Imperial Radch Trilogy – Book 1: Ancillary Justice – By Ann Leckie

Hey Jared,

I didn’t know if I’d finish this in time, but I made it. I might have had to give up playing Black Desert Online. MMO’s come and go but books are forever……That could make a good hashtag…..If I used hashtags. #ButBooksAreForever

ancillaryjustice.jpgTitle: Ancillary Justice
Series: Imperial Radch Trilogy; Book 1
Author: Ann Leckie
Genre: Science Fiction
Audience: Adult
ROTS Setting: CU, Distant Future, AI, FTL
Synopsis: Breq isn’t human. Breq is an ancillary, a biological appendage of a ship AI. When her ship and other-selves are lost in an act of treachery and supreme betrayal she sets out to avenge her loss. Along the way she blurs the lines of what it means to be human as she navigates a distant future with strange cultures and traditions.
Recommendation: Could have been in the YA section. Unusual concepts of “self” and gender pronoun usage. This style might be too much for some people, but I quite enjoyed it.

I both love this book and find it really annoying. Love nearly every aspect of the book and setting, but I would have done somethings differently. That being said, I don’t know if my differently done things would have improved the book. It’s mostly just because of the way my brain processes certain things.

First a tip that would have helped me through the first few chapters. In Radch society they don’t use gender pronouns. Not everyone that’s referred to as “she” or “her” or “daughter” is female. The author/editor chose to use “she” in place of a gender neutral pronoun.

Ya, that took me longer than I’d like to admit. Frankly it bothers me because there’s a big show about how the main character sometimes can’t discern gender so using gender specific pronouns is very difficult. And then uses a gender specific pronoun in place of a gender neutral pronoun……for the whole book. I can only remember a single character being referred to as “him” or in any other way to denote male and that was only a single instance. Both before and after the character was always referred to with female pronouns, but in the gender neutral context.

For me it was a design choice and didn’t really affect the rest of the book, which was both well written and engaging. Others might find this choice breaks their reading experience, and I can understand that.

The main character, Breq, is intriguing and I loved the process of uncovering what brought “her” to that point, while also trying to figure out what “her” plans are. There is so much about this character that is pivotal that I don’t trust myself to talk much about “her.”

Radch society is at least interesting and relatively unique. It pulls many aspects from Ancient Roman society but with many scifi elements and plenty of unique features too. It never felt like a repurposed culture but whole and unique. The driving force for the millennia spanning empire has been the annexation of other worlds. However the purpose behind the constant expansion is the desire to keep their core culture and people safe and pure (located in a sealed dyson sphere). There’s something off about this whole setup but I’m hoping we might see that addressed later on in this trilogy or somewhere else in the series…..if there is more to the series.

FTL travel is done primarily via “gates”. It was implied that these gates were already created by some long dead civilization but the military ships could travel independently if they needed to. The tech appears to be an interesting mix of hyperlane, warp, and wormhole travel. It just wasn’t described enough to get an accurate understanding of how it works.

I’m eager to read the other books in the trilogy, not only to see what happens but to better understand the universe in which it takes place. For me that’s exactly what I look for in a scifi/fantasy novel.

Robert


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Imperial Radch Trilogy – Book 1: Ancillary Justice – By Ann Leckie

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