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363 pages, Kindle Edition
First published October 6, 2015
“I don’t want tea,” I said. “Just water.”The horror 😱.
So let me raise a steaming cup of
* When reading about a character drinking fish sauce feels refreshing, you know you took your descriptions of tea ceremonies a tad too far.
* About that emotional breakdown. Why does everyone on that ship seems to have emotional maturity of a cranky toddler? Why is everyone always angry, pouting, or having breakdowns? Why is everyone always either in tears or engaging in petulant self-loathing?
“I let her down. I let Breq down, and everything was depending on it, and she’s never let me down, not even when I thought she had. The things she’s done, the most terrifying, dangerous things and hardly blinking, and me, I can’t even get from one minute to the next of just living. Wait.” Tears welled. “Wait, no, that’s not right. I’m feeling sorry for myself again.”
“Every lieutenant of yours I’ve spoken with so far has been an unsteady, blubbering mess. What are you doing to them?”
Good question. It’s the tea.
Maybe Breq would have had more nuance had we been shown her inner life, but despite first-person narration, Leckie keeps us at a distance from her, showing her motives only in the hindsight. So what we really get to experience is an account of Breq doing stuff for reasons not shown, then inevitably being proven right, with the intervening moments full of tea and manners and relationship counseling.
“It’s the fact that the six AIs in the system are meeting in a closed room to plan how things will be from now on, and the human residents of the system—let alone the residents of the Undergarden—seem to have no say in it.”All of this only works because everyone agrees with Breq and when left to their own devices everyone - of course - would do what Breq would have done.