Tag Archives: breq

Book Review: Ancillary Mercy (Ann Leckie)

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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Tough Traveling: The Ace

Today is Thursday, so it’s Tough Traveling at Fantasy Review Barn, exploring favourite tropes of Science Fiction and Fantasy. This week is THE ACE:

Some people are just ridiculously good at everything.  Be it magic, swordplay, or all of the above.  THE ACE has no equal.

name of the windKvothe, The Kingkiller Chronicles (Patrick Rothfuss)
I used Kvothe last week too, but I have to use him again because he is just the most Ace-like character I’ve read in recent memory. Whether he is being the world’s best musician, training to be a warrior with a prestigious mercenary group, or becoming the most powerful arcanist ever, Kvothe is just always the best at everything he tries. We even have whole chapters about how good he is in bed.  It’s… well, it’s all a bit much at times, quite honestly.

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter (J. K. Rowling)
I feel like I’m choosing a Harry Potter character every week…. but how can I not mention my favourite know-it-all Hermione Granger? She is the best at everything. Harry would have been lost without her. No doubt about it: without Hermione, Voldemort would still be in power.  She is the real hero.

ancillary sword

Breq, Ancillary Sword (Ann Leckie)
I’ve chosen Ancillary Sword specifically because Breq was more flawed in Ancillary Justice (if nothing else, at least, she wasn’t the greatest at plan formation and execution).  But she has a steep learning curve, and Fleet Captain Breq in Ancillary Sword? She is smarter than you. She is stronger than you. She has faster reflexes and is better shot. She speaks all the languages. She takes time out from fighting injustice and classism to do ethnomusicological fieldwork.  Basically, to quote Seivarden: “Fleet Captain is pretty fucking badass.”

Lem, Zombies, Run!
Lem is brave, noble, thoughtful, and self-sacrificing.  He is the best runner that your rival settlement New Canton has in the zombie apocalypse – but he’s willing to lay his life down for you in the field anyway, because he’s just that sort of guy. He overcame his humble beginnings as an orphan to become a self-made millionaire, and his post-apocalyptic hobbies include saving children.  He also is a Nobel Prize winning chemist, a personal friend of Kofi Annan… and has an Olympic medal in luge.

Ace Rimmer, Red Dwarf

Sort of a two-for-one here, because Sam Yao jealously calls Lem ‘Ace Rimmer’ in Zombies, Run!  I had no idea who Ace Rimmer was, not having seen the British comedy series Red Dwarf. So when I got home from my run I looked him up on youtube, found this video, and started laughing.  For your viewing pleasure: The Ace, Ace Rimmer…. What a guy.