The Will to Battle (Terra Ignota, #3)
The Will to Battle —the third book of 2017 John W. Campbell Award winner Ada Palmer's Terra Ignota series—a political SF epic of extraordinary audacity“A cornucopia of dazzling, sharp ideas set in rich, wry prose that rewards rumination with layers of delight. Provocative, erudite, inventive, resplendent.” —Ken Liu, author of The Grace of KingsThe long years of near-utopia have come to an abrupt end.Peace and order are now figments of the past. Corruption, deception, and insurgency hum within the once steadfast leadership of the Hives, nations without fixed location.The heartbreaking truth is that for decades, even centuries, the leaders of the great Hives bought the world’s stability with a trickle of secret murders, mathematically planned. So that no faction could ever dominate. So that the balance held.The Hives’ façade of solidity is the only hope they have for maintaining a semblance of order, for preventing the public from succumbing to the savagery and bloodlust of wars past. But as the great secret becomes more and more widely known, that façade is slipping away.Just days earlier, the world was a pinnacle of human civilization. Now everyone—Hives and hiveless, Utopians and sensayers, emperors and the downtrodden, warriors and saints—scrambles to prepare for the seemingly inevitable war.“Seven Surrenders veers expertly between love, murder, mayhem, parenthood, theology, and high politics. I haven't had this much fun with a book in a long time.” —Max Gladstone, author of Three Parts Dead

The Will to Battle (Terra Ignota, #3) Details

TitleThe Will to Battle (Terra Ignota, #3)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 19th, 2017
PublisherTor Books
ISBN-139780765378040
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy

The Will to Battle (Terra Ignota, #3) Review

  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    Update, later the same day:I think I'm gonna nominate this one for Hugo. It keeps getting better on reflection. :)Original Review:I took my time and savored this one. It deserves it. And more.Ada Palmer has made a world worth luxuriating in, and far from resting on the Greek laurels she and her work deserve, she's delved deep into new philosophical questions while all the time fascinating us with complicated and rich characters. Never even mind the glorious world-building. The amount of thought Update, later the same day:I think I'm gonna nominate this one for Hugo. It keeps getting better on reflection. :)Original Review:I took my time and savored this one. It deserves it. And more.Ada Palmer has made a world worth luxuriating in, and far from resting on the Greek laurels she and her work deserve, she's delved deep into new philosophical questions while all the time fascinating us with complicated and rich characters. Never even mind the glorious world-building. The amount of thought and forethought in all of this is astounding.The title gives the main action away. It is not Battle. But the Will to Battle. This is a philosophical conundrum. A wrenching up. A decision to kill or be killed. What's most fascinating about this is the fact we began these books in a de-facto utopia. The first book throws all our perceptions and assumptions for a loop, especially when the great murderer is, in fact, a hero, but a hero for what? The second book dives deeper into the mysterious mass-assassinations and the purpose behind them, right down to the rights of kings and the greater ideological good of society. It also explores godhood as an observer and as a limited player and does it in such a way as to frame the rest of the book in a brilliant argument for and against the destruction of a whole society. This book is both a surprising and sophisticated exploration of nobility, goodness and idealistic (broad sense) response to the calling of war and perhaps a complete destruction of humanity. I'm talking eyes-wide-open exhaustive discussion of turning their utopias (and there are essentially eleven different kinds of utopias in this world) into mass death, destruction, and eventual barbarism. Everyone's aware of the pitfalls and only the truly war-like among us (including the original, actual Achilles) has the most wisdom to impart. Prepare well. Keep lines of communication open. Stock up. Draw battlefield lines. Prepare for the absolute worst. Go about all your days, preparing to die.What's most shocking about this book is the fact that it never feels contrived or absurd. At all. It's like being in reality, keeping a clear head, and carefully choosing to murder for the sake of your most deeply held beliefs... even while you live in heaven. Disturbing? Hell, yeah. Understandable? Yeah. In this case, all the events, all the subjects, all the people in it are treated with respect and honor even when it's about assassination, betrayal, grief, or the realization that everything is not only going to change, but nobody will win. And yet the Will to Battle persists. Remains. It is inevitable, but heroism now consists in postponing the tragedy or mitigating the worst effects.This is, after all, a highly advanced scientific and cultural utopia we have on Earth. Means to destroy are vast, and people's ire and mob mentalities are still very real. It's sick and fascinating. And I'm absolutely hooked.I should be perfectly candid about where I would place these books in my mind. These aren't simple tales full of action and pathos and they don't have clear-cut plotlines for easy public consumption. They are Considered. They are very thoughtful, very mindful, and rife with classics of both literature and philosophical thought. The latest one is a modern delving and interpretation of some of the best pre-game-theory classics. And it's also heart-wrenching, but mainly for the actual effects of these Big Ideas on all the characters I've grown to love and admire. And I mean all of them.I would place these books in my mind in the Classics category. Classic as in "This needs to be a cult favorite that gets pulled out fifty years from now with just much love and respect as I'm giving it now" kind of book. If there's any justice in this world, Big Ideas books that are written this well should ALWAYS have staying power. And that's what I wish for it. It needs to be known and savored. We need this discussion for all our thinking selves. Seriously and honestly.That's how this book affects me. How all of the books have affected me. Am I putting them on a very precise pedestal? Perhaps. But any winner of the Olympics ought to be respected for all the reasons behind the competition.
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  • Jo Walton
    January 1, 1970
    It made me hyperventilate on a train. This series just gets better and better.
