Review: Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
Orbit / #3 of 3, Imperial Radch
“The point is, there is not point. Choose your own.”
This review remains spoiler-free for all three books, apart from character mentions (so you’ll be aware of a couple of people who are still alive as of Ancillary Mercy).
As with Ancillary Justice, I’m struggling to write a review for Mercy that doesn’t for sound like incoherent gushing because I loved it so much. An example of how much: I picked it up today with the idea of flipping through to find a quote for the beginning of the review, and two hours later realized that I hadn’t moved and was halfway through rereading it. Most of this book is people just talking to each other, politicking and navigating personal relationships, and yet it is completely spellbinding and impossible to put down. Moments of suspense and action are combined with social commentary and a rich array of thematic material about how people (some of them AIs) negotiate sentience, decision-making, personhood, privilege, feelings, self-determination. And did I mention the protagonist being a singing spaceship?!? These books are amazing. Ann Leckie is amazing.
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Review: Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett
Science Fiction / Standalone
“Floating high above the city, dipping and swooping through the valleys of cinderblocks and concrete, landing on the edge of a rooftop to look down upon the inhabitants below. Watching seeing, learning. They walk along the streets, alleys, and avenues. Moving here, going there, in a constant state of rush. Appointments to be kept, people to see, things to do. And Adrianne was one of them. She had somewhere to go.”
Assuming you didn’t read a synopsis or a review of this unusual and remarkable book before picking it up—neither of which I did—it takes some time to figure out what is going on in Elysium. It’s basically impossible to summarize or review the book without spoiling that main premise, so I’m going to warn you now that if you would like to be surprised by it, do not read the rest of this review. I’m not sure what I recommend doing either way; I think that knowing some of this stuff ahead of time would have been very helpful, but I also think it will make for much more rewarding second reading some time, so the choice is yours.
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Review: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Science Fiction – #1 of 3, Imperial Radch Trilogy
“If you’re going to do something that crazy, save it for when it’ll make a difference, Lieutenant Skaaiat had said, and I had agreed. I still agree. The problem is knowing when what you are about to do will make a difference… The single word that directs a person’s fate and ultimately the fates of those she comes in contact with is of course a common subject of entertainments and moralizing stories, but if everyone were to consider all the possible consequences of all one’s possible choices, no one would move a millimeter, or even dare to breathe for fear of the ultimate results.”
I already expressed some pre-review excitement on this blog. That entry can basically be summed up with the following:
- Ancillary Justice is a book about a SENTIENT SPACESHIP that enjoys SINGING
- And it’s amazing
Ancillary Justice takes place during two different periods of our starship protagonist Breq’s existence. Created as a tool for the expansionist Radch Empire, one timeline focuses on her experiences as a segment of twenty bodies (ancillaries) enforcing for the Empire on an annexed planet. In the second timeline, she has only a single body, and she is outside of Radch territory and on a mission of her own. What happened to Breq and what she is doing now are gradually revealed in an exciting and fantastic space opera, and possibly my new favourite book ever.
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