Ancillary Justice

Ann Leckie
Ancillary Justice Cover

Ancillary Justice


Usually when I hear a lot of hype about a book, I end up terribly disappointed. My expectations of how good it should be exceed how good it actually is and, even when I prepare myself for that possibility, I end up being let down. That was not the case here. Ancillary Justice was just as absolutely awesome as everyone said it would be. I now only wish that the next book was already published for me to jump right into.

I don't even really know what to put in this review. Usually I spend my reviews bitching and nitpicking about what I didn't like in books. I can write whole novels about how bad some books are, but when I really like a book all the words escape me. Nothing I could say would do it justice.

I guess I'll talk about what I'd consider the two big stand out features of this boo. The first is that the main character is an AI. But not just any AI. This AI is made up of not only a spaceship but also several ancillary units - units of corpse soldiers - as well. This AI is basically the ship and entire crew, minus a few human officers. At various points, the AI is talking from the perspective of one single corpse soldier, a whole ancillary unit, and the whole ship. And somehow this is written in a way that is not at all confusing even though you're reading about an AI with multiple presences. In general I love AI characters, and this one was great.

The second interesting feature about this book is the lack of gender. The main civilization in this book to which the protagonist belongs does not distinguish gender, everyone is referred to in the books with female pronouns regardless of their sex. The gender of very few characters is revealed and you spend the book not knowing the gender of the protagonist or most people around her. The few times gender is revealed are when outsiders use gendered pronouns, which the protagonist struggles with on occasions when she needs to use the proper one. Which is a really interesting experience, reading a whole book without having characters' genders explicitly labelled.