  • Sherwood Smith
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve been thinking about how to review this book for a couple of days, and have come to the conclusion that I can’t review its events without massive spoilers, and even then, those won’t convey the impact to someone who hasn’t read the two previous books.So I’m going to talk about it by talking around it.In the last few days, it so happens that I’ve been either watching or reading stories that focus on the problems of power and human nature. The fuzziest of these stories was my viewing of The La I’ve been thinking about how to review this book for a couple of days, and have come to the conclusion that I can’t review its events without massive spoilers, and even then, those won’t convey the impact to someone who hasn’t read the two previous books.So I’m going to talk about it by talking around it.In the last few days, it so happens that I’ve been either watching or reading stories that focus on the problems of power and human nature. The fuzziest of these stories was my viewing of The Last Jedi in which the conflicted history of the Jedi is touched on.I find these issues handled much more effectively in a Chinese drama I’ve been rewatching (Nirvana in Fire, and to a lesser extent, so far, its sequel), but the most detailed scrutiny is Ada Palmer’s The Will to Battle, the third of the Terra Ignota series.In this one, we find out what ‘terra ignota’ means in the context of this fascinating, highly stylized, deeply complex and rapidly fracturing future Utopia as secrets emerge to devastating effect.A story this layered is going to read differently to different readers. In talking it over with various people, I’ve been fascinated by the diverging reactions, so far with a meetpoint of awe at the sheer scope, the enthusiasm (and the familiarity with) ancient as well as modern thinkers. One reader finds the future Utopia, with its Hive and bash’ (stemming from the Japanese i-basho, what I understand to be a term for a made family), implausible in the sense of how we got there from here; another reader looks askance at the mix of science fiction and fantasy; a third is ravished by the unreliable narrator, who, admitting freely to disintegrating sanity, claims to be telling the absolute truth, which puts a spin on perceptions of miracles and madness.As I was reading this third book in the series, during which the Utopians deal with the fact that they are on the brink of total war for the first time in three centuries, I kept reflecting on our own phenomenally uneasy times. No matter how Byzantine Palmer’s future world is, how incomprehensible or even unbelievable this or that element seems, I can’t help but wonder how we—right now, January 2018—ended up with a handful of oligarchs doing their best to divide the world between them. And how we, here, in our two hundred year old republic, managed to saddle ourselves with so venal, ignorant, narcissistic, and incompetent a dictator-wannabe as President, something I never would have believed possible in the half-century I’ve been reading history as well as current events. If today’s situation had been posited in a science fiction book, say, in 1984, I would have stuck it back on the bookrack, my eyes rolling out of my head.Tying that to The Will to Battle, I am beginning to think that those very elements that seem so far-fetched to many readers make it possible to—in the guise of a highly entertaining story—pose some searching questions about human nature on the personal and global levels. Questions such as why we always seem to opt for war, and how we manage to surrender insane amounts of power to kings. (Whatever they call themselves.)“Tully, while it’s true I’ll never rest in peace until I kill you, you’re low on the list of reasons I’ll never rest in peace.”Reflect on the title for a moment. The will to battle. This is not a story about an Evil Sith Lord coming to attack our doughty underdog heroes who must then band together to fight back. This is a story about people who have the freedom to move anywhere in the world, even up to the city on the moon, who can be or do pretty much anything, who are permitted to believe anything, who first in hidden groups then more and more flagrantly, as their numbers grow, effectively lick their lips in anticipation of destruction and annihilation. Some out of anger, some out of conviction, and some—the most chilling of all—consider themselves motivated by benevolence.And, creatures of contradiction that we are, we watch in fascination.Terra IgnotaIn this book, as in the previous, we’re largely in the gods-eye view as intelligent and powerful people discuss ideas of war, and humanitarians think about supplies and hospitals, and those who are lethally trained . . . do what they do best, sometimes with minds brilliant at calculating the statistical balance-point of action and consequence behind them. This book does not overlook the potency of statistics.An imagined world, however byzantine, only works if there is resonance with the reader in the now. The glimpses of crowd movement—what sparks individuals to form into crowd, then follow the flashpoint emotion into action—strike with chilling verisimilitude. Palmer’s familiarity with history echoes through all three books.There’s also an insightful, thoughtful, benevolently adamantine examination of the conflicts in human nature, reflected in the action and accelerating tension in this book. Characters (and readers) are fascinated by the darker impulses in humans—mirrored in our longest-lasting literature and philosophy, drama and social patterns—even when yearning toward the light. (However one defines that.)I love these books, beginning with the beguiling narrative pyrotechnics. What resonates strongest for me is the love for humanity, even in its most profound folly, that breathes through the pages, beckoning toward human excellence, however rocky a path to get there.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Ockham Prospero Saneer pleads Terra Ignota, I did the deed, but I do not myself know whether it was a crime. This sets the tone for the entire book.I know there are at least a few of you interested in this book and whether or not the end feels like we've only been given half a book. I'm happy to report that this does not feel like half a book. The wait for Perhaps the Stars will still be long and torturous, but I intend to fill that time with back to back re-reads prior to release.These books ar Ockham Prospero Saneer pleads Terra Ignota, I did the deed, but I do not myself know whether it was a crime. This sets the tone for the entire book.I know there are at least a few of you interested in this book and whether or not the end feels like we've only been given half a book. I'm happy to report that this does not feel like half a book. The wait for Perhaps the Stars will still be long and torturous, but I intend to fill that time with back to back re-reads prior to release.These books are, in their own special way, an art form. These pages are filled with quirky stylistic choices, narrative breaks taken to address the reader (you) who carries an ongoing dialogue both with the narrator, and ghosts of the narrators past and upbringing (primarily, philosopher Thomas Hobbes). Dual columns of text side by side are meant to tell you that multiple conversations are happening at the same time within the text. While MASON speaks, people around him object and these texts are given to you in tandem. Different sets of parenthetical are meant to indicate different languages. I'm sure this has been obvious to some of my fellow readers, but yes, I can be dense, and yes, it has taken me three books to crack the code.We continue our philosophical search for meaning through the eyes of the Alien, God of Another Universe, filtered through the eyes of a serial killer and a genius, Mycroft Canner. This was an interesting examination of Mycroft. We see a glimpse of Mycroft before this chronicle started. We spy him for a brief moment in that time between his capture and his judgement. His own story, a mirror image of the larger story at hand.We move away now from examinations of gender and utopia, to the meaning and purpose of war. Perhaps to the purpose of god and religion and its purpose within society. How does a peaceful society take those first few steps to war? Is war necessary to progress? How does society balance the rights of an individual against the greater good? What right does a government have to defend itself or its people against other governments and people? Is this a right we as citizens consent to? Or do we happily ignore it and pretend that peace and the right to live are god granted things that no government can take away regardless of that governments cause?This may be the last book I have time to read and review this year and with everything happening within my own government I suppose it couldn't have been more timely. It is highly relevant and highly recommended, and one of the few books I am already looking forward to re-reading because I know just how many things I must have missed.
