Winner of the Hugo, Nebula, British Science Fiction, Locus and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.
On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.Once, she was the Justice of Toren - a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.
Things I like: scifi stories starring women characters; robots; self-aware spaceships; visions of the future which don’t focus on straight white males; societies which aren’t just a copy-paste of current American/European society; space aliens; people enacting long, drawn-out plans of revenge.
Things Ancillary Justice has: all those and more!
This is one of those books where I’m just so happy to have read it that I had hard time coming up with a coherent review explaining exactly WHY I liked it. (Which is why this review has been so delayed!) I liked the little details of the story, as mentioned above, but there’s tons more good stuff to pick through. The plot was perfectly paced and utterly fascinating. There’s the (comparatively) smaller story of revenge, but there’s also a larger plot involving betrayal and conspiracies. It kind of telescopes outward, starting small and going until right at the end where the big picture shows up.
Concurrently, we get to know the various characters, all of which have hidden depths. Breq in particular was a favorite of mine. She’s so adorably confused about the customs of different cultures, including how most of them have more than one gender pronoun (Breq’s culture only has one, “she”). She’s also very determined to finish her quest, but doesn’t let that determination override her other positive qualities like kindness and chivalry. Yay, Breq!
The worldbuilding was super satisfying, too. It’s not just a standard galactic empire kind of world– I mean, there’s an empire, but they have to deal with all the problems of conquering worlds when resources are stretched thin, rebellions pop up like daisies, and a civil war is brewing. The really cool thing, though, was how Breq (and some other people) can exist in multiple bodies at the same time. Kind of like a bee hive, where each bee has their own will and personality (somewhat), but they’re linked together like the Borg (only without the urge to assimilate). And that’s just one nifty detail in a world of many nifty details.
Reading Ancillary Justice made me super happy, and I’m hopeful that we’ll be getting more books like this one in the future. We need more smart, inclusive scifi that drags the genre out of the rather stagnant pool its been wading in for the last few decades.
Ancillary Justice! I loved it so much, and I can’t wait to read the sequel.
Read: April 29-30, 2015