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Ancillary Mercy (Imperial Radch, #3)
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Buddy Reads > Ancillary Mercy - BR - March 2019 ***spoilers***

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message 1: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments As the group have previously read Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword as BotM for sci-fi, I'd like to complete the trilogy. Would anybody like to sign-up for a Buddy Read, suggested time March next year (to re-read the first two if you like, or if, like me, you want to clear some other books in your currently reading shelf). Looking forward to reading this together.


message 2: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1766 comments I'll be joining in as you know already. We start so many series in this group, it will be nice to finish one. :)


message 3: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments Thanks Lel! Enjoy revisiting Ancillary Justice and Sword!


message 4: by Carlos (new) - added it

Carlos Segura | 12 comments I will be happy to join! It’s now in my calendar for March :) always down to explore new series I didn’t even know existed!


message 5: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments Great to have you on board, Carlos. We're reading the third book in the trilogy in March, but have Jan' and Feb' to catch up with the 1st and 2nd (as they were previously BotM for sci-fi). I'm trying to get Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1) by Ann Leckie from my local library again...


message 6: by Carlos (last edited Dec 18, 2018 04:13AM) (new) - added it

Carlos Segura | 12 comments Emmeline wrote: "Great to have you on board, Carlos. We're reading the third book in the trilogy in March, but have Jan' and Feb' to catch up with the 1st and 2nd (as they were previously BotM for sci-fi). I'm tryi..."

Wonderful! I'm trying to finish the Stormlight Archive (about 60% into the WoK) and as soon as I'm done I'll read the first two! They books are short so it shouldn't be too bad :) Waiting on the library to have them is the worst... mine has way too many holds on the good ones


message 7: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1766 comments Carlos, I love those books but the sheer size of them I find daunting.


Susie  (susiend104) | 265 comments I'm interested! Just finished the second one a couple of weeks ago. Biggest complaint: I cannot for the life of me keep straight which title is which number in the series. Justice, Sword, Mercy - I'll keep repeating it to myself.


message 9: by Shawnie (new)

Shawnie | 1679 comments I'm interested in joining. I haven't read the third yet and also would like to clear that from my To Read. :) Will watch for your comments in March.


message 10: by Milou (new)

Milou | 486 comments I’ll be trying to join in as well. I want to finish a lot of series this year, so this is great.


message 11: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments Awesome! Welcome on board, citizens!!


message 12: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new)

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2761 comments Mod
I need to start with the first in the series. I have a library BOOK ban, but audiobooks are fair game, if they have it.


message 13: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments I think the trilogy is on Audible; I'm considering doing my re-read on audiobook, even tho I have the paperback out of my library.


message 14: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new)

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2761 comments Mod
The library has the audiobooks. What was the planned time frame?


message 15: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments Planned start time was March. One month duration I guess would suit most...?


message 16: by Shawnie (new)

Shawnie | 1679 comments Audrey wrote: "I need to start with the first in the series. I have a library BOOK ban, but audiobooks are fair game, if they have it."
Audrey, why do you have a book ban? Too many check-outs? :)


message 17: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new)

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2761 comments Mod
I have about a hundred unread books that I own and another 200+ on Kindle. So, yeah, I’m trying to get this habit under control.


message 18: by Shawnie (new)

Shawnie | 1679 comments Aha! I completely understand. I should do the same.


message 19: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments I started Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1) by Ann Leckie (audiobook) today! Really enjoying going over the beginning again as I must have forgotten a lot of what was established quite quickly first read. It's an interesting lesson in laying the foundations the reader needs to understand about this world. So much I missed that it's great to have a better grasp of. :)


message 20: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments My audiobook "read" of Ancillary Mercy concluded this morning and, with two weeks to go, I'm really looking forward to the finale of the series!

For those of us who are re-reading the first two in the series, how are we getting along?

