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Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch) Paperback – October 1, 2013
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"If you don't know the Ancillary series by now, you probably should. Ann Leckie's sociopolitical space opera almost singlehandedly breathed new cool into the stereotype of spaceships trundling through far-off systems amid laser battles. ... [Ancillary Mercy] earns the credit it's received: As a capstone to a series that shook genre expectations, as our closing installment of an immersively realized world, and as the poignant story of a ship that learned to sing."―NPR Books on Ancillary Mercy
"Powerful."―The New York Times on Ancillary Sword
"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
"Ancillary Justice is the mind-blowing space opera you've been needing...This is a novel that will thrill you like the page-turner it is, but stick with you for a long time afterward."―i09.com (included in 'This Fall's Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books')
"It's not every day a debut novel by an author you'd never heard of before derails your entire afternoon with its brilliance. But when my review copy of Ancillary Justice arrived, that's exactly what it did. In fact, it arrowed upward to reach a pretty high position on my list of best space opera novels ever."―Liz Bourke, Tor.com
"Establishes Leckie as an heir to Banks and Cherryh."―Elizabeth Bear
"A double-threaded narrative proves seductive, drawing the reader into the naive but determined protagonist's efforts to transform an unjust universe. Leckie uses...an expansionist galaxy-spinning empire [and] 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."―Publishers Weekly
"By turns thrilling, moving and awe-inspiring."―The Guardian
"Leckie does a very good job of setting this complex equation up... This is an altogether promising debut."―Kirkus
"Using the format of 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 as she expands on the history and future of her new and exciting universe."―Library Journal
"Leckie's debut gives casual and hardcore sci-fi fans alike a wonderful read."―RT Book Reviews
"A sharply written space opera with a richly imagined sense of detail and place, this debut novel from Ann Leckie works as both an evocative science fiction tale and an involving character study...it's also a strongly female-driven piece, tackling ideas about politics and gender in a way that's both engaging and provocative...Ancillary Justice is a gripping read that's well worth a look."―SFX (UK)
"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
"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
"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
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Top customer reviews
It's an intelligent read with lots of cool SF aspects and steady character development. My only big criticism is the pacing of this novel. There were times in the middle and latter half of the book that I wanted to give up on it. It just wasn't moving forward at a rewarding pace and at times felt bogged down in the details and traveling. (And now that I say that, perhaps that makes it Tolkien-esque, which could be a high compliment, I suppose.)
A thoroughly developed, original book, but I sometimes found it challenging to stay invested in the story. 3.75 to 4 stars.
The book is well-written, but I didn't always understand the world or what was going in the main character's mind. This would be a fatal flaw in another genre, but in sci fi I consider it a positive feature. I enjoy being dropped into an unknown world and trying to figure out what's going on. Good sci fi writers give you enough, but not too much, to let you figure that out yourself. Because of this, I will also enjoy reading this book a second time some day.
The author does an amazing job with the the main character and her/his unique aspects. The author discusses this challenge in the interview included at the back of the book. I can't imagine trying to write a character with "not only a huge ship for a body, but also thousands of human bodies all seeing and hearing and doing things at once." As well as depicting what it's like for that same character to later be confined into one mind in one body. But the author masterfully pulls it off with apparent ease.
This reminds me of the Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, especially the later books, as I understand them to be. (I've only read the first two in that saga, which are more action-packed. The later books are more about relationships and intrigue, it seems. I couldn't get into them; unlike Ancillary Justice, which I devoured.)
I've ordered the second book, Ancillary Sword, and I'm eagerly awaiting its arrival. I'm expecting that the next books might include a lot more about the enemy Presger (sshh, don't tell me, I hate spoilers).
There is this whole dismantling of gender identification which is, although at first really off putting, ultimately a fascinating sort of experiment in forcing the reader to perceive the characters in a way they haven't before. I couldn't stop self reflecting on my difficulty getting past this; that made for an interesting reading experience for me.
Then there is the whole concept of Ancillaries and the main character recounting events from multiple POVs at once. Very cool.
And yet I never felt enveloped by any of it due to strangely bland and often cryptic internal monologues by the main character. A character who walks an inexplicably fine line between behaving like a machine intelligence and an emotionally charged and vengeful human: a concept in machine evolution that no effort was made to explain.
Add to this a truly interesting plot flawed by a climax in which nothing much happens (no real badassery, just the potential for it?) and I feel a bit spritzed on after this one... when every indication of the first 40% or so felt like it was going to be a tidal wave.
I understand why it has received the acclaim and recognition it did, I think this is her first book too. But it was a bit lightweight for me. Not much interested in reading the next one. Gonna go see if there's any more Alastair Reynolds I've missed :-)
So, I read it, enjoyed what I enjoyed, but have little interest in continuing the series.