Ancillary Justice – Ann Leckie

I bought this because of the buzz. Was it justified, or hype?

What was the buzz? This is a debut novel by an unknown author that won every major science fiction award in 2014. It was reviewed and described as being a game changer, cool, brilliant… Need I go on? I was intrigued enough to try it out.

To save you time, I can say now that I don’t think it’s as good as the best reviews have said, but it is good.

The story is this: a warship now occupies a human body and is out for revenge in the universe controlled by the Radch. They are feared conquerors who use dead prisoners as AI controlled soldiers. They see all and know all. How can the warship achieve its desired goal?

It is modern style space opera with a nice fresh zippy attitude. It goes in some interesting directions, and the central narrative is well paced and engrossing. There are a couple of places where I thought the logic of the character was off, and the writing floundered. But that might just be sloppy editing, or my impatience with a didactic diversion.

The background is reasonably well drawn, if a little sparse in some places. The tension is well ratcheted up, and the plot twists add enough spice.

The fact this is part of a trilogy, sadly, makes the ending less satisfactory. But overall this is a good piece of entertaining and thought provoking fiction.

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