Tag Archives: sci-fi

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.

Review:

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.

Review of Siege Weapons (The Galactic Captains #1,) by Harry F. Rey

I snagged a copy of Siege Weapons (by Harry F. Rey) from the publisher, Nine Star Press.

Description from Goodreads:

Captain Ales is a lonely smuggler at the galaxy’s Outer Verge, and the last of his people. He’s been trying to move on from a life of drugs and meaningless sex, but finding love in this forgotten corner of the galaxy is difficult.

When he’s sent on a mysterious smuggling mission to a world under siege, he’s enticed by promises of the domination he craves. But soon Ales finds himself entwined in a galactic power struggle that could cost him everything.

Review:

Eh. Ok in some regards, icky in others. I’m just gonna start with my big one. There is exactly one black man in this book, the main character. He’s possibly one of the few in the solar system. And his goal is to find a master to submit to in a master/slave sexual relationship. I am 100% squicked out by this. Honestly, I don’t even feel like the sudden BDSM angle was well integrated into the plot. I also wouldn’t call it a romance, even though there is sex in it.

I found the science fiction aspect a lot more palatable. Unfortunately, it’s not particularly well developed, as it’s not really the main thrust of the book. It’s more just the setting for the rest of it.

The writing and editing are perfectly passable though. Some of the dreams didn’t read as smoothly as the rest of the text. But I have no other complaints about the writing. All in all, I’d just call this ok.

Review of Peacemaker, by E.M. Hamill

I received a copy of E.M. Hamill‘s Peacemaker through Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:

Third-gender operative Dalí Tamareia thought their life as an ambassador ended when they joined a galactic intelligence agency. When they’re yanked out of the field and tapped to negotiate the surrender of deadly bio-engineered warriors who crashed into hostile territory, Dalí is thrust headfirst back into the tumultuous world of galactic diplomacy.

Dalí has faced Shontavians before, but not like these. The stranded mercenaries are highly intelligent and have an agenda of their own. Dalí can’t afford to be distracted from the negotiations by their own demons or the presence of a charming diplomat with a mysterious past.

As a brewing civil war threatens to derail the entire mission, Dali must use all their skills to bring this dangerous situation to a peaceful end—but the Shontavians may not be the biggest monsters at the table. Someone is determined to see Dalí and their team dead before they discover the brutal truth hidden in the wreckage.

Review:

It took me a little while to get into this book. I think mostly because it’s been a while since I read the first one and I didn’t remember a lot. But by the time the plot really got rolling, I’d mostly caught up. I enjoyed quite a lot about it. Dali is a likable character. The universe is an interesting one, and the plot kept me engaged (even if very little of it was a surprise). The one thing I didn’t see coming, the twist at the end, didn’t feel believable, however. I can think of several ways it might play out and become more believable though. So, I look forward to the continuation to see what happens.