Book Notes: Ancillary Sword

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
Read Sep 17, 2020 - Sep 28, 2020

I enjoyed this second book in the Imperial Radch series (even) more than the first one, Ancillary Justice. The world becomes more fleshed out, and the main character’s focus moves from a relatively simple goal of revenge to the intricate work of keeping a planetary system running.

There are complex relationships, historical injustice, lots of feelings, and a fair amount of political maneuvering. There is a lot about empire, colonization and racism. There are, of course, reflections about what it means to be conscious or even human, as the main character is a human-bodied AI, the last remnant of what used to be a spaceship.

The translator Dlique, an alien from the Presger civilization, is a really fun character who appears briefly but to great effect. This is someone who is not human but clearly has been …created? …grown? …shaped? to seem human, but then casually says absurd and disturbing things, like:

“Sit up straight, Dlique. Don’t dismember your sister, Dlique, it isn’t nice. Internal organs belong inside your body, Dlique.”

Can’t wait to see how things play out in the third book.

Book Highlights

I wished, for the first time in my two-thousand-year life, that I was given to swearing.

The Athoeki language. As though there had only been one. But there was never only one language, not in my considerable experience.

Eggs are so inadequate, don’t you think? I mean, they ought to be able to become anything, but instead you always get a chicken. Or a duck. Or whatever they’re programmed to be. You never get anything interesting, like regret, or the middle of the night last week.

And it’s so easy to just go along. So easy not to see what’s happening. And the longer you don’t see it, the harder it becomes to see it, because then you have to admit that you ignored it all that time.

If you’d ever taken the aptitudes, the assigners would have been sure to send you somewhere your talents were better occupied, and you’d have had no time or opportunity to dream up trouble.

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