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Ancillary Sword

I've been waiting to read Ancillary Sword until I could do it book-group style with the ninja girl. The chance presented itself at the end of last month, and we both finished it the other day and were discussing it avidly via messages this morning.

The reviews I read said that it was a very different sort of book from the first--quieter--but the reviewers all liked it as much as or better than the original. I enjoyed it tremendously (I carried it with me everywhere so I could read in spare moments), but I didn't like it better. I kept on wanting things that didn't come (for those of you who've read the book, that would be more about Tisarwat's unique situation and more about Translator Dlique, plus something more central that I'll get to in a moment), and I was bemused by much of what did come. The situation on the Athoek was interesting, and Ann Leckie did a great job of showing how different groups have different interests, and showing how personal situations intersect with bigger issues (how the personal is political, heh), but those bigger issues were (to my mind) predictable. I felt a little as if I was looking in on a sociology case study that promised to hit on X, Y, and Z points. It did, and the details of how it did were gripping, but I chafed a little.

Some of that teacherliness was present in Ancillary Justice, too, but I completely forgave it/wasn't bothered by it--why? And why not this time? Part of it is personal idiosyncrasy--I loved small details of life on Ors and life on Nilt and found them so vivid that the instructive elements paled. But much, much more important, I loved getting to know Breq and shared entirely in her personal pain and loss. The driving emotion that propels her through Ancillary Justice was so, so intense.

In Ancillary Sword, Breq has only brief (though very memorable, and very moving) moments of emotion. She's affected by the pain and suffering she sees, but it's not hers in the way that it was in the first book. I missed that. I know it couldn't be repeated ... but all the same, I missed it.

I'm mystified and deeply, deeply curious about what will happen in Ancillary Mercy. Ancillary Sword felt like a book that you might get if there were going to be nine or ten stories about Breq and the other characters--it touched on the larger issues that Ancillary Justice raised, but it doesn't advance them very much. A few new elements come into play. How will the trilogy wrap up? I can't wait to find out!

ETA: Just read the Goodreads book summary for Ancillary Mercy and it sounds like it'll focus on the stuff I want to know more about--yay!


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 9th, 2015 10:43 pm (UTC)
I really should read this one day.

All I know about it is that it really upset the hard-rightists in SFF. Maybe I should leave things that way until I get the chance to read it.
Sep. 10th, 2015 12:00 am (UTC)
This one upset them more than Ancillary Justice? Or the whole series upset them?

I think you'll like them. I like them! I adored Ancillary Justice, and this one is a great read--just not, for me, as completely fulfilling. I'm really, really looking forward to the last one.

Sep. 10th, 2015 01:23 am (UTC)
Whole series upset them.
Sep. 10th, 2015 10:43 pm (UTC)
They were both GR-R-R-EAT! And this from a guy who still occasionally rereads The Stars My Destination, a classic male-type adventure novel (tho it could have just as easily been a woman protagonist-except for the time it was produced).

Ancillary J-, and -Sword were both great novels and well-deserving of the Hugo and near-Hugo this year.

Will not bother with appropriate language for those people who can't get past the syntax or context of those stories. Though I am thinkin' it...

Edited at 2015-09-10 11:20 pm (UTC)
Sep. 13th, 2015 03:04 am (UTC)

Oct. 10th, 2015 06:19 pm (UTC)
I also loved these books. While being new and fresh and very in keeping with our current times and concerns, they reminded me, in many ways, of some of the reasons I grew to love science fiction back when I was still a kid. The aspects that seem to have most upset their detractors remind me of similar themes in Le Guin's Hainish Cycle, although some might argue that Le Guin made biological what is depicted in Leckie's works as social. I look forward to reading Ancillary Mercy when it comes out.
Oct. 13th, 2015 01:10 am (UTC)
I have my copy of Ancillary Mercy! Looking forward to starting it soon.
Oct. 13th, 2015 01:27 am (UTC)
Yay! I'll have to check to see if our library has a copy, yet. I had to request the first two (I requested electronic copies, and received the books within a few weeks), but I hope they've figured out by now that this book is required reading.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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