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Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch) Paperback – October 7, 2014
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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
"The sort of space opera audiences have been waiting for."―NPR Books on Ancillary Sword
"Fans of space operas will feast on its richly textured, gorgeously rendered world-building."―Entertainment Weekly on Ancillary Sword
"Breq's struggle for meaningful justice in a society designed to favor the strong is as engaging as ever. Readers new to the author will be enthralled, and those familiar with the first book will find that the faith it inspired has not been misplaced."―Publishers Weekly on Ancillary Sword
"Leckie proves she's no mere flash in the pan with this follow-up to her multiple-award-winning debut space opera, Ancillary Justice."―Kirkus on Ancillary Sword
"This follow-up builds on the world and characters that the author introduced in the first book and takes the story in new directions. There is much more to explore in Leckie's universe, one of the most original in SF today."―Library Journal (starred review) on Ancillary Sword
"An ambitious space opera that proves that Justice was no fluke.... a book every serious reader of science fiction should pick up."―RT Book Reviews on Ancillary Sword
"Superb... Sword proves that [Leckie]'s not a one-hit wonder. I look forward to the rest of Breg's tale."―St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Ancillary Sword
"A gripping read, with top-notch world building and a set of rich subtexts about human rights, colonialism -- and (yes) hive mind sex."―io9 on Ancillary Sword
"Leckie investigates what it means to be human, to be an individual and to live in a civilized society."―Scientific American 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 on Ancillary Justice
"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."―io9 (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 on Ancillary Justice
"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 on Ancillary Justice
"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 on Ancillary Justice
"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) on Ancillary Justice
"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 on Ancillary Justice
"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 has published in ages."―Paul Graham Raven on Ancillary Justice
"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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In Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie attempts to dive deep (as opposed to going wide in 'Justice') and while its interesting it quickly becomes a bit tiresome. Massive amounts of internal dialog, constant pondering of social norms and obscure characters that serve no real purpose in the story other then to move forward the examination of the social norms of the Radch.
Even the plot is secondary to the real situation that this trilogy has set-up.
That said, I love this universe and Ann Leckie is a fantastic author. While this book is self-indulgent it is still interesting and I am really looking forward to the final installment and hope it picks back up where the first left off, addressing the ongoing conflict at a galactic scale.
Sorry Ann! I really wanted to go 5 stars on this but just couldn't. Can't wait to read part 3 though!
Made a fleet captain and sent off to a nearby system to enforce order, the ancillary shakes everything up. Her primary objective is to weed out the forces that are undermining the stability of the empire, but in her efforts to enforce the best ideals of the empire -- while the empire's vast scope owes a great deal to its ruthlessness, it does still have some ideals -- she completely manages to alienate most of the locals. Her quest for justice and equality seems almost quaint at times, but it's tough not to root for her.
A major subplot regards the fate of a young officer who had been briefly slaved to the emperor in the same way the ancillary had been slaved to an AI. The young woman's efforts to knit together the remnants of her old personality with the overwhelming presence of the emperor within her head presents a difficult challenge that she struggles with throughout the novel.
This novel does not move us very far down the line towards a resolution of the conflict within the empire, suggesting that Leckie plans more than a trilogy. That would be fine with me; I've enjoyed what I've read. Readers who come to this book expecting some sort of slam-bang repetition of the first novel will be disappointed, but those who bring more patience should be well satisfied with what "Ancillary Sword" has to offer.
This is a much simpler, linear plot than in the previous book, told only from Breq's point of view, but nevertheless there is much going on. Breq struggles to cope with the idea of command as a single unit and also finds she has a spy planted on her ship. On Atheok she discovers some serious inequalities and irregularities on this planet supposedly civilised by the Radch and a plot to dispose of her.
It's not clear where this story is going at this stage but I'm hoping the final book in the trilogy (Ancilliary Mercy) will be as good as the first and be a fitting conclusion.