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  • Pearl
    January 1, 1970
    Author: Welcome back, dear reader! Did you return for the consistent brilliance that my cast has been putting out in their every performance?Me: Not necessarily…I’ve got a nagging question that won’t let me quit this play.Author (asks with keenness and curiosity): What is it?Me: How is Mycroft Canner not severely dehydrated by now? I mean…the guy has been sobbing non-stop for the previous acts and I doubt he’s getting enough water on his Servicer’s diet. It’s…it’s been bothering me for months!Au Author: Welcome back, dear reader! Did you return for the consistent brilliance that my cast has been putting out in their every performance?Me: Not necessarily…I’ve got a nagging question that won’t let me quit this play.Author (asks with keenness and curiosity): What is it?Me: How is Mycroft Canner not severely dehydrated by now? I mean…the guy has been sobbing non-stop for the previous acts and I doubt he’s getting enough water on his Servicer’s diet. It’s…it’s been bothering me for months!Author: Umm..ok…I reckoned you’d have more pressing questions about the philosophy and theology of this world but…yeah…I don’t know what to tell you right now Mycroft Canner: *WEEPING AND SOBBING INTENSIFIES IN THE BACKGROUND*If you’ve made it this far into the 3rd act of this production, then I welcome you with open arms, my comrade. You’ll like what you find here:• The oddness and over-the-top emotions of all the characters? Still here! Yay! You’ll love it, I know I did. • There’s plenty of weeping and sobbing in here (even several classic Mycroft weeping and sobbing senselessly WHILE on the ground instances. Dominic kind of tried to steal the limelight in this regard though, watch out Mycroft, my dear). It’s all quite lovely indeed. That’s what proper theatre should be like. That good ol’ feeling of slight unease and ridiculousness that you get while watching it. Good stuff! • Let me not forget the pulpit-like speechifying from characters on various topics like philosophy, theology and all sorts of ideology. It was mostly centered around the question of whether to go to war or not. We got to see the reasoning from different perspectives, interesting none-the-less. • We get more exposure to a more derailed Mycroft, our beloved unreliable narrator. I think, atleast to me, he felt more manic and it was gripping. I couldn’t look away sometimesThis time around, it all feels more comfortable to me, the world in which the characters live in, it all makes better sense; the actions and decisions some characters make, their beliefs (some questionable and irksome) but I don’t feel so on the outside watching in with the overly dramatic tone (a character of its own) with these characters. It’s quite natural to me that Saladin will be licking away at Mycroft’s wounds and tears while some important shit is going down. It isn’t as shocking to me when Emperor Cornel Mason decides to savagely kick Mycroft in the ribs instead of the actual person who has made him enraged. This is all totally natural, I’ve had two whole acts to get used to these characters’ sociopathic tendencies and contradictions. They’re all still weird but everything about them is all so riveting. I got some of my desires sated from this act and will be here waiting for the 4th and final act!
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  • Scott
    January 1, 1970
    Ada Palmer has the skills to pay the bills, and with her new book she's packing a full clip, has a 455 under the hood and a full tank of high-octane racing fuel.This is the third book in the Terra Ignota trilogy, and damn, it’s good! Palmer keeps the tension running at eye-watering pace, the politics, bad blood and crimes of the previous two novels coming together in a story that has the intricacy of a Swiss watch.Mycroft Canner, Servicer, one-time sadistic multiple murderer and now servant to t Ada Palmer has the skills to pay the bills, and with her new book she's packing a full clip, has a 455 under the hood and a full tank of high-octane racing fuel.This is the third book in the Terra Ignota trilogy, and damn, it’s good! Palmer keeps the tension running at eye-watering pace, the politics, bad blood and crimes of the previous two novels coming together in a story that has the intricacy of a Swiss watch.Mycroft Canner, Servicer, one-time sadistic multiple murderer and now servant to the most powerful people on Earth. returns as our narrator, showing us Jehovah Mason - visitor from another reality, Cornel MASON - Masonic emperor, Ojiro Sniper- Humanist olympian turned war leader and others as they deal with the revelations of murder and betrayal that arose in Palmer's two earlier novels. War is now inevitable. Centuries of peace are over. Shots haven’t been fired, but guns are loaded, arrows aimed, and fingers tremble with the effort of holding their position against triggers while we, readers get a ringside seat to the fascinating dance of power, fear and anger that is circling the world ever closer to the plughole.Like her previous novels action is not the heart of Palmer's timepiece (although there is action here- big action, bigger than in her prior books), rather the tiny gears of many conversations drive this machine, and what conversations they are! I found myself hanging on every sentence in conversations between the lords of Palmer’s world as they try to stop the war they all know is coming, while at the same time they begin building war machines that will tear their society down to rubble. There's some damn smart stuff in here. Palmer's books are refreshingly different, finding their tension in interesting places and exploring ancient ideas against the background of an advanced, generally harmonious future society. Palmer's background as an historian comes through, with Thomas Hobbes' theories (and even the man himself) blended into the narrative along with the enlightenment thought of Voltaire and others. Ancient Greek thought and culture is also projected onto the canvas of the future, with Achilles (yes, fleet-footed, Myrmidon-leading, Patroclus-loving Achilles himself) resurrected and trying to fit into the future. As the only man alive who has ever experienced war he must choose a side to take when conflict breaks out and his rare skills become indispensable.This