Friday, March 27, 2015

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

A sequel to the book which won everything which is winnable in science fiction last year. The main character is the same and the story continues – kind of. The plot goes somewhere else I was expecting. Instead of dealing with the internal struggle of the world with literally divided leadership this book concentrates on smaller things. Breq, a war ship AI, who wears an “ancillary body”, is named as the commander of a war ship. She (everyone is called “she” in this book) is ordered to protect a remote outpost. There she seeks out a person whom she knows, or least whose sister she knew (and was forced to kill in the first book). This book mostly concentrates in the internal conflicts on an outpost while presenting much more background on the universe of the books. Especially of what it is to be an ancillary and how the society works in the basic level and the way people behave and think like they do. The writing felt even better and more fluent than in the earlier instalment. However, the plot was slightly slow at places and less engaging. Fairly little seemed to be happening in the main plot of the series – if there is such a thing as a main plot in these books – that remains to be seen. Probably – there were pieces falling onto interesting places here… The world as itself is a fascinating and the details we learnt were interesting. There are shades of feudalism and a tendency to vaguely eastern philosophical mode of thinking. Another aspect was tea. The planet which is central to the main events of the book was one of the most important produces of tea and as such a significant place. Drinking tea is considered as one of the most important things there is and proper and an old tea set is something valued more than anything. When Breq takes the charge of the warship her servant is very worried about the lack of proper table ware and is vastly relieved when she gets funds to buy one. As whole the book was very satisfying and will most certainly be a strong contender for this year’s awards.

400 pp.

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