Ancillary Sword

Review of: Ancillary Sword

Reviewed by:
On October 18, 2014
Last modified:October 18, 2014


20706284Title: Ancillary Sword
Author: Ann Leckie
Series: Imperial Radch, book 2
Genre: science fiction, space opera

Opening sentence:

“Now if the tyrant was watching – she was surely watching, though Mercy of Kalr, would be so long as we were in the system – let her think I was resenting having a baby foisted on me when I’d rather have someone who knew what they were doing.”

Last year I read Ancillary Justice and I loved it. I was one of most amazing books I have read in years. The second book was very different and very very good.

While gender played a huge role in the first book, it took a backseat in the second book because the book took place inside the radch society where the lack of gender distinctions are normal. That made the whole gender issue slip into the background. There were a few characters where I found myself gendering them, but it was much less of an issue than in the first book.

This second book was very much about class issues within the radch society. Breq who is now captain on a spaceship takes it onto her self to address cases of injustices in the treatment of the lower class citizens and new citizens in the system where she is in charge. She of course clashes with authority wherever she goes and the story is very much about her navigating the political system of the situation.

The story is also very much about guilt and redemption. Breq had to kill one of her officers back when she was a ship. She loved that officer and she feels extremely guilty about what she did and she tries to make sure the officer’s sister is safe. This provides much of the motivation for Breq’s action in this second book.

While all of this is going on there is also something weird going on outside the “ghost gates” in the system on the other side. It would seem that people are getting bought and sold and perhaps part of the Tyrant’s personality is on the other side. I am sure this will be the issue in the next book.

Breq seems both quite alien and very human – once again themes of identity is important – especially when it comes to the Tyrant. But themes of racism and cultural superiority also run as currents in the narrative.

It is a much slower book, which I like because I tend to like quite scenes of live lived better than big action scenes – especially once I know the characters.

I really enjoyed the book. I loved the interpersonal relationships, the drama and I loved that class was such a strong theme in this book. I very much recommend it.

Amazing cover art by John Harris
Amazing cover art by John Harris

 The stats

Published: October 7th 2014 by Orbit
Read: October 07 to 11, 2014
Format: ebook

The author: Female, white, USA
The protagonist: A.I. in female body, space ship captain

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