Ninefox Gambit: Politics and War in Mathimagic-land

Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha Lee

I genuinely hated this book when I started it. It drops you in the middle of some pretty intricate and confusing world-building, bombards you with jargon, and the rules of our reality just don't seem to apply despite the fact all the characters talk about math constantly. I would read two or three pages, and then hold my head in frustration. But about 50 pages in (give or take) the story really shifted for me and came alive.

You can make numerous compelling arguments regarding what this book is about. A military campaign. Political intrigue. Clashing paradigms. Little fish in a big big pond. Trust issues. I could go on and on. But for me it was about the relationship between Cheris and Jedao. Once Jedao entered the story I was hooked. I was intrigued by him at every turn, all the way until the end. Their interactions kept me invested and reading, even when the story strayed deep into military sci-fi territory (which isn't usually to my liking). I can't quite express just how much I enjoyed watching these two characters spark off of each other.

The other strong point of this book is the unique world Lee has created. While it took me some time and effort to pull apart the rules of the world that's really all part of the journey. While math and science lay at the core of this society, it really behaves more like magic. Once I stopped trying to make the math/science make sense, I started to really enjoy the world. The realization that it was all Mathimagic allowed me to relax and enjoy what Lee was saying with the world building.

This isn't an easy read, but it is a rewarding one. The world is interesting and fresh, the characters and their relationships are intricate and intriguing, and the writing well crafted. Also, I should mention there are really great robots. The robot pals are great. So if you want to read a book filled with intrigue, politics, hidden agendas, space battles, mathy paradigm magic, and complicated relationships give this one a try. It's worth the learning curve.