ARC Review: The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky

When a woman with perfect memory sets out to solve a riddle, the threads she tugs on could bring a whole city crashing down. The God-King who made her is at risk, and his other servants will do anything to stop her.

To become the God-King’s Amanuensis, Manet had to master all seven perfections, developing her body and mind to the peak of human performance. She remembers everything that has happened to her, in absolute clarity, a gift that will surely drive her mad. But before she goes, Manet must unravel a secret which threatens not only the carefully prepared myths of the God-King’s ascent, but her own identity and the nature of truth itself. 

I was so intrigued when I first saw this premise but what really made me wanna read this book was that very painting like beautiful cover. And this one has definitely surprised me.

I’ve read only a few short stories and other works which are written in second person, and I have come to distinctly associate it with N. K. Jemisin. But it was such a surprise to see such creative use of this writing style in this novella. While the story itself stays close to the premise that is mentioned on GR, the way the author goes about it is very unique and really did have me thinking hard on trying to connect the dots. It’s all a one sided conversation with many many unusual characters, and we have to rely on the shaky and unreliable memories of these people to try and figure out what’s going on. We don’t get the protagonist’s POV at all, so it was very interesting to try and get to understand her motivations. 

There is also an underlying theme about revolution, what happens after it is successful, are the legends that are borne out of it always truthful or merely exaggerated, and do the general public really need to know the actual truth or just the manufactured one that keeps them content. It’s also very interesting to see how memories change over time, what and how we try to remember them and what it really says about us. 

To conclude though, despite all this interesting stuff, I wasn’t satisfied with the story and would have preferred if it was a longer book so that we could have gotten to know the world a little more and just gotten more answers in general. The ending is also slightly open ended and I’m not usually a fan. However, I would still recommend this novella just to experience something so fascinating and singular. 

PS: Thank you to and Netgalley for providing me with this advance review copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.

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