zaterdag 31 oktober 2015

Ann Leckie: Ancillary Sword


Ancillary Sword is Ann Leckie’s second book in the Imperial Radch Trilogy. It won the Locus Award and the BSFA Award.
The book has 354 pages and I got it from Bol.
I read the first novel, Ancillary Justice, a few months ago.

 “The Lord of the Radch has given Breq command of the ship Mercy of Kalr and sent her to the only place she would have agreed to go -- to Athoek Station, where Lieutenant Awn's sister works in Horticulture.
Athoek was annexed some six hundred years ago, and by now everyone is fully civilized -- or should be. But everything is not as tranquil as it appears. Old divisions are still troublesome, Athoek Station's AI is unhappy with the situation, and it looks like the alien Presger might have taken an interest in what's going on. With no guarantees that interest is benevolent.”

I found this one really difficult to get through.
It’s rather boring actually. It’s not bad, just boring and I was never really stimulated to get on with reading it.

The story is very simple (again), not really exciting and so, so slow. There’s an overly simple plot but it’s not considered that important and the narrative thread is weak too.
Ancillary Sword has even less action then Justice. It’s more focused on its morality and message then on something (anything) happening.
The world building made this a better novel though. There are lots of details and history and I like that in SFF. But it’s never really descriptive, just here and there a bit and I want more.

Breq is an admirable character. She does what she believes is right, without regard for propriety or status.
Her ability to read even the tiniest flicker of emotion on someone’s face is a bit over-reaching in my opinion. She’s not human and she can’t see every tiny glance. But she apparently knows everything that goes on in a human’s mind.
You do feel how lonely she is throughout the novel.
But she is too perfect to make me really care for her. She always knows exactly what to do, she’s so moral and just, she never falters or makes mistakes. It aggravated me to be honest.

I liked knowing more about the annexation and the troubles it brings for the different peoples and societies as Breq experiences it. Politics and the inner workings of a society always interest me in SFF. But the scope here is so small. Breq talks and talks about the whole Empire, but all we see is this tiny, unimportant station. Problems in the Empire are mentioned throughout the novel, but it’s always in passing.
I missed Seivarden in this novel. I liked the interaction between Breq and Seivarden in the previous novel. 

Sword is different and not bad but not as special as many seem to think. Or that’s my opinion at least.

Happy reading.