I have to say the audiobook format really helps me follow the story along. I guess two big factors with that are how I tend to drop and pick up a paper book several times and thus my reading is interrupted haphazardly, and that this has been my second reading of A' Justice and A' Sword. Adjoa Andoh's narration helps bring the nuances of different accents out, with their connotations in Radchaai culture of social rank. My regard for the series has shot up from "like very much" to "I really love these books"!


message 21: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new)

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2761 comments Mod
I hope to start the series in March. A whole bunch of audiobooks on hold just showed up at once, so I have to prioritize based one what will and won’t renew.


message 22: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments Ah, I understand, Audrey. At the moment I need to prioritise finishing-off books that I can see on my account other library users have placed a reservation on!


message 23: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new)

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2761 comments Mod
Exactly.


message 24: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments So I started reading (listening) to Ancillary Mercy on Friday. I'm particularly looking forward (I hope!) to exploring more of Lieutenant Tisarwat's mental and emotional state. In book 2, Breq advised her never to use Anaander Mianaai's access codes, but I wonder if that will become a plot point in book 3...


message 25: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments Has anybody else started or gotten a hold of a copy to start? I'm about to begin chapter 9. Enjoying it a lot so far with only inconsequential quibbles as to how things are unfolding.


message 26: by Audrey, Queen of the Potato People (new)

Audrey (niceyackerman) | 2761 comments Mod
I started Ancillary Justice but was really bored, so I set it aside.


message 27: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1766 comments I haven’t forgotten I promise, I’m getting through the dc marvel challenge books of the month and then starting. X


message 28: by Em (last edited Mar 10, 2019 08:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments Great, Lel! I am having a break from Ancillary Mercy at the weekend but it'll be back on my headphones while I'm on the bus during the week. I need to read a few books due back to the library urgently!

No problem Audrey, read what you love, not just what comes up! :)


message 29: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments I finished yesterday! I'm really pleased with the trilogy as a whole... I believe I'm not giving anything away to say I was surprised that it has more in common, thematically, with Bladerunner, Ghost in the Shell and Matrix trilogy than I expected. I love how the main character is so level-headed and compassionate.


message 30: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1766 comments Ive just started but shouldn't take me too long, child's naps permitting. I forgot about the whole male/female addressing confusion. That's going to take me a while to get my head around again.


message 31: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments When I tell friends about the Imperial Radch trilogy, I try to stop myself leading with "It's got this unusual use of pronouns..." and jump instead into talking about how the main character used to be Justice of Toren, a troop-carrier space warship. The gender stuff is really incidental and another facet of Radch culture, along with drinking lots of tea and the justice / propriety / benefit trio of religiously held values. Actually the genderlessness is unimportant compared to drinking tea, the values trio, and other Radchaai peculiarities to the story! But I found Justice of Toren, her arc, and how her unusual history pervade her story far more exciting and what ultimately lies at the heart of the trilogy.


message 32: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1766 comments 1st book down and I forgot how much political maneuvering occurs. I'm so glad I started the series from the beginning again. Still finding why people are labelled a certain gender at one time and another later confusing but about to do some google searching about it. I love JOT.
On to book two.....


message 33: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new) - rated it 4 stars

Roger | 1988 comments Mod
Lel wrote: "1st book down and I forgot how much political maneuvering occurs. I'm so glad I started the series from the beginning again. Still finding why people are labelled a certain gender at one time and a..."

I hated that about this book, I understand the motivations behind it but it's very confusing to switch genders while talking about the same person. And again, I don't have any issues with no genders or putting characters in "non-traditional roles", you want to tell me your main female is a gigantic brute of a woman that's one of the strongest people alive, cool, lets' do it (just an example....). The problem I had was that it took me out of the story because I had to try and figure out who they were talking about. If you call someone a her and then say him in the next sentence I'm going to be looking for a new person and trying to figure out where they came from.


message 34: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1766 comments Roger wrote: "Lel wrote: "1st book down and I forgot how much political maneuvering occurs. I'm so glad I started the series from the beginning again. Still finding why people are labelled a certain gender at on..."

