Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ancillary Justice

Breq used to be a spaceship and had thousands of bodies. These days, she only has one and is trying to exact her revenge on the Lord of the Radch, who is responsible for the destruction of the ship.

I saw Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie mentioned on The Ferret and it sounded interesting, so I bought it. I was not disappointed. Breq or Justice of Toren, to use her ship-name, is a fascinating character. An AI that is used to seeing through thousands of eyes, to having complete command over thousands of bodies and now has to get used to having only one single body.

The story is told in flashbacks and it takes a while before it all starts to come together. That's a style I really enjoy, I don't need it all neatly laid out for me. The cultures I encountered reading this book were interesting and believable, Leckie did some solid world building. There are no big space fights, but the story is well-paced and exciting, with conspiracies and secrets all along the way. Nothing really is what is seems here.

Speaking of which. The Radchaai have no use for gender in their society, neither in looks nor in language. So Breq struggles to identify gender in other races and languages and she solves the problem by calling everyone female pronouns. That makes for an interesting reading experience - automatically, the universe is populated exclusively with women, until sometimes another character identifies someone as male in conversation. Breq herself has a female (non-Radchaai) body, but doesn't identify as either male or female.

I count the book towards the Diversity on the Shelves challenge - Breq has dark skin and so have the Radchaai. There's an option to turn the Ancillary trilogy into a TV show and I really hope they don't mess this up and the Radchaai remain dark-skinned and genderless.

Reviews 2015

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