Review of Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1), by Ann Leckie

I’m on vacation! Ok, I’m visiting my mom. But since she lives in Florida, it’s like a vacation. Granted, given the Covid-19 numbers here in Florida, we have no intention of leaving this house at any point during the visit. This is no true hardship though. I mean, look where I’m sitting, wrapped in a towel in my swimsuit, to write this review. I could do worse, right?

On the fourteen-hour drive down I read Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie. It is one of those books I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. I’ve heard only good things about, I five-starred the only other book I’ve read by her, and she lives locally to me. (I do try and support local authors.) I even met her briefly in a tea shop once. She was gracious and lovely. So, I finally borrowed a copy from the library.

Description from Goodreads:

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 really enjoyed this! It’s smart science fiction, the sort that will have me coming back and contemplating aspects of it for weeks to come. So many questions of identity, individuality, morality, friendship, class, humanity, and loyalty (and probably more).

I love the contemplation of what qualifies as “I” given the reality of ancillaries. I love the quandaries around gender. Pronouns do a lot of work in this book. The book subverts them and makes you really think about them. There were times I felt it got so convoluted that I’m not even sure the author kept it straight. But that was unquestionably part of the point.

It is a slow read and covers literally thousands of years. (It reminded me a little of Asimov in this respect, with Breq filling in for Daneel.) But I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series.

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