dance of ideas, and the way they clash with each other and with the values of a futuristic society are is fascinating to watch, and skilfully done.I was initially a little unsure of her decision to resurrect Achilles as so many authors have revisited the Trojan War (see Dan Simmons’ Olympos for a particularly entertaining example) and I wondered if a classics academic such as Palmer simply couldn’t resist the urge to play with one of literature’s greatest characters, regardless of the wisdom of doing so. I need not have worried. Palmer doesn’t shoe-horn Achilles into a story where he doesn’t belong - rather she makes him an important and natural part of what happens, and his presence fits with the menage of bright future and classical philosophy that underpins her scenario.There is genuine pleasure to be taken here in Palmer's lavishly constructed world, and I found myself soaking up the detail, almost sightseeing as she takes her readers on a tour of her imagination.My only reservation is that I thought The Will to Battle was going to round the story off (instead of setting things up for a fourth novel) so I was a little disappointed that no resolution is reached. I’m veeeery careful about committing to reading such long series, but this one is pure reading pleasure so no regrets so far. Overall I loved this book, and I sucked up its pages like a nineties Britpop band roaring through an ounce of blow. To continue my drug analogy, if I was hooked by Too Like the Lightning and Seven Surrenders then The Will to Battle has made me a slavering addict, greedily eyeing up publishers' lists for my next hit of Palmer's Terra Ignota. I very very rarely order books on spec, but I'll be dropping my hard-earned on Palmer's next book the moment pre-orders open.4.5 stars.
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  • Odo
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5.0
  • Ruth
    January 1, 1970
    The first book in the Terra Ignota series, Too Like the Lightning, was magnificent. It left me deliciously bewildered at every turn, with revelation after revelation illuminating new aspects of the world to me, turning my assumptions on their heads with no warning. This being the third installment in the series, the world is now mostly laid out before the reader, but there are still shattering revelations to be had. Before beginning, I was concerned that my expectations for The Will to Battle we The first book in the Terra Ignota series, Too Like the Lightning, was magnificent. It left me deliciously bewildered at every turn, with revelation after revelation illuminating new aspects of the world to me, turning my assumptions on their heads with no warning. This being the third installment in the series, the world is now mostly laid out before the reader, but there are still shattering revelations to be had. Before beginning, I was concerned that my expectations for The Will to Battle were too high, that I was bound to be disappointed. I should have known better, because Ada Palmer has delivered yet another exquisite and intricately crafted tale. The characters remain complex and fascinating, the action riveting, and the twists never cheap. I eagerly await the publication of both this book, so I can share it with customers, and the final installment, Perhaps the Stars, so I can find out how this brilliant series concludes!(I read this book as an eARC through edelweiss)
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  • Akahayla
    January 1, 1970
    Another good read, but compared to the previous two this one FELT longer. Maybe because of the endless court proceedings and descriptions of god knows how many philosophers. Usually I enjoy books that speak about the law and politics in detail but this book was FILLED with it and it pretty much stretched me out.Still really looking forward to the next book (which is the last one, I think) because of that ending.
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  • Kane
    January 1, 1970
    After the constitutive excellent of the first two of the series, I felt this novel falls a little flat. While in the previous iterations, the plot has felt honed and in a momentous direction, here the story seems to meander around, with only occasional larger events stitching it all together. While Lightning had the Ockham-Saneer bash, and Surrenders had Madame's, the global scope of this book overwhelms when it is thrust upon the reader every chapter, instead of breaking up otherwise familiar l After the constitutive excellent of the first two of the series, I felt this novel falls a little flat. While in the previous iterations, the plot has felt honed and in a momentous direction, here the story seems to meander around, with only occasional larger events stitching it all together. While Lightning had the Ockham-Saneer bash, and Surrenders had Madame's, the global scope of this book overwhelms when it is thrust upon the reader every chapter, instead of breaking up otherwise familiar locations as in the other two books.Introducing the Arctic and Atlantis, both seemingly for major plot points, was a little odd seeing as neither has been mentioned before, unlike the Blacklaw capital which was a rewarding treat. Sniper disappears, then reappears? Granted there is mystery here, but for what stakes?Overall this is a solid book, and respect continuing for Palmer for its creation. The Vatican chapter was a delight, as was the thrilling Prison chapter towards the end. Achilles also was an enjoyable addition, excising the admittedly somewhat duller chapters of Bridger from the other books. But other than this, I can't help but feel the fourth instalment will have to pickup the slack of the series left by Battle, or else run the risk of petering out what was an incredibly strong start.
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  • Nils
    January 1, 1970
    Zwischendurch hatte mich Ada Palmer ab und an verloren, immer wieder blitzen jedoch sehr geniale Ideen und Gedanken durch und entschädigen zusammen mit dem hervorragenden Ende für den doch sehr holperigen Einstieg in den dritten Band der Reihe.
  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    I haven't been able to shut up about these books to literally everyone who knows me. And now they're over.... for now. HMB while I go start Too Like the Lightning again.
