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Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Book #1 in the Imperial Radch series
Year: 2013
Page Count: 386
Genre: SF Space Opera
Warnings: general sci-fi violence

Summary: 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.

I had heard a lot of people online talking the praises of the Imperial Radch series ever since it first came out although I didn't know anything specific about it except for the sci-fi genre. When the local bookstore in my neighborhood was closing last year, I found this gem in the last pile of rejects and decided it was a perfect opportunity to read it.

I will say that it took me a long time to read this book. I had a lot of false starts and this could partly be because of dealing with the stress of fall/spring semester. It's also because of the way the book is written. Breq tells her story in two parts, the present and the past. While Ann Leckie handles this very well (no doubt she's a great writer), it's a style of writing that's always been difficult for me to get into. I had trouble with the A Song of Ice and Fire books because I would get so invested in the story of one character that I was disappointed at the start of every new chapter. The same thing happened here where the swapping of stories/timelines killed my motivation to keep reading.

Not to say that I didn't enjoy the book. It was interesting and thought provoking. The use of she/her as default pronouns was incredibly appealing to me. I have to say that it challenged my thoughts on gender because I often would catch myself wondering if a character was "really" male or female. But of course in the context of the series, it didn't matter what sex they were.

I loved reading from Breq's matter of fact point of view. I've read reviews that have said that they couldn't vibe with Breq's cold and emotionless personality but I feel that if you understand Breq's character, then you understand why she's "emotionless". Maybe a lack of expressiveness is a better description because Breq has a lot of emotions throughout the book though most of them are understated. The success of her character is what compels to keep reading the rest of the series.

Rating: 3.7

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