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Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch Book 1) Kindle Edition

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Length: 397 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


Thrilling, moving and awe-inspiring Guardian Signals the arrival of a hard science fiction author who just might fill the gap left by Iain M. Banks. Ancillary Justice is a highly original novel ... an intelligent slow-burner. Highly recommended Independent on Sunday You will be truly astounded at how Leckie has fully fleshed out a universe and is asking and attempting to answer the difficult questions that many authors never even address in science fiction Buzzfeed Unexpected, compelling and very cool - Ann Leckie nails it. I've never met a heroine like Breq before. I consider this a very good thing indeed -- John Scalzi (Hugo Award-winning author of REDSHIRTS) Total gamechanger. Get it, read it, wish to hell you'd written it. Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice may well be the most important book Orbit have published in ages -- Paul Graham Raven Establishes Leckie as an heir to Banks and Cherryh -- Elizabeth Bear It's not every day a debut novel by an author you'd never heard of before derails your entire afternoon with its brilliance -- Liz Bourke Using the format of a SF military adventure blended with hints of space opera, Leckie explores the expanded meaning of human nature and the uneasy balance between individuality and membership in a group identity. Leckie is a newcomer to watch Library Journal (starred review) Leckie's novel cast of characters serves her well-plotted story nicely. This is an altogether promising debut Kirkus Our #1 pick for the year's best science fiction or fantasy book ... this Iain M. Banks-esque tale was the book that made us most excited about the future of science fiction in 2013 It engages, it excites, and it challenges the way the reader views our world. Leckie may be a former Secretary of the Science Fiction Writers of America, but she's the President of this year's crop of debut novelists. Ancillary Justice might be the best science fiction novel of this very young decade -- Justin Landon Staffer's Book Review The sort of book that the Clarke Award wishes it had last year ... be prepared to see Ancillary Justice bandied around a lot come awards season. (As it should be) -- Jared Shurin Pornokitsch Leckie uses familiar set pieces-an expansionist galaxy-spanning empire, a protagonist on a single-minded quest for justice-to transcend space-opera conventions in innovative ways. This impressive debut succeeds in making Breq a protagonist readers will invest in, and establishes Leckie as a talent to watch closely Publisher's Weekly Leckie's debut gives casual and hardcore sci-fi fans alike a wonderful read RT Book Reviews First rate, rollicking space-opera with plenty of action, intrigue and adventure ... a fabulous debut The Skiffy and Fanty Show A sharply written space opera ... tackling ideas about politics and gender in a way that's both engaging and provacative ... a gripping read that's well worth a look -- Saxon Bullock SFX Magazine

About the Author

The author of many published science fiction short stories, Ann Leckie lives in St Louis, Missouri, with her husband, children and cats. She's currently the Secretary for the SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America). You can find her website at or chat to her on twitter at @Ann_Leckie.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1475 KB
  • Print Length: 397 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (October 1, 2013)
  • Publication Date: October 1, 2013
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,570 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

231 of 258 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
There are echoes of C.J. Cherryh, Iain Banks, and Frank Herbert in Ancillary Justice. The novel is both familiar and fresh. The writing is powerful and tense. The plot -- about which I will say little, lest I risk spoiling it -- is intelligent and surprising.

The Radchaii are human but they consider themselves superior to other humans. The Lord of the Radch, Anaander Mianaai, controls Radch space with the help of thousands of genetically identical, linked bodies. Extra bodies seem handy (wish I had some) but they prove to have unforeseen consequences. The Radch rule by conquest, annexing other human worlds and forcing their inhabitants to join the Radch or to surrender their bodies to be used as ancillaries, otherwise known as corpse soldiers (an ancient practice that has been mostly abandoned). They justify their actions with the belief that they are imposing order and justice on the universe. They control annexed planets by coopting the privileged class, allowing them to retain their social status provided they embrace the Radch. The one exception is Garsedd, a planet the Radch destroyed because the Garseddai posed a threat the Radch could not tolerate.

The protagonist of Ancillary Justice, having been manufactured by the Radchaai, is sometimes a ship called Justice of Toren, sometimes an ancillary called One Esk, sometimes other ancillaries. As the novel begins, however, the protagonist is called Breq. All of those identities should be the same, but Justice of Toren/One Esk/Breq is having an identity crisis. No longer endowed with the abilities of an AI, Breq has the weaknesses of a human ... without quite being human. In the first pages, Breq saves a Radchaai named Seivarden (who once served on Justice of Toren) from hypothermia.
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102 of 119 people found the following review helpful By H. P. on October 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Ancillary Justice is nothing if not ambitious. The main character is the remainder of a self-aware starship capable of diffuse thought through dozens of reanimated human shells, the story takes place in parallel over two time periods, scenes sometimes switch between locations paragraph-to-paragraph, and the main society has very, um, different views on gender.

In the present timeline, she is Breq, to outsiders seemingly human. In the flashback timeline, she is Justice of Toren, a self-aware troop transport starship manned by human lieutenants and an army of reanimated human shells (called ancillaries, hence the title, or referred to derisively as corpse soldiers) that are also each her.

Leckie has created a world that allows her to play around with gender extensively. Not because she's created an escapist fantasy where inconvenient gender differences are ignored, but because she has used the possibilities of science fiction to change all the rules. The Radchaii don't have gendered pronouns (the narrative used female pronouns) and evidently, through advanced science, blur biological gender lines freely (and Breq remains thoroughly confused by the idea). But it's really language that Leckie is playing with, and it's the reader, not the characters, who is more effected. It would be hard to overemphasize how much of a mind-screw it is to not know the gender of characters. The mind keeps trying to shove characters into predetermined boxes, until finally it relents and admits it doesn't matter for the story Leckie is telling.

Ancillary Justice is firmly in the space opera sub-genre, with self-aware starships whose engines burn hotter than stars, invisible guns, and internally stored armor. There is an ice-covered planet and a swampy one.
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155 of 187 people found the following review helpful By Brian A. Schar VINE VOICE on June 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was excited to download this novel, because based on the description it had everything I liked - high space opera, unique concepts, and big scope. I won't bore you by repeating the plot summary already provided for this book. It sounded like something different.

To some extent it was. One of the things that gets a lot of discussion is the gender neutrality of the book, and the use of the term "she" to describe everyone. It's different and interesting. And, given that Breq is a humanoid instantiation of the AI that ran the ship Justice of Toren, one would expect Breq to have a much different view of gender, and to place much less emphasis on it, than biological humans born into one gender or another. However, at some point the novelty wears off. We learn the gender of some characters, but not others. Why? There's no rhyme or reason as to why it's apparently important to know in certain instances but not in other instances. In addition, there is no reason why Breq wouldn't note the gender of another person to him/herself in the same manner that he/she would note the color of the walls, without ascribing any more significance than that to the fact.

However, the real flaw in this novel, and the reason why I gave it 2 stars instead of 4, is the pacing. This book is badly paced. Period. Act 1 takes up the first half of this book. And not a lot happens in Act 1. It's talky, and stuff happens, but for no apparent reason, and there is no narrative drive for anyone to do anything. "Languid" might be the most descriptive word for Act 1. Then a lot of stuff happens all at once. So I got excited, but then not a lot else happens for a while.
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