An intriguing start to a new sci-fi series
This was my first book by Malka Older and the cover and title brought me to it. I’m a sucker for that kind of title and this one has a really nice ring to it. I hadn’t heard of the author before though now her 2016 science-fiction political thriller Infomocracy is on my TBR.
Set on a gas-giant planet (think Jupiter or Saturn), The Mimicking of Known Successes is a cosy murder mystery and a slow-burn second-chance romance. The sudden disappearance of a man causes Investigator Mossa to reconnect with her ex, scholar Pleiti, five years after they broke up. The two of them have gone on to lead very different lives after university but the connection remains, even if they haven’t seen each other in years.
The prologue is told from Mossa’s POV, then we move to Pleiti’s, which I loved. Mossa is a fascinating character, with a very quick mind and an unparalleled capacity to process puzzles. Because the story is told from her point of view and in the first person, we know how Pleiti feels but not so much who she is, especially as Mossa’s return has a tornado-like quality and Pleiti finds herself assisting her with her investigation, very much the Watson to Mossa’s Holmes. Will we get to know more of Pleiti in her natural environment in the next book, The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles, coming out in February 2024? Or will Mossa’s world become hers? Either way, I’m looking forward to more.
Besides the characters, I also liked the worldbuilding very much, though I’m not sure I was able to really see what it’s supposed to look like but that’s not unusual for me. I don’t see, I feel. And I did feel here. Not the angsty feelings I usually look for, but rather something akin to curiosity. About this new world intent on bringing back the old one, about the society’s dynamics, and, obviously, about the characters. I want more of these two and I look forward to the sequel. The ending of this novella didn’t leave me unsatisfied and it can be read as a standalone but it whetted my appetite for more. 4 stars.