Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ancillary Justice: Book Review

One of my New Years Resolutions was to read at least four novels (at least one of them indie) and post reviews.  I know four doesn't sound like a lot, but it is for a life as busy as mine.  So here's the first:

Great original SF Lit, but doesn't fly at warp speed...

This is a multi-award winning novel, and it's easy to see why.  Leckie does an amazing job of creating a far-flung future empire with deep cultural details.  Her main character is a very cool kind of Pinocchio, a character who was previously an AI with control over hundreds of bodies simultaneously who, through events surrounding a similar kind of duplicitous conspiracy, has now been reduced to but a single body.  The plot of the book involves politics that reflect our own, with two forces that appear the same from the outside (are in fact the very same person with multiple bodies herself) waging a silent war against each other.  (Sounds like the parties within the U.S. government, doesn't it?)

It's an intelligent read with lots of cool SF aspects and steady character development.  My only big criticism is the pacing of this novel.  There were times in the middle and latter half of the book that I wanted to give up on it.  It just wasn't moving forward at a rewarding pace and at times felt bogged down in the details and traveling.  (And now that I say that, perhaps that makes it Tolkien-esque, which could be a high compliment, I suppose.)

A thoroughly developed, original book, but I sometimes found it challenging to stay invested in the story.  3.75 to 4 stars.

(And as a student and creator of cover art, I must say...  not impressed by this.  It certainly says "sci-fi space opera," though that may be misleading for what you actually get.  At no time are there any fighter craft in the book.  And yet it's an award-winning, best-selling, from a major publisher kind of book.  So take that for whatever it's worth to you.)

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