  • Maya Chhabra
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed at my blog here: https://mayareadsbooks.wordpress.com/...Ada Palmer’s fiction gets a lot of attention for its voice and ideas, but I think her greatest strength is actually characterization. The Will to Battle features a large ensemble cast and somehow manages to give all the characters devastating and/or moving moments. Structure-wise it’s a bit off (suddenly a lot of things happen in the last quarter that are not resolved) and the engagement with Hobbes simply doesn’t work, but what d Reviewed at my blog here: https://mayareadsbooks.wordpress.com/...Ada Palmer’s fiction gets a lot of attention for its voice and ideas, but I think her greatest strength is actually characterization. The Will to Battle features a large ensemble cast and somehow manages to give all the characters devastating and/or moving moments. Structure-wise it’s a bit off (suddenly a lot of things happen in the last quarter that are not resolved) and the engagement with Hobbes simply doesn’t work, but what do I care when I can wallow in characterization?Furthermore (and this extends the comparison with Hugo I made in my review of Seven Surrenders), her characters, while all in conflict with one another, are mostly of an elevated, well, character. The few base ones stick out, and undoubtedly have a role to play as the true villains of the story (view spoiler)[(though I wish Perry/Kraye would just GO AWAY ALREADY, he’s no fun to read about) (hide spoiler)]. This is made explicit when Mycroft, the narrator (more passive than usual in this book) confronts Thisbe, the woman with whom he raised Bridger. There’s no love lost between them, however, and Mycroft says of her family members, “…Sniper’s a noble creature, and Propero’s a noble creature. They’re all noble creatures, Thisbe, except you, you’re a….You’re a tick…..A tick, and you feed, and you bloat, and you crawl, and you think it makes you something poetic and exciting, like a vampire, and you’re so wrong.”They’re all murderers, Mycroft, Prospero, Sniper, and Thisbe, so the difference isn’t in their deeds but in their–there’s the word again–character, their position on the scale of nobility to baseness. Their motives, and their acceptance of consequences. It reminds me, as I said, of Victor Hugo’s novels, where one must never confuse a Javert with a Thenardier, however much they’re both antagonists.Aside from all that, there’s also some great humor in this book. Achilles, or a version of him, features in this book, and one of the characters has an obvious crush on him. Thus the following bon mot: “‘I know my sister broke your heart, and a rebound is natural, but Achilles? Really? There is such a thing as asking for it!’ Death in the guise of MASON blushed.”I don’t know that this review will convince anyone to read the book–at this point in the series, either you’re thoroughly enjoying yourself or you’re off the hype train. There’s only one book left to go, and I hope it resolves some of the mysteries of this one. Moreover, I can’t wait to read it and immerse myself once more in the world of these fascinating people.
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  • Bjørnar Tuftin
    January 1, 1970
    This is a magnificent series! It has glorious prose, spectacular world-building, amazing intrigue and ... It's so good that I feel bad for not liking it. But fact is just don't. Yes, it's glorious and intricate and imaginative, to me this book was still a slog.I'm not even sure what kept me going. Pure stubbornness and five-nines record of finishing books? (Not actually true, it's two nines and a smidgen.) A hope that it would eventually be worth it? It definitely wasn't a desire to know what wo This is a magnificent series! It has glorious prose, spectacular world-building, amazing intrigue and ... It's so good that I feel bad for not liking it. But fact is just don't. Yes, it's glorious and intricate and imaginative, to me this book was still a slog.I'm not even sure what kept me going. Pure stubbornness and five-nines record of finishing books? (Not actually true, it's two nines and a smidgen.) A hope that it would eventually be worth it? It definitely wasn't a desire to know what would happen to the characters from the first two books. They never seemed real to me, and I never cared for them. When they popped back into the story in this book, for shorter or longer, I never thought "Ah, I was wondering what happened to them." and at the end of the book I'm not thinking "I wonder what will happen in the next." Perhaps with one exception, but they barely appear in the book.Only one thing, I think, could get me to read the next one, and that's a faint hope some or, highly unlikely, all of the mystery will be exposed.If you really enjoyed the first two books, I wouldn't be surprised if you enjoy this one as well, but if you never truly related to the characters, found those to go on for too long about ... well, everything, and/or got annoyed with the sheer ornateness of it all, you should get out now.When I'm giving it an "OK" instead of "didn't like it", it's based on it feeling less of a slog for the last 25% of the book, but there's a non-zero chance that this, at least in part, was induced by the end being in sight.
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  • Aisha Mayken
    January 1, 1970
    I feel conflicted about this book. I really wanted to like it but I just didn't. There were some amazing moments that gave me hope that eventually, things would turn around but they never did. And those moments were just not enough to redeem the novel as a whole. Palmer writes what she knows. History and Philosophy are her thing. In the previous novels, TLTL and SS, Palmer managed to find a balance between her love of writing about these subjects and her desire to tell a good story. In TWTB she I feel conflicted about this book. I really wanted to like it but I just didn't. There were some amazing moments that gave me hope that eventually, things would turn around but they never did. And those moments were just not enough to redeem the novel as a whole. Palmer writes what she knows. History and Philosophy are her thing. In the previous novels, TLTL and SS, Palmer managed to find a balance between her love of writing about these subjects and her desire to tell a good story. In TWTB she completely abandons the art of storytelling and spends the entire novel philosophizing. This book felt Rand-like with bloated dialogue that read like a manifesto to validate an ideal rather than a meaningful exchange of ideas. It felt dense and unfocused. The long blocks of text that tempted me to skim, the interruptions of Hobbes and Dear Reader, the circling of an idea but no forward progress of thought made this a tough book to get through. There is a moment where JEDD holds the world's leaders captivated as he philosophizes. They are literally at war and everyone is held in stasis as they listen to his words. This moment sums up all I felt was wrong with this book. Palmer holds the plot in stasis in order to philosophize when the moment desperately needed movement.
