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Ancillary Sword

(Imperial Radch #2)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  32,340 ratings  ·  2,853 reviews
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,
Paperback, 356 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Orbit
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James T. Yes, the Leviathan Wakes trilogy gets 2 thumbs up. Also, if you like Leckie's vision of the future, try some of Iain Bank's Culture series. I started…moreYes, the Leviathan Wakes trilogy gets 2 thumbs up. Also, if you like Leckie's vision of the future, try some of Iain Bank's Culture series. I started with The Algebraist and couldn't quit until I'd read everything he'd written(less)
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Community Reviews

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Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
If it's possible, this book is BETTER than the first one. This is just a great Sci-Fi book, wonderful worldbuilding, that focuses on CHARACTERS rather than every planet and ship and technical science thing in the world. Some of that stuff, while interesting, make big sci-fi for me a bit less compelling. This, however, has it ALL! And, contrasting with the first one, it is very clear about POV and stuff. The gender ambiguity is still there, but in a streamlined way, so you don't question things a ...more
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Ancillary Justice was a spectacular debut, but its successor is a lot less sure-footed. Leckie's attempt to marry Space Opera with domestic tragedy feels a bit too much like Sense and Sensibility and Spaceships.

It's clear by now that Leckie is keen on promoting a particular political sentiment, and Ancillary Sword is all about the confluence of the personal and political. Unfortunately the domesticity becomes a little tedious, and the cooking lacks any flavour.

Anaander Mianaai's Radchaai imperiu
J.L.   Sutton
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
While I enjoyed Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword (the 2nd book in the Imperial Radch Series, I don’t think it measured up to the complexity and sheer scope of the first book in the series, Ancillary Justice. Leckie’s attention to details in ritual and language continue in this book and maybe was more thoroughly explored. It might be difficult to convincingly say, in a space opera, that you enjoyed the intricacies of tea ceremonies along with the choice of accompanying dishes, but it is compelling (a ...more
Neil Hepworth
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was ok

No, it really is. The novel is filled with tea, and fine china. There’s polite meetings in polite society. There’s blushing in abundance at the smallest of social faux pas. There’s tears from the young ‘uns when their jobs are just a bit too overwhelming. There’s snooty-as-hell top of society landowners with brat children to match. There’s tea. There’s gossip amongst the servants, and resentment amongst the slaves. There are gardens. And tea. And dressing expectatio
Warning: spoilers for Ancillary Justice. If you haven’t read the first book yet (OMG WHY NOT), avert your eyes right now.

Ana’s Take:

It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that all SFF eyes are on this book right now. Given the immense success of Ancillary Justice – it won all the major awards and yes, this includes a rare Book Smugglers Double Ten Review – I bet everybody is thinking: will the sequel be as good as the first novel?

Well, the answer is a resounding HELL YES.

From a plotting perspe
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Ancillary Sword fell just a bit short of the brilliance of the fantastic Ancillary Justice but still proved to be a very good and thoroughly enjoyable story in its own right. I think Ann Leckie gets the balance between thought provoking concepts and the story perfect. Leckie gets you thinking but also keep you thoroughly entertained.

With the start of civil conflict within the Radch leadership one of the Anaander segments sends Breq, and her new ship Mercy of Kalr, to the only place she knows Br
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In Which... Breq is sent to a somewhat-remote part of the Radch (am I the only one who keeps wanting to pronounce that "Radish"?) Empire. In pursuit of closure regarding a personal matter, Breq encounters Grave Social Injustice, and tries to make things better. Obstacles are Encountered, and Action and Intrigue happen...

If you haven't already read 'Ancillary Justice,' some aspects of the setting might feel a bit bewildering to a new reader. However, the story itself works pretty well on its own
Executive Summary: Probably not as good/interesting as the first book, but I still enjoyed it. 3.5 Stars.

Full Review
Ancillary Justice is one of those books that has become severely over-hyped. I read it early on as the hype was starting to build and before it won every award under the sun. I enjoyed it, and I'm not surprised it won so much, but I would have been equally unsurprised if it didn't. It's definitely one of those books that many people will read and scratch their heads at.

So now we
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm sure I'm not alone in my judgment, but I'm torn about this book.

The ending was very good. It reversed a lot of my disappointment as I read this novel, but only because it changed my perceptions about what this novel was trying to accomplish.

Don't expect fast pacing or a civil war. Don't expect a return to Breq's heyday as a multiple-body starship AI.

