Megan's Reviews > Ammonite

Ammonite by Nicola Griffith
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Aug 11, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-stars, fiction, science-fiction
Read in August, 2012

Survival demands change. It means exposing your weak side. It means the death of something in exchange for hope, in exchange for further vulnerabilities, in exchange for further change. But even if change is a universal condition of humanity, acceptance of change doesn't seem to come easily to humans, no matter what planet those humans are from.

So. This book. An anthropologist from Earth lands on a planet-of-women for a six-month mission to study the people of this world and to test a recent medical advance. Everyone who sets foot on this planet comes down with a debilitating virus -- a virus that kills all men and some of the women -- and Marghe, our anthropologist, is the first person to test a vaccine intended to resist this virus. Marghe, though, gets swept up in an unexpected mission: a woman who was supposed to be her assistant disappeared in the far reaches of this planet prior to Marghe's arrival, and Marghe ventures into some dangerous territory to find out what happened to her.

I fell pretty hard for this book in its dramatic moments, and I loved the thematic work from beginning to end, hence the five star rating, even though there were lots of poky faultlines marring the book's landscape that both felt weird and didn't match up with my personal tastes. For example, Marghe was an irritating construct of a character at times; I could accept some of the foolish things she did as her just being a bad anthropologist or being an emotionally stunted person, but it was still annoying at times. But other times, I felt for her so, so deeply.

The book's treatment of gender (and sexuality) gets a straight A from me. No fuss over the lack of men, no weird essentializing of women, just people of all types getting on with their lives and these people just so happen to all be women. No big deal.
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