Friday, February 26, 2016

Review of Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Author:  Ann Leckie.
Title:  Ancillary Justice.
Publisher:  Orbit.
Copyright:  2013.
Pages:  422.
Price:  $16.00 (US).

Overview & Impressions:

Breq, the narrator of Ancillary Justice, is an AI trapped in a female human's body.  She was in charge of the Justice of Toren, a troop transport in the service of the Radch Empire.  Her vessel is destroyed and she left desiring vengeance.  She encounters one of her old officers, Seivarden, who was trapped in a stasis unit after his ship was destroyed a thousand years before.

This book makes use of impersonal pronouns in the Radchian language.  At the beginning, it took me a little while to figure that out.  A race of aliens have introduced a virus that divides the Lord of Radch into a dozen competing parts.  This brings about civil war.  Breq and Seivarden are trapped into serving the "good" Emperor of Radch who manages to destroy his rival AI components.

Having an AI as a narrator was original.  But I was turned off by Leckie's abuse of she to describe masculine characters.  I think it defeats the purpose of English pronouns.  However, what do I know?  She won a Hugo and Nebula for her debut novel.  First of three in the Imperial Radch series.  Interesting reading...

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