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  • Tzu-Mainn Chen
    January 1, 1970
    "Terra Ignota" is a series best enjoyed once you accept the fact that there's no way in hell you can anticipate what's going to happen. Palmer slaps you in the face with grandeurs and philosophies and absurdities, until the sheer thickness and spread of ideas turns her novels into something abstract and surreal.This isn't a criticism. Once I stopped trying to unravel labyrinthine plot threads, I enjoyed her books far more. It was with this mindset that I read "Will to Battle", and I enjoyed this "Terra Ignota" is a series best enjoyed once you accept the fact that there's no way in hell you can anticipate what's going to happen. Palmer slaps you in the face with grandeurs and philosophies and absurdities, until the sheer thickness and spread of ideas turns her novels into something abstract and surreal.This isn't a criticism. Once I stopped trying to unravel labyrinthine plot threads, I enjoyed her books far more. It was with this mindset that I read "Will to Battle", and I enjoyed this story of the near-utopian future Earth slowly girding for war. It is not substantially different from the previous novels in the series, so you should probably already know whether you'll feel the same way or not.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    The scope, imagination, complexity, and beauty of Ada Palmer's writing continues to blow my mind. There are no other books like these books. I have no coherent review to articulate here, other than to say everyone should read the Terra Ignota series and that I am desperately excited for the release of the final volume.
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  • ambyr
    January 1, 1970
    Me: I finishedMe: I can't really keysmash on a phone, so you'll just have to imagine itBoyfriend: HehehBoyfriend: Cliffhanger for book 4?Me: I don't think cliffhanger is the right wordMe: More, I am now lying in a smashed and broken heap at the base of the cliffOr, wait, I'm at a real keyboard now: uygehkflishgruieosyht78awy3 WHAT DID I JUST READ?I have so many questions right now (including, notably, about population demographics: cross-referencing some numbers mentioned here with numbers from Me: I finishedMe: I can't really keysmash on a phone, so you'll just have to imagine itBoyfriend: HehehBoyfriend: Cliffhanger for book 4?Me: I don't think cliffhanger is the right wordMe: More, I am now lying in a smashed and broken heap at the base of the cliffOr, wait, I'm at a real keyboard now: uygehkflishgruieosyht78awy3 WHAT DID I JUST READ?I have so many questions right now (including, notably, about population demographics: cross-referencing some numbers mentioned here with numbers from Too Like the Lightning produces some interesting conundrums), but I will wait patiently for Perhaps the Stars and trust Palmer will answer (some of) them.
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  • Swuun
    January 1, 1970
    Mind. Blown.Again.These books are not like anything else out there, and reading them is a ride and a half - the ultimate unreliable narrator, world-shaking events, twists and turns and meta-narrative (the book itself is an important plot point in the book and also the unreliable narrator is currently authoring the preceding volumes and. Yeah. It's a LOT.It's the kind of rare book where reading it becomes more real than reality - seeping into my dreams, making my sleep restless with premonitions Mind. Blown.Again.These books are not like anything else out there, and reading them is a ride and a half - the ultimate unreliable narrator, world-shaking events, twists and turns and meta-narrative (the book itself is an important plot point in the book and also the unreliable narrator is currently authoring the preceding volumes and. Yeah. It's a LOT.It's the kind of rare book where reading it becomes more real than reality - seeping into my dreams, making my sleep restless with premonitions of war and half-glimpsed marvels while my brain's own take on the characters argued back and forth... And that's really all I have the words for right now because. Mind. BLOWN. (I cannot wait for the sequel!)
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  • Chris Starr
    January 1, 1970
    Something keeps me reading this series despite the absolutely annoying writing style. the world that is created in this series is intriguing, and I am interested in it. However, the way it is presented through an egotistical narrator, or "chronicler", is annoying as hell and makes it very painful at times to read.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    This series remains exceptional both in inciting serious contemplation and in terms of pure enjoyment. It is at heart a book of Big Ideas -- all character choices, plot twists, and world-building are in service to that, rather than (at times) a straight narrative -- and ambitious in its concerted attempts to provoke intellectual responses. It requires, even *demands*, attention and active engagement from the reader. Yet despite meandering tangents into philosophy and theodicy, in which it ravish This series remains exceptional both in inciting serious contemplation and in terms of pure enjoyment. It is at heart a book of Big Ideas -- all character choices, plot twists, and world-building are in service to that, rather than (at times) a straight narrative -- and ambitious in its concerted attempts to provoke intellectual responses. It requires, even *demands*, attention and active engagement from the reader. Yet despite meandering tangents into philosophy and theodicy, in which it ravishes on recognizable Big Thinkers from our history, (and in some part because of those tangents) I find these books to be just plain fun. They are utterly ridiculous on a grand scale and yet self-aware of this fact. Each page is an absolute delight to read: because of the wry asides, the nerdy in-jokes, the gimmicks of language and narration, the strange juxtaposition of disparate (and warped) historical contexts, the beautiful prose, the constant twists and surprises, the way it attempts to disarm at every turn.However, as the third book in the series, I'm only now comfortable enough with the world and its cornucopia of strange elements, to feel like I have a good idea of where exactly the story is going and what it's trying to accomplish (although I won't claim to definitively know either). Thus, more than previous books, I felt greater annoyance and unease at parts, even while happily immersing myself in the world. Some ranting to follow (that I may edit later upon further consideration), but I do want to reiterate how important it is that this ranting is in the context of how much I do truly enjoy these books, and that they raise such Big Questions to begin with. (I like a book I can chew on a bit... Much worse is a book that gives me nothing greater to think about or react to!)In particular, the commitment to dealing in absolutes -- in either/or, all or nothing scenarios -- is quite vexing. Characters are always claiming perfect infallible knowledge in some area or another, and while often I'm willing to suspend disbelief as required by future scifi as a genre (how OS calculates its targets for example), the sheer ubiquity of this tendency is too much for me. I refuse to believe many of these claims are as set in stone, or as devoid of impossible to calculate variables, as the narrative itself is trying to get me to believe. No one likes a trolley problem, not really, because there's no good "right" answer of course, but also because there's a finite set of absolute choices. The world isn't like that, or at least not at the scale with the amount of moving pieces that events in this book happen. Human nature is complicated, social problems are complicated, and no amount of opaque Brillist or Utopian superiority of knowledge will convince me otherwise. "Would you destroy the world to create a better one" just doesn't ring as valid question; there's always a third path. Why is it so damning that one entomologist wants to stay home with their family (while still committing their life to furthering research on ants!), when there's still a second entomologist willing and able to give up their life otherwise (essentially) to venture to Mars? The glory of humanity is that the second exists at all! This isn't even touching on the peculiar problem of JEDD Mason, that all the world's power would ever ever be safe in one person's hands, even if (or *especially* because) they claim to be a God.Anyway, as you can tell, this past week I pretty much drowned myself in this book -- even when I wasn't reading it I was thinking about it most waking hours in some portion of my mind -- which is the absolute highlight of what I want in a novel, despite concerns. I'm very eager to discover what awaits in the alluringly named "Perhaps the Stars"!