Once I got over my desires to see him/her rise and become the right hand man/woman of his/her leige wielding a large weapon, be it any kind of
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Looking back at my review of Ancillary Justice, it seemed that while I liked the book, it and I didn’t actually hit it off as well as I’d hoped. Mind you, I’m most definitely in the minority there. And despite not falling in love with the novel, I did appreciate its many merits and was pleased to see it win many awards and garner so much praise – all seriously well-deserved. In fact, I was so impressed with the concepts
A great and solid follow-up to Leckie’s innovative space opera debut, “Ancillary Justice”. There we learn how Breq “was” once a warship in a collective identity of hundreds of soldiers linked into the ship’s group-mind. Such people are “ancillaries”, humans with minds overridden by integration through biocybernetic implants with an artificial intelligence managing the ship. Such ships serve Anaander Mianaai, the emperor of Raach, a large group of conquered and colonized human worlds, and a being ...more
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Further adventures of the angry former spaceship and assorted imperial doings.

This was . . . unchallenging is the word a friend used, and it is exactly the right one. Like, this book kept presenting the most digestible, high-contrast depictions of inequity, and I kept waiting for the onion layers to peel back on it and . . . no . . . apparently the arc of justice bends towards the completely freaking obvious. Like, okay, slave labor by another name is, indeed, unjust. But positing that is not in
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a really enjoyable book and for me it was maybe even better thanAncillary Justice. I guess this was because I am developing a much better understanding now of the people and the related systems. I even began to understand the omnipotence of Ship and the way Breq can see everything through other people's eyes. Still struggling a little with gender although in this book everyone was referred to as she which helped! This turned out to be great read, interesting, exciting and at the end eve ...more
johnny dangerously
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This book takes everything I liked about the first book and throws it out the window. I'm not sure why the writer found it necessary to, after writing a book with a tight plot and close inspection of nuanced characters, turn around and write a sequel with neither.

The overwhelming majority of characters in this book either lack depth, or have no motivation beyond 'wanton cruelty and petty malice borne of ignorance'. While that's a believable motivation, surely, it does get grating when it's lite
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
One of my sci-fi writer heroes, Gene Wolfe, once said that a story works by “engendering expectations and then satisfying them.”

That, then, are the two primary means by which a story can fail. Either it neglects to setup expectations or it sets them up but doesn’t satisfy them. Of the two, the first is by far the worse. I recently reviewed Radiance and gave it one star because its post-modern, author-indulgent structure failed to ever setup any sort of expectations or stakes. It didn’t teach me
Cathy (cathepsut)
*some spoilers*

I liked it. It was very laid back in between the more energetic action sequences. A lot of drinking tea. I liked the plot of the first book more, I think (still debating with myself). The alternating timeline made it more vibrant and suspenseful. It was proper space opera.

However, the relationships of the various characters in this sequel were more intricate. The dynamics of the people on the station and down on the planet were well done. The disenfranchised in the Undergarden (
I’m sort of surprised to be writing this review. I fully expected another solid 4 star experience from Leckie, but sadly this book fell a little short for me. I think once the shiny newness of her complex world building wore off I was disappointed at what I was left with.

The plot in this book felt like it had no purpose or direction. In the first book, you know Breq has her reasons for doing what she does, she just hasn’t shared them with you yet. Here, she wanders from pitfall to pitfall on Ath
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
I'm not a big reader of series. Generally, I find that if a first book is a success, authors try to recreate that success by duplicating the beats of the first novel. Or worse, authors that use a second book in a trilogy entirely to set up a third. There are exceptions, of course: series that invent and reinvent themselves as they go along. Series with greater ambitions and a strong structure, like Vandermeer's Southern Reach or Jo Walton's small change.

As much as I loved Ancillary Justice, I di
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read Ancillary Justice first, but really, it's just to understand the nuances.