Im glad it wasn't just me. I think, for me, it would have been less confusing if there seemed to be a 'rule book' that they were basing their genders on. Like hierarchy or daily attire, or manner. But if there is something like that, it completely went over my head for the second time.


message 35: by Em (last edited Mar 18, 2019 10:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments I've started listening to Leckie's latest fantasy debut The Raven Tower and it has a new and equally jarring mix-up of writing convention. I really got used to it with the Imperial Radch trilogy although it left me wondering so was Tisarwat a man or a woman? and the like. In the end I think "It's not that important" is part of the meaning of the trilogy, as the AI characters are truly genderless. I guess it's just an Ann Leckie thing to make the reader work harder, which I'm happy to do as I learn something about myself for having done that work.


message 36: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1766 comments 2nd book finished and much more tea in this one. Im so glad I did a re read I would never have remembered half of what happens in the book.
The over riding discussion I want to have about this book is do you think that Breq was right or wrong in removing Tisarwat's implants? They should never have been implanted in the first case but do you think they did the right thing removing them?
I think I lean towards removal but it has caused Tisarwat so much trauma and confusion would they have been better off with the implants and Anaander's take over? Then at least they would have known no different once the take over was complete to a degree.


message 37: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments (Just changed the thread title to indicate spoilers.)

Will respond to this interesting question shortly...!


message 38: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1766 comments Sorry, completely missed the fact we were spoiler free. :(
Hope I didnt ruin anything for anyone.


message 39: by Em (last edited Mar 23, 2019 07:48AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments I'm fuzzy on any conventions about spoilers in this sort of thread but thought it best to put up a note. :)

It never occurred to me that removing Tisarwat's implants might be morally wrong... I guess it would have been too dangerous to have an Anaander on board Mercy of Kalr anyway so there may not have been a lot of room to choose otherwise...? I don't remember if there was any description of Breq's thought process leading up to the action, it all happened very quickly I remember, and focused more on Breq telling Medic not to listen to anything "Tisarwat" may have said. Did they know before operating that it would be so emotionally traumatising afterwards? Generally I think it was the right thing to do as the Tisarwat that lives on after the process (I suppose) is more authentically Tisarwat than Anaander would have been, even if only 10% or 20% of the Tisarwat she was before...

Interesting!


message 40: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1766 comments I think Breq knew that it would be traumatic but maybe not how much. I think it was going to be hard no matter which way they went. If they left the implants in Tisarwat wouldn't be Tisarwat. But having had the implants taken away from her, she was shown what it was to be part of a great big 'community', for want of a better word, and then had that all ripped away from her. What she was left with was the memory of those bits of 'herself' and know that she would never have that again. That seems so cruel.
Breq couldn't have left her as Anaander without endangering lots more people but it just seemed harsh.

I've now finished Ancillary Mercy and I think i'm disappointed with the end. I was almost expecting a bit show down between the two Anaanders and feel like, without that, there are a huge amount of open ends and questions. I feel like the series could of carried on for a few more books to cover the conclave and the eventual outcome. Its not that im happy where the book finished, just the series in general.
Have you read Provenance? Do you know if that has any more closure? What did you make of Mercy?


message 41: by Rick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rick Lel - Provenance is set in the same universe but is not in any way a sequel.

Think the ending was appropriate, actually. Things don't usually wrap up neatly in life. You get a provisional conclusion but life goes on. The Dark Lord is defeated... but new things happen... etc.

And of course she could come back to this story thread in the future. But I get the feeling she wanted to tell a story that started with Breq wanting to hunt down and kill Anaander and which arced from there to a kind of resolution that sees her creating something new and moving beyond being simply an ancillary with no ship.


message 42: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments The ending wasn't what I expected, but this began to dawn on me with the realisation that book 3 was going to be set in Athoek system rather than somewhere new. Rather than expanding out for the reader to take in the civil war across Radch space, things stayed focused on matters that feel rather low-key.

I've not really read any "space opera" before and my idea of what that is is influenced by media like Legend of Galactic Heroes (it's an anime that I understand has a lot of politics and spaceships). And more recently by The Expanse TV series. I'm kinda sidestepping feeling disappointed in the ending by reckoning that it's simply not what I would expect of "space opera". However, there are aspects of the ending that I like; I find it lighthearted and almost humorous, the way Breq improvises a solution. Yet there is still tension, shots are fired, stakes are high. And the outcome supports the theme of what makes us human / significant, and whether AIs can have humanity / significance.

