Ancillary Sword - Ann Leckie

Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch 2) by Ann Leckie

Before getting deep into this story, which quickly resolves some concerns about alliances made at the end of the previous book, I read a couple reviews saying that this books lacked the adventure of the previous and seemed to linger on insignificant characters. While in the end I could see this being problematic and I read the scenes in question while waiting for the shoe to drop, only after the revelations of the last few chapters do I think I was truly able to appreciate the politics and intrigue on display by a chessmaster.

That is to say, I feel like Breq is already three moves ahead of everyone else. She might believe herself to be dispassionate, but when things go very, very wrong, she’s the first to react, not necessarily because she’s ‘already thought of that’ but because she’s used to having the mind of a computer, even if she is only a shadow of what she once was.

The personal, more intricate drama depicted here didn’t bother me. I love Breq as narrator and the world Ann Leckie has crafted, and feel this epic, though relatively narrow, storyline is only a chip of the iceberg. The brief, yet darkly hilarious look at the Presgr, the main adversaries to the expansion of the Radch, was like pulling back the corner of a very large window.

In fact, after having let this book sit, and taken my time with this review, I feel as though the first book is the one which is less urgently concerned with the real shadow plot behind everything, not that I’ve figured it out. This book dealt with a ‘Ghost Gate’, a gate beyond which lay an empty system. Notes about the aliens and machinations between factions in a cold civil war seem more relevant than talk of revenge and the death of one lieutenant, but that is of course how this grand adventure got started. Like the death of Ferdinand, I doubt any of the players knew just how much would be triggered by the event. My dreams are filled with thoughts about Ships driven mad millennia ago, and the fate of one empire at the edge of another.

And once again, at the end, Breq made me cry.

Pages: 394
Year: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Orbit Books

Read: 26 November 2016 to 13 February 2017
Stars: 5 (I loved it)