Ancillary Mercy

Monday, March 27, 2017

Ancillary Mercy
Ann Leckie, 2015

Premise: Sequel to Ancillary Sword. Breq has taken on responsibility for more than just her crew, but she doesn't have the standing to solve all the problems on Athoek Station. A stranger who doesn't appear to have a past and a representative from an alien power complicate matters as the empire's civil war grows.

I love this series. I might go back and read the whole thing back-to-back-to-back soon and see how the experience differs.

As it was, it had been long enough that it took me a few chapters to remember what the heck was going on and who the various characters were. The series continued to deal with issues of identity and self-determination in the ways that only science fiction can.

Once I was back on track, I flew through this book. I loved that although a potentially galaxy-changing war could appear on their doorstep any day, the characters still had to deal with obstinate bureaucracy, diplomacy, fallout from the previous books, and, in some cases, interpersonal emotional issues.

Seivarden's emotional arc got quite a lot of page time, and I found it extremely satisfying. Breq even got an extremely affecting passage where you realize that while she doesn't acknowledge many emotions in her first-person narration, that doesn't mean that she doesn't care.

The ending was wonderful, perfectly tense and sharp at some times and drawn out and understated at others. For me, the satisfying quality of it partially comes from the fact that I would never have thought of the resolution, but all the necessary pieces had been established beforehand and it fit perfectly with all the ongoing themes.

5 Stars - A three-book masterpiece

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