Luke Burrage's Reviews > Ancillary Justice

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
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bookshelves: ebook, reviewed-on-the-sfbrp, recommended-by-sfbrp-listeners, hugo-nebula

Could have been a 5 star book, but it was really let down by the last section. Oh well.

Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #218 (uploaded when I next have good internet).
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Reading Progress

January 30, 2014 – Started Reading
January 30, 2014 – Shelved
January 30, 2014 – Shelved as: ebook
January 30, 2014 –
25.0% "Very good so far. Will it live up to the hype?"
January 31, 2014 –
75.0% "Slowed down a bit. I hope it's ramping up to a big ending!"
February 1, 2014 – Finished Reading
November 30, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed-on-the-sfbrp
November 30, 2014 – Shelved as: recommended-by-sfbrp-listeners
November 30, 2014 – Shelved as: hugo-nebula

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Ric (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ric I started this but can''t get farther than the first 3 chapters. Looking forward to your podcast review.


David Sven Enjoyed the podcast Luke. Thanks for mentioning my review - extra points for that. Obviously I liked the book more than you did even though I agree with most of what you had to say. In particular - the idea of clones or a hive mind or multi-humans (from Hamilton's Void Trilogy) isn't new. But I think her execution was a little different and novel, (at least for me - but I've a lot more scifi to catch up on) in that through the first person perspective we get a simulation of what a hive mind would feel like – well...it caught my imagination anyway. I recently read House of Suns and I actually made a comparison between the idea of a cloned mind in that book and what we get in Ancillary Justice.

I’m one of the crowd who liked the book better as it went into the second half – however, it had nothing to do with the plot in the second half being better or picking up – rather it was the nature of Lord of the Radch becoming clearer making the earlier parts of the book click for me. I liked the first half of the book and the back story better (and the back story was the best part of the book) as I was reading the second half.


**********SPOILER ALERT*************

I totally disagree with some of your comments about the ending though. I enjoyed the ending and it’s probably a case of looking for satisfaction in different things to you. But you make the comment that the book starts out setting up how Breq is going to get revenge and the gun and then she ends up achieving something less than she set out to and it was kinda wishy washy – (my paraphrase of what I think you were saying). I think the opposite is actually true. Breq’s revenge, up until she gets to the station, was always going to be nothing more than a protest. There’s thousands of Lords of Rasch all over the shop and she might get to kill one clone before getting killed herself achieving nothing but a token gesture of defiance. On top of that, the central premise emerges that the Lord of Rasch is divided against itself and the two factions could loosely be described as Expansionist and Reformist – only one of those factions (The Expansionist faction) kills Lieutenant Awn – so Breq might not even end up killing the right Mianaai making her revenge even more grey.

But what Breq ends up doing is starting an all out war on the Expansionist faction and living to continue the war– not that she’s pro the other Mianaai but there’s the Mianaai that is the enemy of her enemy Mianaai. And I appreciated the irony of Breq then being adopted by the Lord of the Radch – becoming Breq Mianaai.

Anyway – what I liked about the ending was that Leckie had already set up the premise that Mianaai was essentially deceiving itself. The reformist part was acting covertly, intent on the division not being discovered by its other half – while the Expansionist side is aware of the other faction but was hiding the fact (from itself) that it knew and was secretly positioning people who were sympathetic to its views in positions of power. The whole situation on the planet Lieutenant Awn was governing was engineered by the Expansionist Mianaai because Awn was pro reform – and it couldn’t just kill Awn without tipping off the reformist Mianaai what was going on – but if Awn was executed for incompetence then the self deception could continue and war with itself could be averted or could remain a cold war of sorts.

I’m saying all that to say that the dramatic tension in the end is generated not so much by Breq’s revenge but by the self deception and internal division within Mianaai being outed...to itself – and you have a situation with Mianaai’s killing each other while at the same time having the common goal of trying to prevent the local consciousness syncing with the rest of the Mianaai’s across the galaxy.

Anyway – that’s more than I wrote in my review – AND THERE ARE WAY TOO MANY Enjoyed the podcast Luke. Thanks for mentioning my review - extra points for that. Obviously I liked the book more than you did even though I agree with most of what you had to say. In particular - the idea of clones or a hive mind or multi-humans (from Hamilton's Void Trilogy) isn't new. But I think her execution was a little different and novel, (at least for me - but I've a lot more scifi to catch up on) in that through the first person perspective we get a simulation of what a hive mind would feel like – well...it caught my imagination anyway. I recently read House of Suns and I actually made a comparison between the idea of a cloned mind in that book and what we get in Ancillary Justice.

I’m one of the crowd who liked the book better as it went into the second half – however, it had nothing to do with the plot in the second half being better or picking up – rather it was the nature of Lord of the Radch becoming clearer making the earlier parts of the book click for me. I liked the first half of the book and the back story better (and the back story was the best part of the book) as I was reading the second half.

I totally disagree with some of your comments about the ending though. I enjoyed the ending and it’s probably a case of looking for satisfaction in different things to you. But you make the comment that the book starts out setting up how Breq is going to get revenge and the gun and then she ends up achieving something less than she set out to and it was kinda wishy washy – (my paraphrase of what I think you were saying). I think the opposite is actually true. Breq’s revenge, up until she gets to the station, was always going to be nothing more than a protest. There’s thousands of Lords of Rasch all over the shop and she might get to kill one clone before getting killed herself achieving nothing but a token gesture of defiance. On top of that, the central premise emerges that the Lord of Rasch is divided against itself and the two factions could loosely be described as Expansionist and Reformist – only one of those factions (The Expansionist faction) kills Lieutenant Awn – so Breq might not even end up killing the right Mianaai making her revenge even more grey.

But what Breq ends up doing is starting an all out war on the Expansionist faction and living to continue the war– not that she’s pro the other Mianaai but there’s the Mianaai that is the enemy of her enemy Mianaai. And I appreciated the irony of Breq then being adopted by the Lord of the Radch – becoming Breq Mianaai.

Anyway – what I liked about the ending was that Leckie had already set up the premise that Mianaai was essentially deceiving itself. The reformist part was acting covertly, intent on the division not being discovered by its other half – while the Expansionist side is aware of the other faction but was hiding the fact (from itself) that it knew and was secretly positioning people who were sympathetic to its views in positions of power. The whole situation on the planet Lieutenant Awn was governing was engineered by the Expansionist Mianaai because Awn was pro reform – and it couldn’t just kill Awn without tipping off the reformist Mianaai what was going on – but if Awn was executed for incompetence then the self deception could continue and war with itself could be averted or could remain a cold war of sorts.

I’m saying all that to say that the dramatic tension in the end is generated not so much by Breq’s revenge but by the self deception and internal division within Mianaai being outed...to itself – and you have a situation with Mianaai’s killing each other while at the same time having the common goal of trying to prevent the local consciousness syncing with the rest of the Mianaai’s across the galaxy.

Anyway – that’s more than I wrote in my review –and there are way too many Minaai's popping up in this overly long comment - but the long and short of it is...I enjoyed your review and enjoyed disagreeing with you - even if I had to answer questions of who I was yelling at on the phone.


Terence Blake In the audiobook, the emperor's name is pronounced "meeaneye", i.e. Me and I, which fits in well with the self-division motif.


Andrew Chamberlain Yep, started really well, but tailed off, although that might havve been me joust losing the plot (literally. She has a beautiful, eloquent writing style, I just wanted to see a bit more action and a bit less everyone tying themselves up in knots with who is who


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