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The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles, by Malka Older

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Mossa and Pleiti are back.

And unfortunately for them, their fellow citizens of the floating settlements above Jupiter–and its moons–are disappearing again. It’s up to Mossa to find them, or at least to figure out where they’ve gone, and university politics have reached enough of an unappealing fever pitch that Pleiti is all too glad to spend the time helping her instead. Even if it means going to Io, where everything is–gasp–stuck to the ground, and modes of transport are–oh horrors–not on rails but free form at the operator’s discretion. Who knows what might happen in a place like that. (Well, Mossa knows. She’s from there.)

I’m on the fence about whether I think this would work as well for people who hadn’t read The Mimicking of Known Successes. There’s a lot of characterization and worldbuilding in that volume that carries through into this one, and at such a short length there’s not really room to do everything again at full length. On the other hand, if you’re ready to pick up details by incluing I think it’s all there. On the other other hand, the first one is still in print and is quite short. So if you want to go get the feel for this detective relationship above Jupiter and where their bumps and uncertainties–with the world and with each other–are coming from, it’s not a huge time commitment. But if you haven’t reread the first one since it came out, Older will definitely remind you who’s who and what’s what as you go. I feel like the series is only getting better as it goes on, so to me it’s worth the time to read both.

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