The only flaws I really recall in the book are small: it dragged a touch after the funeral -- not unexpected; it lacked some explanation of the nuances of the author's universe -- the primary culture rarely considers gender, so everyone is "she", for instance; some of the names were hard to follow on the audiobook.
Tudor Ciocarlie
This was even better than the first volume. I am very happy to announce that the glorious one night stand with Ancillary Justice has evolved into a beautiful engagement with Ancillary Justice. I'm anxiously waiting for the wedding.
Ancillary Sword: From Space Opera to Soap Opera - Pursuing social justice on a space station and tea plantation
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Ancillary Justice caused quite a splash, winning the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke, BSFA, and Locus awards for Best SF novel in 2013. So expectations were sky-high for the follow-up Ancillary Sword. In particular, readers were eager to see how the battle of opposed personalities of the Lord of the Radsch, Anaander Mianaai, would play out after the
“Gideon” Dave Newell
All of the really novel ideas and concepts here were inherited from the preceding story, Leckie’s multiply-awarded "Ancillary Justice”. With all the potential themes and angles this novel could have delved, I was disappointed to find that it was basically a stationary episode in that regard. Fascinating dimensions to and implications of divided personality were hinted, but never delivered. The stylistic convention of Leckie’s gender-neutral society, The Radch, to use female pronouns exclusively ...more
Mar 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
I didn't like the first book, and I didn't like this one, either.

First, the story was set on a small planet and was completely unrelated to the larger political arc introduced in the first book. If you want to know more about the impossible task of defeating someone with three thousand bodies, skip Ancillary Sword. Tangentially - and taking into account that I've read very few Bujold novels - this felt like the Miles story where he spent his time as the famous person on the small planet dispensi
Caro the Helmet Lady
I was hugely disappointed with this one. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad on its own, it sucked only when compared to the first part. The intrigue, the building of intrigue, all was gone. I'm not going to bitch much about the freshness of some concepts being gone too, because of course we already got used to it since the book one. It's only natural. But no new bait was given instead and it sucked. I know social justice is important and it's a universal truth, but to me plot is important too if I ...more
I gave this 3.5 stars on my first read. I remember being disappointed in it. This time I absolutely loved it and I was glued to it. There was no separating us :) I was also in a state of constant suspense for well over half of the book. I love Breq and Seivarden. Tisarwat is an excellent addition to the cast. I'm anxious to move on to Mercy, which I haven't yet read.
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“These people are citizens. [..] When they behave properly, you will say there is no problem. When they complain loudly, you will say they cause their own problems with their impropriety. And when they are driven to extremes, you say you will not reward such actions. What will it take for you to listen?”

This is a very different sequel. Leckie still draws a character-driven narrative but one with a different setting, treatment, and perspective, which gives the end product a new tone. Many read
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Review posted at:

So, after all the (much deserved) buzz and awards for Ancillary Justice, can Ancillary Sword live up to expectations? Can Leckie follow through with a book just as compelling? Yes. She absolutely can and does. Ancillary Sword is the continued pay off for time invested in Ancillary Justice. It is a highly intelligent, fast paced and intriguing story that I just could not put down.

It has all of the strengths of Ancillary Justice but honestl
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of the Miles Vorkosigan short story, "The Mountains of Mourning" or the Ian Banks Culture books
Breq survived her quest for vengeance against the tyrant who ordered her beloved Lieutenant Awn's death, but now the tyrant knows of her existence--and plans to make use of her. Breq is given a new ship and crew and sent to make sense of a troubled planet of tea plantations. Breq has become more accustomed to acting as a single human body (as opposed to her thousands of years of being the AI controlling a ship and its corpse-bodied crew) but still takes a distinctly alien approach to dealing wit ...more
Joel Gerber
Jan 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
Well this was awful. A complete slog to get through, there was nothing interesting or exciting that happens. What's strange is the first book was innovative, interesting, and emotionally moving in parts.

I read sci-fi specifically so I can avoid books where the entire plot revolves around characters sitting in a circle and talking and nothing ever happens. This one? Pride and prejudice in space.

All the interesting elements from the first book are completely absent. It's almost like the author w
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I didn’t like this as much as the first book, I think. It has a completely different focus to the first book, a much more domestic one, and I was expecting something different the whole time. The focus is much more on society in the Radch, rather than the issues of identity that were at work in the first book with Breq’s separation from the Justice of Toren, and the Anaander Mianaai issue. It’s an exploration of more of the world than we saw in the first book, and I really liked that once I got ...more
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Other books in the series

Imperial Radch (3 books)
  • Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1)
  • Ancillary Mercy (Imperial Radch #3)
“When they behave properly, you will say there is no problem. When they complain loudly, you will say they cause their own problems with their impropriety. And when they are driven to extremes, you say you will not reward such actions. What will it take for you to listen?” 46 likes
“Translator Dlique was saying, very earnestly, “Eggs are so inadequate, don’t you think? I mean, they ought to be able to become anything, but instead you always get a chicken. Or a duck. Or whatever they’re programmed to be. You never get anything interesting, like regret, or the middle of the night last week.” 46 likes
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