Ancillary Sword

Ancillary Sword

4.3 21
by Ann Leckie
     
 

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The sequel to Ancillary Justice, the only novel to ever win the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards and the second book in Ann Leckie's New York Times bestselling series.

Breq is a soldier who used to be a warship. Once a weapon of conquest controlling thousands of minds, now she has only a single body and serves the emperor.

With a

Overview

The sequel to Ancillary Justice, the only novel to ever win the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards and the second book in Ann Leckie's New York Times bestselling series.

Breq is a soldier who used to be a warship. Once a weapon of conquest controlling thousands of minds, now she has only a single body and serves the emperor.

With a new ship and a troublesome crew, Breq is ordered to go to the only place in the galaxy she would agree to go: to Athoek Station to protect the family of a lieutenant she once knew - a lieutenant she murdered in cold blood.

In the Ancillary world:
1. Ancillary Justice
2. Ancillary Sword
3. Ancillary Mercy

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - N. K. Jemisin
Where the first novel explored the consequences of a human transcending individuality…here we see the consequences of a many-minded entity being reduced to simple humanity. Throughout the novel…Breq shows the strain of her tremendous loss. In the process, Leckie thumbs her nose again at science fiction tradition, which abounds with disabled people being made whole by technology, and with nonhumans inexplicably yearning for humanity. The technology of the Radchaai is miraculous, but it cannot repair identity. And why would any entity with a truly nonhuman identity ever crave humanity? Where Leckie poked holes in sexist thought in the last book, here she attacks the self-absorption of science fiction itself. After all, is the genre truly meant to explore new ways of thinking? Or should it just endlessly stroke the egos of its assumed audience? Leckie once again makes it delightfully clear that one of these questions is just too stupid to be worth her time.
Publishers Weekly
08/11/2014
Leckie's powerful sequel to Ancillary Justice is a touch less ambitious in structure, but every bit as incisive. As news that open civil war has broken out slowly percolates through the crumbling networks of Radchaai space, Fleet Captain Breq Mianaai arrives at Athoek. Subjugated by the aggressively expansionist empire six centuries before, Athoek should be an exemplary world of peace, wealth, and concord, but what Breq finds is a world where the Radch precepts of "justice, propriety, and benefit" have been twisted to justify negligence, outright exploitation, and willful ignorance by those charged with enforcing the law. As Breq methodically analyzes the intertwined networks of privilege, incompetence, corruption and spiteful cruelty, she learns that not all outrages can be punished and justice is often denied to those who most deserve it. Breq's struggle for meaningful justice in a society designed to favor the strong is as engaging as ever. Readers new to the author will be enthralled, and those familiar with the first book will find that the faith it inspired has not been misplaced. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (Oct.)
John Scalzi on Ancillary Justice
"Unexpected, compelling and very cool. Ann Leckie nails it...I've never met a heroine like Breq before. I consider this a very good thing indeed."
i09.com (included in 'This Fall's Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books')
"Ancillary Justice is the mind-blowing space opera you've been needing...This is a novel that will thrill you like the page-turner it is, but stick with you for a long time afterward."
Liz Bourke
"It's not every day a debut novel by an author you'd never heard of before derails your entire afternoon with its brilliance. But when my review copy of Ancillary Justice arrived, that's exactly what it did. In fact, it arrowed upward to reach a pretty high position on my list of best space opera novels ever."
Elizabeth Bear on Ancillary Justice
"Establishes Leckie as an heir to Banks and Cherryh."
RT Book Reviews on Ancillary Justice
"Leckie's debut gives casual and hardcore sci-fi fans alike a wonderful read."
SFX (UK)
"A sharply written space opera with a richly imagined sense of detail and place, this debut novel from Ann Leckie works as both an evocative science fiction tale and an involving character study...it's also a strongly female-driven piece, tackling ideas about politics and gender in a way that's both engaging and provocative...Ancillary Justice is a gripping read that's well worth a look."
Justin Landon
"It engages, it excites, and it challenges the way the reader views our world. Leckie may be a former Secretary of the Science Fiction Writers of America, but she's the President of this year's crop of debut novelists. Ancillary Justice might be the best science fiction novel of this very young decade."
Paul Graham Raven
"Total gamechanger. Get it, read it, wish to hell you'd written it. Ann
Leckie's Ancillary Justice may well be the most important book Orbit has published in ages."
Jared Shurin
"The sort of book that the Clarke Award wishes it had last year ... be prepared to see Ancillary Justice bandied around a lot come awards season. (As it should be)."
From the Publisher
"If you don't know the Ancillary series by now, you probably should. Ann Leckie's sociopolitical space opera almost singlehandedly breathed new cool into the stereotype of spaceships trundling through far-off systems amid laser battles. ... [Ancillary Mercy] earns the credit it's received: As a capstone to a series that shook genre expectations, as our closing installment of an immersively realized world, and as the poignant story of a ship that learned to sing."—NPR Books on Ancillary Mercy"

Powerful."—The New York Times on Ancillary Sword"