My favourite part of Ancillary Mercy was Breq's strategy for attacking the four ships in Zur-Anaander's fleet. Tisarwat setting the AIs free also gave me shivers! And I adore Breq for her level-headed fairness, her concern for others without prejudice, and being both smart and a formidable soldier.

Overall, regarding the ending and the third book, I'm unsure whether I liked it or just strongly want to like it. Whichever it is, I believe I'll read Provenance and another pair of short stories I've heard are set in the same universe. I'll be very happy if they take me to different corners of the world than those explored in the trilogy, especially if I get to learn more about Justice of Toren and her crew.


message 43: by Rick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rick Emmeline,

Just so you're not disappointed, Provenance doesn't deal with Justice of Toren at all. Completely separate though same universe. I liked it, just don't expect tie-ins to the Ancillary series .


message 44: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments Thanks for letting me know, Rick!

The short stories are Night's Slow Poison and She Commands Me and I Obey.


message 45: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1766 comments Rick wrote: "Think the ending was appropriate, actually. Things don't usually wrap up neatly in life. You get a provisional conclusion but life goes on. The Dark Lord is defeated... but new things happen... etc. ."

But as far as I uderstand it, she isn't defeated. Just that one 'evil' version of herself is. They have no idea how many of Anaander is on one side and how many is on the other. Then there is mention of a third side towards the end of the book. Im not saying that everyone needs to get a HEA in every book. But for me, leaving the question of which Anaander wins the battle of supremacy, if any, is a big unanswered question.

I agree that Breq's story pretty much feels told. She found and defended her little corner of the universe. But I would love more stories about this personality split battle, even if from someone else's perspective. Anaanders perspective would be amazing, if a little confusing I would imagine.


message 46: by Lel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lel (lelspear) | 1766 comments Im really not that disappointed how the book finished, just the series as such. I guess I kind of like all the main plot themes tied up.
I love the fact that all the AI's were given the choice whether they wanted to be in complete control of themselves. I think that was an incredibly brave and trusting thing for Breq and Tisarwat to do. Fingers crossed they don't give a mad ship the same choice or that could get messy.

I would love to know more about the Presger. They seem very out there and different. They remind me a little of a character called Simi from the Dark Hunter books by Sherrilyn Kenyon.


message 47: by Rick (last edited Mar 24, 2019 10:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rick Lel wrote: "
But as far as I understand it, she isn't defeated. ..."


Sorry, wasn't clear. I mean that's the kind of story that we usually get. There's a struggle and a dark lord who threatens the world is defeated. It's very definitive closure.

Leckie seems to have wanted a more 'realistic' story ending. Endings in real life are always provisional. As you note, *that* Anaander is defeated and they won... that fight. But just as in reality, we don't know what happens next (yet at least).

Basically, it's a reaction to the kind of story where we do get a final, definitive victory.


message 48: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments Lel wrote: "I love the fact that all the AI's were given the choice whether they wanted to be in complete control of themselves. I think that was an incredibly brave and trusting thing for Breq and Tisarwat to do."

Yes, and what a contrast to the impression left by The Matrix as to how trustworthy AIs are! It seemed to me that characters like Justice of Toren could be better trusted to love and nurture humans than actual humans.


Susie  (susiend104) | 265 comments I've been a terrible buddy read participant, but I found the time to finish Ancillary Mercy this weekend!

There's a part of me that will always want a resolution to the larger story, which it's already been pointed out definitely did not happen with the political struggle here. I can't even imagine how you'd tie up the story of the division between the Lord of the Radch, but I'd read that epic.

I wasn't sure if I cared about the characters of Justice of Toren or Seivarden after the first book, but the second invested me and the third did a better job of rounding out some unique personalities. The Presger translators were particularly entertaining, even though I'm not sure I understand their culture/background even still.

I like when books have both pace and depth, and this trilogy does that well. There's action, but it's all about identity, and what makes us human.


message 50: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em (emeralds0ng) | 162 comments It's lovely to have more participants, Susie. Glad you enjoyed it. I relate to the points you've made about wanting to read more about the wider civil war, caring about the main characters, and the entertaining supporting cast.


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