I am way late to this party, and now that I’ve arrived, I’m not sure it was worth the trip. I know Cannonballers love this book, and it was given to me by my dad, former Cannonballer sabian30, after he read it and liked it. But I didn’t love it like I wanted to.
The concept is interesting: ancillaries are sprawling, brilliant, multi-bodied beings that serve the Lord of the Radch. Our main character is a ship as well as an army of genetically enhanced, easily replaceable bodyguards and soldiers, all with one hivemind attuned to her captain and crew. The Lord of the Radch is also a multitude, and the name of the game is annexation, conquering any other civilization they come across. Then tragedy strikes and one body of the ancillary finds herself alone and seeking vengeance.
It all sounds very cool. However, the Radchaii are the bad guys! They conquer and kill and subjugate, and think only of expanding their empire. Things turn out not to be as they seem, but that happens way too late in the book. I had a hard time caring about or rooting for any of the characters, so that makes me care less about the plot. The world-building felt novel but incomplete, and it took me long enough to understand some things that by the time I figured it out, I didn’t care anymore. Since this book is raved about by everyone else, I think it may be a failing of mine instead of the author’s, or maybe I was not in the right headspace for such convolutions.
I am very impressed that this is Leckie’s first book, and I wish her the best, but I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest of the series.