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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ancillary Sword by Anne Leckie (Radch #2)

Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch, #2)Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jacket Blurb:  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

2015 Hugo Award Nominee.

The follow-up to Ancillary Justice (Hugo Award winner 2014).  Read for bookgroup.

A space opera that really doesn't take place much in space, so much as it does around specific stations or planets.  Captain Breq, former ancillary and now the sole remnant of a ship destroyed, is a weapon for the Imperial Radch - though which fraction of the Imperial Radch is not entirely certain.  Breq is sent to Athoek Station, where she finds more than the sister of her former lieutenant and love.   There is intrigue, hidden agendas (whose exactly? is the question), a murder, and revenge.

Where Ancillary Justice built the world, Ancillary sword builds the characters.  The characters are given more personality in the next installment - we see anger, motivation, regrets.  This is all nicely built around the culture of the Radch, where everyone is called "she" or "sister", where to go barehanded is an insult and gloves are a must, and we are given a glimpse at the what it is to be "civilized" (gender-neutral in the feminine; yes, a contradiction) and drink tea. 

While I enjoyed the emphasis on the characters and the solidification of the world building, the plot left me disappointed.  Breq came, she saw, she meddled, ended.  I kept poking at my e-reader wondering if I was missing chapters.  Nope.  That was it.  Fini.  No more.  

Overall, a good continuation of the series, with the hope the next one will pick up where #2 left off.

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