Embassytown lies on a planet on the edge of explored space; the natives of the planet, the Ariekei, have useful technology for trade. The Ariekei language can only be spoken by a few altered humans, the Ambassadors. Avice Benner Cho is part of the Ariekei language as a simile. She leaves Embassytown for years, and returns with her husband, who is a scholar of languages and is interested in the Ariekei language. A new Ambassador arrives, and things begin to go badly wrong. Avice finds herself in the middle of the crisis. The book is in the first person, from Avice’s point of view. The nature of language is a theme throughout the book; the Ariekei language is unique. The beginning of the book has chapters Formerly and Latterly(?); they eventually converge and action continues from there.
I’m not sure if I liked this book or not; I did finish it and didn’t really stall out reading it. I don’t know if I liked Avice very much, but she was interesting to read about. I thought the worldbuilding was good; the aliens were indeed alien, and the way the Ambassadors worked was interesting. I was not sure about the ending. The bulk of the book was world-building, building up to the catastrophe, during the catastrophe, and the catastrophe’s resolution. I think I would have liked to see a little more of the aftermath. Also, one of the side characters that I was interested in just faded out of the story.