Friday, May 6, 2016

Review: Ancillary Sword

I read Leckie's Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch), and I loved it so much I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series, Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch). While I can't see that Ancillary Sword had the same driving energy and intense plot as Ancillary Justice, I loved Breq's interactions with her ship and crew, as well as the deeper look the author gives us at the rich world she's built. The brief glimpses Leckie shows us of the world outside the Radch, especially the alien Presger, give the reader enticing hints about the deep conflict that looms over all of human civilization.

However, I can see why this book was less satisfying to some fans than the original. Unlike the previous book, Breq's goals and actions in this book feel smaller, more provincial, and perhaps more indirect and frustrating. Yet, given Radchaai philosophy about how small, even seemingly insignificant actions can have a profound effect on the universe, it felt appropriate to Breq's character that she would seek out one of the few people in the universe who has personal meaning to her. What's more, Breq's encounter with the Presger ambassador felt like an important moment, even if its meaning won't be understand until later.

I did miss some of the characters from the first book--Seivarden could have had a larger role certainly, and even the loathsome Anaander Mianaai. Yet I did enjoy the new characters she introduces, including Lieutenant Tisarwat, one of the only humans who can understand what Breq's isolation.

Overall, I enjoyed this book enough to recommend it, especially to fans of the series. It is not a stand alone though, so make sure you read Ancillary Justice first. I've already ordered the last book in the series, Ancillary Mercy (Imperial Radch), off of Amazon, and I can't wait to read it.

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