The sort of space opera audiences have been waiting for."—NPR Books on Ancillary Sword"

Fans of space operas will feast on its richly textured, gorgeously rendered world-building."—Entertainment Weekly on Ancillary Sword"

Breq's struggle for meaningful justice in a society designed to favor the strong is as engaging as ever. Readers new to the author will be enthralled, and those familiar with the first book will find that the faith it inspired has not been misplaced."—Publishers Weekly on Ancillary Sword"

Leckie proves she's no mere flash in the pan with this follow-up to her multiple-award-winning debut space opera, Ancillary Justice."—Kirkus on Ancillary Sword"

This follow-up builds on the world and characters that the author introduced in the first book and takes the story in new directions. There is much more to explore in Leckie's universe, one of the most original in SF today."—Library Journal (starred review) on Ancillary Sword"

An ambitious space opera that proves that Justice was no fluke.... a book every serious reader of science fiction should pick up."—RT Book Reviews on Ancillary Sword"

Superb... Sword proves that [Leckie]'s not a one-hit wonder. I look forward to the rest of Breg's tale."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Ancillary Sword"

A gripping read, with top-notch world building and a set of rich subtexts about human rights, colonialism — and (yes) hive mind sex."—io9 on Ancillary Sword"

Leckie investigates what it means to be human, to be an individual and to live in a civilized society."—Scientific American on Ancillary Sword"

Unexpected, compelling and very cool. Ann Leckie nails it...I've never met a heroine like Breq before. I consider this a very good thing indeed."—John Scalzi on Ancillary Justice "

Ancillary Justice is the mind-blowing space opera you've been needing...This is a novel that will thrill you like the page-turner it is, but stick with you for a long time afterward."—io9 (included in 'This Fall's Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books')"

It's not every day a debut novel by an author you'd never heard of before derails your entire afternoon with its brilliance. But when my review copy of Ancillary Justice arrived, that's exactly what it did. In fact, it arrowed upward to reach a pretty high position on my list of best space opera novels ever."—Liz Bourke, Tor.com"

Establishes Leckie as an heir to Banks and Cherryh."—Elizabeth Bear on Ancillary Justice "

A double-threaded narrative proves seductive, drawing the reader into the naive but determined protagonist's efforts to transform an unjust universe. Leckie uses...an expansionist galaxy-spinning empire [and] a protagonist on a single-minded quest for justice to transcend space-opera conventions in innovative ways. This impressive debut succeeds in making Breq a protagonist readers will invest in, and establishes Leckie as a talent to watch."—Publishers Weekly on Ancillary Justice"

Using the format of SF military adventure blended with hints of space opera, Leckie explores the expanded meaning of human nature and the uneasy balance between individuality and membership in a group identity. Leckie is a newcomer to watch as she expands on the history and future of her new and exciting universe."—Library Journal on Ancillary Justice "

A sharply written space opera with a richly imagined sense of detail and place, this debut novel from Ann Leckie works as both an evocative science fiction tale and an involving character study...it's also a strongly female-driven piece, tackling ideas about politics and gender in a way that's both engaging and provocative...Ancillary Justice is a gripping read that's well worth a look."—SFX (UK) on Ancillary Justice"

It engages, it excites, and it challenges the way the reader views our world. Leckie may be a former Secretary of the Science Fiction Writers of America, but she's the President of this year's crop of debut novelists. Ancillary Justice might be the best science fiction novel of this very young decade."—Justin Landon, Staffer's Book Review on Ancillary Justice"

Total gamechanger. Get it, read it, wish to hell you'd written it. Ann
Leckie's Ancillary Justice may well be the most important book Orbit has published in ages."—Paul Graham Raven on Ancillary Justice"

The sort of book that the Clarke Award wishes it had last year ... be prepared to see Ancillary Justice bandied around a lot come awards season. (As it should be)."—Jared Shurin, Pornokitsch

