easy to tune out – not a problem I generally have.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-08-20

Terrible narration

Story might be good, narration is terrible, I could not listen for more than 10 min. Three words, pause, four words, pause, three words, pause. Impossible to follow a sentence.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-03-20

Great story, terrible, lifeless narrator

I quite like the book, interesting with good intrigue. But the narrator made my ears bleed, I'm not sure if there's a weird effect in the recording or something but I can't listen to it for more than an hour at a time. The narrator herself is distinctly average, functional, but very little variation in her voice and without life or charisma.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jenny
  • 31-10-19

Excellent space opera

I loved this book. It's full of intrigue and questions of what a self is. Reminiscent of space operas like Machineries of Empire and Imperial Radch. This book features a female main character of humble origins set to navigate the political intrigue of a large empire. Carrying a physical recording of her predecessor as her only guide. I was also pleased to see some queerness in the book. The recording is excellent. I got hooked on the story straight away and hardly stop listening for the want of finding out what happens next. I'll be grabbing the next installment the moment it's released.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bob
  • 02-05-19

Speech cadence off

I gave up after ten minutes. I found the speech cadence of the reader a bit off. Sentences ended at odd inflections. The speech was also a bit emotionless.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Laurent FRANTZ
  • 21-08-20

Ditched it at Ch 5

Really frustrating, author over explains EVERYTHING, especially the main character's thoughts. Ruins a good concept

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  • Brian - UK
  • 17-08-20

Excessively descriptive.

I don’t mind slow drama, but the story unfolds too slowly for me and the naming conventions for people and places is a distraction. Description feels like it gets in the way of feeling empathy for the main characters. The narrator doesn’t feel invested in the story, though oration style is a personal thing. Either way, after 5 hours, or a third of the book - I’ve had to return the audiobook.

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  • Catriona
  • 01-08-20

Engaging and well narrated

A number of reviews I read criticised the narration of this book. I was concerned about that so listened to sample first and heard no issues. Having listened to the whole book I’m puzzled about different perceptions of what we hear. What was to me a coolly narrated story, but still expressive with each character having their own voice, was to others quite mechanical. I can only suggest that if you are concerned you too listen to a sample. As far as the story itself was concerned; after the initial impression of information overload I was drawn in and definitely would want to read any sequels, which I’m sure will be forthcoming, there being a number of threads left loose to be picked up later without damaging the plot of this book. Two societies are shown ,but the space station society is only seen in its role as a contrast to the planet base empire. Will we see more of it next time, or learn more of the city’s algorithm?

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Onyajay
  • 26-10-20

Like listening to Siri for 15 hours

Awful narrator - robotic and the worst inflections that sound like a school kid in a school play . Hard to tell who’s talking - and worse this author has deliberately created over complicated place and personal names - so incongruous that it’s jarring and annoying. Azeazwakat? Texcalaanlislum??? Then there’s the purple prose- on and on and on - every single noun with two or there descriptions. It’s supposed to appear as this civilisation is very philosophical - but the attempt at conveying this is just a bunch of verbs and adverbs. It’s a real trek listening to this DRAGGING story. I’m only half way through and usually live space opera. This is just a Book that could be written with only 1/3 of the words. Ugh. .... and that narrator. I think I’ll go listen to my GPS voice to get a bit more excitement. Good storyline but needs a different reader and get rid of 2/3 of the words.

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  • George Theodoridis
  • 19-08-20

Juvenile

For a plot relying on political intrigue and the contingency of personal relationships, this was, eh, young adult in its sophistication. As speculative/sci fi, it could well have been set anywhere at any time, with little speculative insight. The narrator was like a next gen Cortana, better but perplexingly robotic in her rhythms.

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  • Julie Miller
  • 09-08-20

It well deserved its awards.

A Memory Called Empire has everything. Mystery, politics, poetry, what it means to be foreign, and a frustratingly real kind of almost romance. The worldbuilding is masterful. I was really sad to reach the end of it!

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  • Lochlan Kriesfeld
  • 01-06-20

Interesting, Surprising, and Exciting

Interesting, surprising, and exciting from start to finish. Full of most compelling characters, political maneuvering and intruige, and questions of what constitutes the self, this story had pits in my stomach, fear in my blood, and smiles on my face. In addition, Amy Landon does an excellent job at narration, though she does sound somewhat synthetic early on. It's something you get used to, and once you start to get a sense of her sheer range of voices, her narration is something I easily got lost in.