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Ancillary mercy by Ann Leckie
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Ancillary mercy (edition 2015)

by Ann Leckie

Series: Imperial Radch (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,710947,186 (4.18)138
Ancillary Mercy is the stunning conclusion to the trilogy that began with Ancillary Justice, the only novel ever to win the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. For a moment, things seemed to be under control for Breq, the soldier who used to be a warship. Then a search of Athoek Station's slums turns up someone who shouldn't exist and a messenger from the mysterious Presger empire arrives, as does Breq's old enemy, the divided, heavily armed, and possibly insane Anaander Mianaai - ruler of an empire at war with itself. Breq could flee with her ship and crew, but that would leave the people of Athoek in terrible danger. Breq has a desperate plan. The odds aren't good, but that's never stopped her before.… (more)
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Title:Ancillary mercy
Authors:Ann Leckie
Info:New York, NY Orbit October 2015
Collections:Your library
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Tags:science fiction

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Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

  1. 20
    The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Both are optimistic space operas that focus on the characters and their relationships.
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» See also 138 mentions

English (93)  French (1)  All languages (94)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie satisfies my hopes for her Imperial Radch series. It's a worthy conclusion to the story of Breq Mianaai / Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen.

I admit I had reservations going into this third book of the series. The first novel showed so much promise but the second was strangely limited and left much to be desired. I really couldn't get a sense of where the concluding volume would go.

Ancillary Mercy is a well-balanced amalgam of its predecessors. It takes place in the same location as Ancillary Sword but brings back the galactic scope of Ancillary Justice. It presents an ending which manages to be believable and appropriate, but also unexpected and compellingly unresolved.

It's still a personal story, told on a personal scale, but it offers the potential of grand consequences for civilization as a whole.

We learn more about the old conflict which split Anaander Mianaai into multiple versions of herself; we gain new and fascinating perspectives on the alien Presger; and Breq brings a brand new set of players to the field who fundamentally alter the stakes of the conflict in a way which could forever change the nature of galactic civilization.

In particular, Breq finds a solution which doesn't require war. She discerns the possibility of a peaceful conclusion to the conflict rending the Imperial Radch. It marks a striking change in Breq's personal growth: from someone out for blood and revenge in the first novel, to a successful statesman who seeks to minimize bloodshed and find political solutions. Someone who puts the good of society ahead of her own. Someone who embraces uncertainty and lets go of control.

A true foil to Anaander Mianaai. Breq chooses to trust, where Anaander chooses to fear. Breq empowers others, where Anaander seeks to dominate. Breq is one reduced from many, whereas Anaander is many replicated from one. These characters constitute one of the most interesting juxtapositions in the history of SF.

What I admire most about this whole series is that Ms. Leckie never loses her focus. This is Breq's story, and not a story about the Imperial Radch as a whole (Breq just happens to find herself at the center of the definitive conflict of her age). Ms. Leckie shows us only what we need to know to make sense of Breq's experiences, but that's more than enough for the reader to learn the scope of the larger galactic context.

The universe in these novels is compelling and complex—the kind of universe in which it would be far too easy to get distracted and side-tracked, lost in the details. All too often, such is the downfall of many authors who create settings on a similar scale. Ms. Leckie neatly avoids this pitfall and never loses control of her narrative. It remains Breq's story throughout.

With Ancillary Mercy, Breq's story concludes by leaving her in a position of strength. But this doesn't mark an end to the conflict raging in the larger context of the Imperial Radch. Anaander Mianaai is still split and at war with herself, and the Presger still present a potential threat. We don't know how the new players Breq throws into the mix will play out. The stage is set for a resolution of these larger issues but their conclusion lies outside the scope of Breq's story. Ms. Leckie wisely leaves them unresolved.

Throughout the series, Ms. Leckie blends the personal with the political, the small scale with the grand. Judged from that perspective, Ancillary Mercy ends story exactly as it should. ( )
  johnthelibrarian | Aug 11, 2020 |
I put this on my Bechdel Test shelf even though there is no way for us to ever know whether this series passes or not. ( )
  CatherineMachineGun | Jul 31, 2020 |
Great conclusion to the trilogy.
Leckie has said that she's through with Breq's story, but I hope she has many others to tell in this universe. ( )
  whami | Jun 28, 2020 |
A quiet but satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. ( )
  3j0hn | Jun 17, 2020 |
I have to say this book puts the previous one in an entirely new and better light. I was left with Ancillary Sword being somehow a lot *less* than Ancillary Justice, but that's only because I had missed it's true purpose and eventual outcome, which, thankfully, became extremely pleasant in this third novel.

You know how it is, the curse of the middle novel. Less action, more buildup, slower and more subtle. Okay, maybe the themes weren't very subtle at all, revolving as it had upon the hinges of being civilized. But that's okay. The first novel established quite a bit of homelessness, identity issues, loss, and near hopelessness in the face of such an insane power. The second established a thoughtful and forward-looking pace under the realization that Breq's sometime Rachii boss is damn nuts, and the only sane course is to protect whomever and whatever she can in the face of it. The third book takes it much farther, in a much more proactive way, eventually leading us to an all out revolution and breakaway from the grand old empire.

Insane move? Hopelessly outgunned and outpopulated? You better damn believe it. Fortunately, this is a novel about Breq actually belonging somewhere, at long last. It was touching and thrilling in its own way, building upon the previous novels in a way that is obvious in retrospect, and it's awesome.

The AI loves and is loved, despite never quite believing it could happen. Respect, fondness, sure, all of that has been in her memory, but never quite that elusive concept of love. It's her choices, the way she treats people, the way she truly cares that does it. And that same power has the ability and potential to free all the other Ancillaries she has contact with.

Truly beautiful. This novel had the ending and feel of greatness, however abrupt it was, that I wish the second novel had. All told, the full tale is brilliant and worthy of high SF in all it's glory. Freedom and Love, forever!

Update 4/27/16

The novel has been nominated for Hugo for best novel in 2016! It also happens to be nominated for the Nebula, too!

While I did enjoy it, unfortunately, I will not be voting for it. There were several other novels that were superior. I'm not being prejudiced against trilogies, either, but I *do* insist that single novels within a trilogy must be complete and totally awesome in themselves.

This one was awesome in context, which shouldn't impede anyone's enjoyment, but it also pushes it down the list for me.

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ann Leckieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Andoh, AdjoaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benshoff, KirkCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Ancillary Mercy is the stunning conclusion to the trilogy that began with Ancillary Justice, the only novel ever to win the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. For a moment, things seemed to be under control for Breq, the soldier who used to be a warship. Then a search of Athoek Station's slums turns up someone who shouldn't exist and a messenger from the mysterious Presger empire arrives, as does Breq's old enemy, the divided, heavily armed, and possibly insane Anaander Mianaai - ruler of an empire at war with itself. Breq could flee with her ship and crew, but that would leave the people of Athoek in terrible danger. Breq has a desperate plan. The odds aren't good, but that's never stopped her before.

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Haiku summary
Spaceship friendships bloom;
Station joins in too, helping;
Thwart the evil Lord.
(pickupsticks)

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