The second book of Terra Ignota, a political SF epic of extraordinary audacity. It is a world in which near-instantaneous travel from continent to continent is free to all.
In which automation now provides for everybody’s basic needs.
In which nobody living can remember an actual war.
In which it is illegal for three or more people to gather for the practice of religion—but ecumenical “sensayers” minister in private, one-on-one.
In which gendered language is archaic, and to dress as strongly male or female is, if not exactly illegal, deeply taboo.
In which nationality is a fading memory, and most people identify instead with their choice of the seven global Hives, distinguished from one another by their different approaches to the big questions of life.
And it is a world in which, unknown to most, the entire social order is teetering on the edge of collapse.
Because even in utopia, humans will conspire. And also because something new has arisen: Bridger, the child who can bring inanimate objects to conscious life.
“I wrote the list but didn’t think to pull a stunt like the theft. I wish I did know who it was. I’d congratulate them on a plot well laid, then deck them.”
I hated reading the first book, Too Like the Lightning, so much. But after that ending there was no way in hell I could get away with not reading book two. And let me tell you, reader…
I lost my fucking mind reading this.
Don’t believe me? Look at the status updates on Goodreads. If that doesn’t sell you to this book, I don’t know what will!
Book one was a slog. Seven Surrenders I couldn’t put down. Well that’s not exactly true. I kept putting it down to scream out “what the fuck” and “OH NO SHE DIDN’T”. Seven Surrenders was just a wild, inescapable ride. The twists! The turns! The revelations! The WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENEDs.
It is hard to talk about this book, because so much happens during it. We start the book immediately after the events of book one. Shortly after that, everything you learned from book one has changed already, and will keep changing through the course of the book. Until the end which is almost in an entirely different universe than the start, for how much has changed. It is a battle to keep up with everything that changes and everything that happens and OH MY GOD WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!
Mycroft Canner is the world’s most unreliable narrator. But that is part of what makes the story so good. He presents the story from his future self talking about his past self, and you have to learn what other people learn as they learn it, NOT as Mycroft learns it. Which means you get fooled. Again and again. And again. And just when you think he can’t fool you again, he manages to do it. Again. Mycroft Canner, you asshole.
Lastly, the end. I honestly don’t even know what to make of it. Not without reading the next book. In fact there were many scenes throughout the book where I just had to set it down to process what I had just read that it was remarkable. That ending, though… I just don’t even know. I don’t know what to feel. I don’t know what I know. I feel so lost. I don’t know anything.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Terra Ignota series page!