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Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
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Ancillary Sword

by Ann Leckie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Imperial Radch (2)

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1,373965,566 (4.03)1 / 139
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English (93)  French (1)  All (1)  All (95)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
Writing a sequel that doesn't bewilder newcomers or people who haven't picked up the previous book in a while is always hard. It's not easy, but it can be done well. This wasn't one of those cases. Furthermore, imho a sense of suspense cannot be maintained by leaving crucial information out by cutting from a scene repeatedly with the same piece of information and that information has already been guessed by the first or second cut. It's tiresome and contrived.

Contrived is the best way to describe this story, I think. Half-believable situations are contrived for Breq to be insightful in. Breq is apparently surrounded by buffoons and idiots. I'm sorry, but when all of the other characters are buffoon or idiots, the book just becomes tiresome. Some of the insights aren't the smoking guns that the story makes them out to be, e.g. the initial comment that tipped her off to Raughd/Piat (I'm not talking about the other stuff). So I'm left with one word: contrived.

Maybe the Radch should drink oxidized tea. It might make them smarter, or at least more interesting.

This book doesn't rate a "kill it with fire" designation, by any means, but I was disappointed. ( )
  natcontrary | May 21, 2018 |
A readable but surprisingly lightweight entry for the 2nd book in a trilogy. The first book impressed with a narrative razzle-dazzle atypical for space opera, but still chock full of extreme action. Second books are usually darker, have more action factor, and primarily set up the third volume. This reads more like a minor entry in a long running series. Having uncovered the secret of the Lord of the Radch in volume 1, our narrator now leaves that part of the galaxy where all the action is, for a backwater region with some local corruption in play. The action is low-key, the mood is more melancholic, and the character's primary driver is frustration with the way the races in power mistreat those without power.

Recommended for fans of the first book, with the above caveats. Not recommended as an entry point. ( )
1 vote ChrisRiesbeck | May 20, 2018 |
Ancillary Justice was a book with a lot of a narrative drive: you kept reading because you both wanted to know how Breq had ended up in her situation, and because you wanted to know how she would carry out her vengeance. Each of the parallel plotlines had a great hook and a lot of energy.

Ancillary Sword is weirdly energy-less. Given her own ship and sent off on a mission, Breq seems to pretty much have nothing to do beyond stick her nose into various local affairs at the planet where she and her ship (Mercy of Kalr) end up. I never really got what her purpose was. Supposedly she's helping to defend the Radch, but there are no clear stakes to Breq's mission in this book-- contrast that with the enormous stakes in Ancillary Justice. Furthermore, what she does do quickly becomes obnoxious, as Breq is smarter and more moral than everyone else in the novel, accomplishing all of her goals with an ease that soon becomes dull. Is there no one she can't outwit? Apparently. Is everyone in the Radch less principled than her? It sure seems so, deflating all tension. How did she get so good? Why make your main character a former spaceship if it has no bearing on the story?

I like Breq, I like the setting (it's very complicated, politically and culturally), I like many of the side characters, such as Seivarden (though she doesn't do much in this volume) and Kalr Five (who is awesome). But Ancillary Sword is not the best story that could have been told with them, unfortunately, and huge let-down compared to the first book.
  Stevil2001 | Apr 28, 2018 |
This was a wonderful sequel. It definitely wasn't as good as the first, but I still loved it. I liked the new character development we get for Breq and really see how she longs for things in the past. I loved the dynamic between her and Mercy of Kalr and how she handles her new position as Fleet Captain.

I liked the plot of this book, and I can see how it will work into the over-arching storyline, but it felt a little separate, yet it fit perfectly. I enjoyed learning about new cultures in Radch space, and we get to see more problem solving and reasoning from Breq in a new perspective. This goes back to her character development and Leckie really did a great job with this. Her writing was on point and I just loved how the book flowed.

I am very interested to see how the plot progresses and how all this political maneuvering affects it.
4.5/5 stars ( )
  jdifelice | Jan 20, 2018 |
Before getting deep into this story, which quickly resolves some concerns about alliances made at the end of the previous book, I read a couple reviews saying that this books lacked the adventure of the previous and seemed to linger on insignificant characters. While in the end I could see this being problematic and I read the scenes in question while waiting for the shoe to drop, only after the revelations of the last few chapters do I think I truly appreciated the politics and intrigue on display by a chessmaster.

That is to say, I feel like Breq is already three moves ahead of everyone else. She might believe herself to be dispassionate, but when things go very, very wrong, she’s the first to react, not necessarily because she’s ‘already thought of that’ but because she’s used to having the mind of a computer, even if she is only a shadow of what she once was.

The personal, more intricate drama depicted here didn’t bother me. I love Breq as narrator and the world Ann Leckie has crafted, and feel this epic, though relatively narrow, storyline is only a chip of the iceberg. The brief, yet darkly hilarious look at the Presgr, the main adversaries to the expansion of the Radch, was like pulling back the corner of a very large window.

In fact, after having let this book sit, and taken my time with this review, I feel as though the first book is the one which is less urgently concerned with the real shadow plot behind everything, not that I’ve figured it out. This book dealt with a ‘Ghost Gate’, a gate beyond which lay an empty system. Notes about the aliens and machinations between factions in a cold civil war seem more relevant than talk of revenge and the death of one lieutenant, but that is of course how this grand adventure got started. Like the death of Ferdinand, I doubt any of the players knew just how much would be triggered by the event. My dreams are filled with thoughts about Ships driven mad millennia ago, and the fate of one empire at the edge of another.

And once again, at the end, Breq made me cry. ( )
  knotbox | Dec 4, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Leckie, Annprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andoh, AdjoaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benshoff, KirkCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Considering the circumstances, you could use another lieutenant."
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Haiku summary
Ms. Lord of the Radch
Divided herself. Trust her?
Neither one, thinks Breq.
(pickupsticks)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316246654, Paperback)

What if you once had thousands of bodies and near god-like technology at your disposal?

And what if all of it were ripped away?

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"What if you once had thousands of bodies and near god-like technology at your disposal? And what if all of it were ripped away? 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"--… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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