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  • Standback
    January 1, 1970
    Loved loved loved The Will To Battle. Some broad impressions:Book 2, Seven Surrenders, felt like something of a dip to me -- I feel like Too Like The Lightning set a bunch of dominoes up, and Seven Surrenders was rather straightforwardly watching them all fall -- but this is back to what I absolutely love.It creates a cast of Leviathans, so it can show us how those Leviathans -- like our Leviathans -- interact. Most stories tend to ignore the immense social dynamics that Leviathans represent, or Loved loved loved The Will To Battle. Some broad impressions:Book 2, Seven Surrenders, felt like something of a dip to me -- I feel like Too Like The Lightning set a bunch of dominoes up, and Seven Surrenders was rather straightforwardly watching them all fall -- but this is back to what I absolutely love.It creates a cast of Leviathans, so it can show us how those Leviathans -- like our Leviathans -- interact. Most stories tend to ignore the immense social dynamics that Leviathans represent, or to leave them unchallenged -- because they're so sweeping and make it really hard for any one character to "make a difference". The Will to Battle (and Terra Ignota in general) puts those Leviathans front and center; the dynamics are exactly what the book is about.Terra Ignota somehow manages to create characters who represent aspects of those Leviathans, without actually being them. That's a lot of the point -- the characters might be exaggerated, with might beyond imagining, but they still can't control how society works. And so much of the book's beauty is how the characters, so exaggerated and mighty, are also portrayed as kind and responsible people, worthy of our respect. It's such a kind and tragic book -- people can be deeply good, and try their best, and do everything in their (considerable) power, and it still isn't enough to prevent horror, to fend off death.Each one of the powers is intensely well-intentioned. All of them are happy to cooperate, to concede, as much as they possibly can. There is absolutely no claim to be made that goes "these problems we're having are all the fault of those bad people." Nope. The problem isn't easily-blamable bad actors. You need to acknowledge the Leviathans.And that just... does so much for me. Seeing people trying to cooperate, but each of them can only go so far before crossing an uncrossable line. (view spoiler)[There's only one person willing to make whatever sacrifices are necessary in order to fix the world. That person is J.E.D.D. Mason, and that is truly terrifying. And even he finds that the willingness to do whatever is necessary, alienates him from the world he wants to help. (hide spoiler)]It's... I can't even. It's perfect.Some minor, scattered points:(view spoiler)[* I loved nods and winks right from the first pages, in the cast of characters.* I loved re-visiting familiar characters in new circumstances. Ancelet as Humanist President; Ockham Saneer as deposed but loyal O.S., Thisbe and Ganymede * Nothing in the world is as delightful, as quintessentially Mycroft and Terra Ignota, as the last chapter's "I'm sorry, reader, Mycroft is dead," followed immediately by "Alas, reader, no I'm not." (hide spoiler)]
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  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    First book of 2018!I loved the first two books of this tetralogy; though there were many flaws, the great, wonderful, and magnificent outweighed the flaws. But this time, I think the flaws won the day. The "Dear reader" became too annoying. Thomas Hobbes was an important presence in book 2; in this book, Hobbes is so important that he becomes a character. Not quite a character, an equivalent to the "dear reader," or possibly just a hallucination of Mycroft Canner, the narrator. That was just a s First book of 2018!I loved the first two books of this tetralogy; though there were many flaws, the great, wonderful, and magnificent outweighed the flaws. But this time, I think the flaws won the day. The "Dear reader" became too annoying. Thomas Hobbes was an important presence in book 2; in this book, Hobbes is so important that he becomes a character. Not quite a character, an equivalent to the "dear reader," or possibly just a hallucination of Mycroft Canner, the narrator. That was just a step too far. And there's another character who, unless I'm grossly misreading it, is also a hallucination. I may recant in a week, after The Will To Battle has had time to sink in. But for now, The Will To Battle is a disappointment.Like a Jenga tower that slowly collapses as the players pull out the supporting blocks, some choosing well, some ill, but each one hoping that the tower will remain standing, so the world gradually collapses into the war of all against all. But enough with the epic similes, already. One consequence of a quirky style is that it gets tiring. There are authors, like Pynchon, who can write whole books in the style of another era. But after Pynchon wrote Mason & Dixon, he left the 18th century behind. He didn't try to maintain it through a tetralogy. That's wisdom.There are plenty of decisions to delay the war or mitigate its consequences, but the war happens. And in the worst possible way. As wars will. That's the substance of the book: it's an exploration of the lead-up to a world war. It's about the failures of trust, the inevitable spiral of hatred, and the lust for the blood of enemies--especially if those enemies are ill-defined. And it's about how a war is fought in a society that, after several hundred years of peace, is completely unprepared for it. The working thesis for this book is that, like a fire in a forest that hasn't burned ... (there I go again) .. well, anyway, going without war for several hundred years is going to make the inevitable next war inconceivably worse. We'll have to wait for the fourth volume to find out.I'm not as angry or cranky as I sound. It's fairly normal for the middle books of a series to be a let-down; and Palmer definitely beat the odds in the second book, Seven Surrenders. She doesn't here. And disappointment was probably inevitable: after all, we knew at the end of Surrenders that the world was lurching towards war. Writing 350 or so pages about events that are inevitable is a tough project. There is room for surprise, but it's limited; certain things have to happen, the overall trajectory is a given, and the only room for surprise is in the details. Surrenders and Lightning are full of wonders; Will to Battle isn't. There's no room for a child who can bring toys to life, or a God from another universe. That Deity is very present, conversing with his Peer, but in the end, he's just another puzzled ruler who doesn't know what he's going to do. There's barely room for a Madame who sows chaos because she can, for Thisbe Saneer, for Cato Weeksbooth, or even for Ockham (all of whom will almost certainly reappear in the final volume).I will certainly, absolutely read the fourth when it comes out. So should you. And you need to read The Will To Battle to get there. Life's tough.One more thing. The Will To Battle compelled me to dig up a copy of a Hobbes' Leviathan. Which I may or may not have read when I took a political science course in college. And I may or may not read it before the final book comes out. But you should.
