Ancillary Mercy

Ann Leckie
Ancillary Mercy Cover

A Decent Conclusion... of Sorts...


Ancillary Mercy is a good book. It's even a decent conclusion of sorts to the trilogy - but the story of Breq and her personal pogrom against the Lord of the Radch seems far from over. While much of the story-line initiated in the preceding two volumes is resolved in this book, there is still plenty of room for Leckie to continue. I, for one, hope she does.

Breq remains one of the most unique first-person narrators I've come across in science-fiction; a single person (body) that, due to the nature of her past existence, has multiple points of view and moves between them in an instant. Leckie writes these transitions seamlessly while trusting (and daring!) the reader to keep up. That is probably my favorite aspect of these books; the wondrously well-rendered head-hopping that is simply part of the technology of this universe Leckie has created. A technology that Breq comes to realize she is taking for granted.

I suppose I could have done with a little less tea drinking but it does play its part in the world-building. More importantly, the narrative is tightly focused with excellent dialog and the pace, seemingly glacial on the surface, is constantly moving forward. For me, the smatterings of action woven into delivery of concepts is very reminiscent of Ursula Le Guin's Hainish books. Leckie takes a similar approach in developing a far-flung empire but then places the action in the immediate area of the story. Sure, other stuff is going on 'out there' but the events important to the characters are the things with which they can deal directly. Of course, one huge difference with the Hainish books is that virtually every one of them can be read as a stand-alone while the Ancillary series is exactly that, a series that must be read in order of publication. Reading them all in one go is recommended because, after the world-building and initial character development that occurs in Ancillary Justice, the subsequent books hit the ground ambling with little time spent on back story.

This book is highly recommended with the caveat that you need to read the preceding volumes first.

Oh, and regarding the tea drinking, I did get a chuckle out of this review over on GR.