"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Ancillary Justice

TITLE: Ancillary Justice
AUTHOR: Ann Leckie

This is the first of a trilogy, and a award-winning book, that is narrated by an AI that once had been a ship called the Justice of Toren with a consciousness that commanded hundreds of ancillaries, human bodies that had become vessels for a shared artificial intelligence. Now confined to a single body known as Breq, she is on a mission of vengeance. Her story unfolds in two timelines, the present and twenty years earlier, the flashback chapters serving to explain how she became so singular.

This is also the story of an odd friendship, as Breq inexplicably, to her, comes to the aid of one of her former officers, Seivarden, who is a down-on-her-luck addict and never one of Breq's favorites. But don't let the pronouns confuse you; in the Radch Empire, there is no gender designation and "she" and "her" are used for all.

Breq's narrative voice gives the story a unique perspective, especially in the flashback sequences where she can relate in an omniscient voice the events that led to her present situation. As for the story, itself, Leckie masterfully handles an increasingly complicated political situation, slowly pulling back layers of conspiracy and machinations to reveal what may or may not be truth. Leckie has created a fascinating realm, one where the Radch are driven to conquer and assimilate other worlds, and where the consequences of annexation resonate. I'm glad I'll be able to visit this realm at least twice more.