My goal this Cannonball is to read a bunch of sci-fi fantasy and books in general not written by white dudes. I saw that Ancillary Justice had won many awards including the Hugo and Nebula awards. It was also highly recommended by NPR Books. It tells the story of Breq, formerly the Justice of Torren, a ship that is part of the Radch Empire. The ship is controlled by a sentient AI with physical bodies called ancillaries. The story alternates between the present where Breq is seeking an artifact to kill the Lord of the Radch, the head of the Empire, and the past, to show how the ship ended up splintering with only one ancillary remaining.
The first third of the book starts out slowly. Breq finds one of the human soldiers that was a Captain on her ship, Seivarden, who she rescues although she doesn’t fully understand why. As Breq gets closer to the Lord of the Radch, Aanaander Mianaai, the action heats up considerably, and although the plot resolves itself during the book, it opens up nicely for the next book in the series. Not every story in a trilogy has to end on a cliffhanger!
I really enjoyed this book. Breq is a complex character who evolves during the book and you can see her shaped into who she becomes based on what happens to her ship and the Captain of the last mission she is on, Lieutenant Awn. The use of “she” to describe all characters because the Rachaai don’t distinguish between male and female didn’t bother me, although it took me a while to realize Seiverden is a male. His character annoyed me greatly in the beginning, but once Breq rescues him on the bridge he started to grow on me. Some of his behavior is understandable given what happens to him. I thought the action toward the end of the book was very exciting. There is a healthy dose of political intrigue in the book as well. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.