Kirkus Reviews
2014-07-23
Leckie proves she's no mere flash in the pan with this follow-up to her multiaward-winning debut space opera, Ancillary Justice (2013). Breq used to be One Esk Nineteen, an ancillary, or human-bodied extension, of the Artificial Intelligence that powered the ship Justice of Toren. Two decades after the ship's destruction, she is Fleet Capt. Breq Mianaai, envoy of the many-bodied Lord of the Radch empire, Anaander Mianaai. Or a tool of part of her: The Lord is a mind divided against itself, and the dissension among herselves has brought the empire to the brink of civil war. One faction has sent Breq to Athoek station to secure it. Once there, Breq discovers that the station and the planet below are a microcosm of corruption and conspiracy, another symptom of the empire's decay. After the literally explosive finale of the previous installment, one might have expected the novel to have a broader, more action-focused sweep. But Leckie doesn't seem concerned with space battles—the core of the story she wants to tell is more intimate, personal. As in the previous volume, she offers the groaningly obvious moral that those who are considered of lesser breeding frequently display far nobler behavior than the cardboard villains who believe themselves to be their so-called betters. She manages to retain interest, however, by cutting Breq and her friends and allies from more richly patterned cloth. The AI who proves to have more insight, more compassion and a greater sense of justice—who is, in fact, more human—than the humans around it is a common sci-fi trope. But Breq intriguingly defies that trope in one key sense: AIs of that sort usually aspire to be human, while Breq feels lonely and limited in her single body, desperately, painfully missing what she once was. Perhaps something of a retread but still interesting and worth following to its conclusion.
Library Journal
★ 09/15/2014
Newly appointed fleet captain Breq has been assigned a ship, the Mercy of Kalr, and sent by the Lord of the Radch to Athoek Station. Setting aside (for the most part) the brewing civil war in the Radch empire among clone factions of their leader, Breq has personal reasons for wanting to visit Athoek, which harken back to her final days as a ship ancillary and the events detailed in 2013's Hugo Award-winning Ancillary Justice. But while the titular noun may have changed in this sequel, our antagonist is still very much obsessed with justice and with helping underdogs where she finds them. Breq is a beautiful creation, a former ancillary who functioned as a part of her (now destroyed) ship, still longing for the experience of being completely integrated with her crew even while she deplores the imperial policies that created ancillaries and stripped them of their humanity. VERDICT Few novels could match the bolt-out-of-the-sky originality of Leckie's debut, but this follow-up builds on the world and characters that the author introduced in the first book and takes the story in new directions. There is much more to explore in Leckie's universe, one of the most original in sf today. [See Q&A with Leckie, p. 54.—Ed.]

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316246651
Publisher:
Orbit
Publication date:
10/07/2014
Series:
Imperial Radch Series , #2
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
57,428
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Ann Leckie has worked as a waitress, a receptionist, a rodman on a land-surveying crew, a lunch lady, and a recording engineer. The author of many published short stories, and former secretary of the Science Fiction Writers of America, she lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband, children, and cats.

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Ancillary Sword 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been anticipating this one so much that I re-read the first (Ancillary Justice) before digging into the sequel, which gave me an interesting experience of immediate comparison. Sword is a little more challenging to get into than Justice was, even though I was already familiar with the world and Leckie's fantastic use of language. However, the further I got into reading, the more I came to appreciate the spaces she creates between characters and their motivations and the way that she invites the reader to do the work of filling in those gaps. It's such a deliberate technique that subtly emphasizes Breq's alienation. This isn't a book of big explosions (mostly) or universe-changing decisions (except where it is). Instead, it's a nice breath after the storm of the first book that allows the characters to build their found-family (Firefly-style) and creates a slow setup for more novels to come. I'm giving it five stars because I think that's a brave choice given current expectations for sequels, when the impetus might be to give Breq a bigger boss to fight after the end of the first book. After the successful (-ish) end of a twenty-odd year mission in Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword _needed_ to be a breath, a move toward a different tone in plot development and stakes, and I'm glad Leckie took the space to give it to us. I'm looking forward to going back and re-reading to pick up on all the important details I missed in the first read. This is a book full of crunchy nuggets that deserve to be savored.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ancillary Justice setup this universe and introduced all of the interesting ideas. This book offers nothing new or interesting. The plot is merely a sequence of things that happen with no setup or pay off. More time was spent describing tea sets than was spent on science fiction or character development. This book is nothing like the original.
jdmerryman More than 1 year ago
One excellent and one really really good book. I am looking forward to many books from this author in the future.
Huey_Freidman More than 1 year ago
First book was outstanding but this one felt plotless and wholly uninteresting. I wouldn't have finished it if I hadn't already had so much invested from the first book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The main reason why I enjoy the Ancillary books is because of its unique setting and concepts. Ancillary Sword focuses on how Justice of Toren conflicts between a human and an AI's identity. I found the beginning of this book estranged and slightly coarse... A little lacking. In my eyes, it redeemed itself towards the ending but I thought it could be developed a little more. Overall it is a good read but I think it is a small step down from the first book, Ancillary Justice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely original and thought provoking, this sequel to Ancillary Justice carries us relentlessly towards an absolutely unknowable outcome. Not sure how I can possibly wait for the conclusion to the trilogy but wait I must.
dealon More than 1 year ago
Better than the first. Lechie has expanded her characters and your experience to a higher level. I lieterly could not put this novel down. I find that she has a nack of opening up her characters in a way I can see that their development from the events occuring in this segment of this trilogy to be surprizing and allow the reader to enter the story. Surprizing in scope and enveloping in story line.
AymTru More than 1 year ago
Unparalleled. My only regret is that this is only a trilogy. Spoiler alert: I love this author. For those who lament the ongoing saga of the tea sets, you should probably find something else to read. For me, it's all about a formerly complex entity which is now a singular entity moving forward in a universe that is continually changing for "her" and "everyone" else. The tea sets become so much more than tea sets, and the author creates an environment that could literally take volumes of work to explore. But she herself is a singular author and can only document so much of what is possibly going on. Some people don't like endless items being left to their own imagination. That is both the strength and the Achilles heel of this author. Myself, I don't mind the heel.
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