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  • Alex Sarll
    January 1, 1970
    Too Like The Lightning showed us one of science fiction's most alluring futures; Seven Surrenders played Jenga with it. And The Will To Battle covers months, but they all equate to that moment of indrawn breath as you can see the whole thing is about to come crashing down, but don't yet know quite how badly, or where the pieces will land. None of the world's leaders want war, initially at least; everyone is doing their best to ensure that when it comes, it will be minimally damaging to civilisat Too Like The Lightning showed us one of science fiction's most alluring futures; Seven Surrenders played Jenga with it. And The Will To Battle covers months, but they all equate to that moment of indrawn breath as you can see the whole thing is about to come crashing down, but don't yet know quite how badly, or where the pieces will land. None of the world's leaders want war, initially at least; everyone is doing their best to ensure that when it comes, it will be minimally damaging to civilisation's achievements. But that breeds its own problems when technology has come so far and only one person on Earth has ever warred before - assuming you even consider him a person. There is incident here, but there's more debate - it's the only time in fiction that I ever recall being annoyed at the abandonment of a filibuster I was looking forward to reading in full. Characters who had hitherto seemed grand - this was a series where one had favourites, but very few of the cast could not be at least respected - are revealed as ridiculous, petty or simply unequal to the moment. And the narrator, poor brilliant, murderous Mycroft Canner? His flights of fancy grow wilder, the fourth wall tattier, as he too becomes emotionally overwhelmed by it all. Not at all an easy read, but absolutely a worthwhile one.
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  • Cassandra
    January 1, 1970
    This book series is super ambitious, but it keeps paying off. Ada Palmer commits 100% to her characters and the world that she's built, so that even when things are super weird, they feel like they fit. Nothing is shoehorned in — the story is constructed around the important elements. She's not afraid to make big changes or pivot the story in dramatic ways when it is the thing that fits. I was surprised that there will be a fourth book, but I like that we paused here in the pre-war intrigue for This book series is super ambitious, but it keeps paying off. Ada Palmer commits 100% to her characters and the world that she's built, so that even when things are super weird, they feel like they fit. Nothing is shoehorned in — the story is constructed around the important elements. She's not afraid to make big changes or pivot the story in dramatic ways when it is the thing that fits. I was surprised that there will be a fourth book, but I like that we paused here in the pre-war intrigue for a while.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    The story of this Earth 500 years into the future continues, and is told just as skilfully than in the first two books - same darkness and all, too. Perhaps some apprehension is creeping in as well now, watching the world and characters I grew attached to (sometimes despite myself) fraying at the edges so. Great worldbuilding.
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  • Nick Imrie
    January 1, 1970
    Terra Ignota is such a glorious sprawl of a story that I have a tough time knowing what on earth I can say about it. It's bewildering - made more so by narrator Mycroft Canner's descend into madness. If he wasn't unreliable enough as a narrator, now we can't even be sure who he's speaking to! Bring on 9A!
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  • Dan Becker
    January 1, 1970
    An astounding work of fiction - and philosophy. Beautiful, intensely rich language. Be warned: this isn’t a beach read - you’ll be so absorbed you’ll forget to sunscreen and get burned. No, this is a keep you up reading way too late book.
  • Moonglum
    January 1, 1970
    There are many things to love in this third novel in the Terra Ignota series, not the least being getting to dwell in the world of the Palmer's 25th centry for while. Also, one scene near the end contains a giant list of Utopian names. I keep thinking up Utopian names to use on my badge at this year's Armadillo con. Ansible Hawking? Stardust Ashpool? Ziggy LeGuin? The only problem is that the first novel was so filled with fantastic, new ideas, and the second with the resolution of so many of th There are many things to love in this third novel in the Terra Ignota series, not the least being getting to dwell in the world of the Palmer's 25th centry for while. Also, one scene near the end contains a giant list of Utopian names. I keep thinking up Utopian names to use on my badge at this year's Armadillo con. Ansible Hawking? Stardust Ashpool? Ziggy LeGuin? The only problem is that the first novel was so filled with fantastic, new ideas, and the second with the resolution of so many of the mysteries set up in the first book, that one wants this third novel to include both deeper mysteries, and greater wonder. I don't know how a mortal science fiction writer could do that, but I had high expectations.
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  • Pau Fita
    January 1, 1970
    Es difícil intentar definir estos libros así que no voy a intentarlo. Simplemente decir que me siguen encantando y que si bien esta tercera entrega quizás empiece un poco mas floja, rápidamente remonta y te deja pegado leyéndo. Hay que tener arte para que cuando a la narración se "le va la olla" en temas filosóficos y morales siga enganchando tanto.
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