Review – Ancillary Sword

Cover of Ancillary Sword by Ann LeckieAncillary Sword, Ann Leckie

I didn’t like this as much as the first book, I think. It has a completely different focus to the first book, a much more domestic one, and I was expecting something different the whole time. The focus is much more on society in the Radch, rather than the issues of identity that were at work in the first book with Breq’s separation from the Justice of Toren, and the Anaander Mianaai issue. It’s an exploration of more of the world than we saw in the first book, and I really liked that once I got into it.

It’s great seeing Breq back in the world of the Radch, a world that she is perfectly suited for, a world she knows exactly how to operate in. And it’s great seeing her begin to work against Anaander Mianaai and the way the Radch works, in a way that’s still consistent with the values of that world.

I really want Ancillary Mercy now. I’m not sure how I see the whole thing wrapping up, given the fact that this book didn’t really advance the larger plot much. I suppose the books can’t wrap up the civil war Breq’s stirring up, not so simply. We’ve got a small scale going on, especially with this book, and the civil war is going to be on a massive scale.

I guess we’ll have to see!

Rating: 4/5

Review – Ancillary Justice

Cover of Ancillary Justice by Ann LeckieAncillary Justice, Ann Leckie

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this one. It swept the awards for the year it came out, and many of my friends adored it, but the first time I tried to read it I bounced off, and my partner wasn’t a huge fan. Fortunately, I did really like it; enough that I’m in a hurry to read Ancillary Sword, at least. I’m not sure if it’s a five star read — that might have to await a reread — but it is definitely a solid four star.

It did take me at least 50 pages to really get into it, maybe even more like 100. There’s a lot to take in, with the language stuff and the world-building. The world-building is awesome, and I’d be a hypocrite to dislike the language stuff here when it’s as consistent as Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor, and less obtrusive/central — so that’s not a complaint, just an observation: it took some getting used to. It also took some time for me to get to grips with the characters, particularly the main character. Breq isn’t, in her own eyes, a person, merely a fragment of an AI, so she minimises her own account of her personality, and that makes it awkward.

Still, the details of the world and Breq’s place within it build up, and the plot comes together really well. Unexpectedly, I found myself interested in Seivarden, really really hoping that Lieutenant Awn made it okay, feeling weird about the Lord of the Radch, etc. The feelings part, the emotional engagement, snuck up on me. But it came, and left me hungry for more of the world, to know what happens to Breq, to Seivarden, to the Radch.

Good thing I have Ancillary Sword right here.

Rating: 4/5

Top Ten Tuesday

This week’s top ten list prompt from The Broke and The Bookish is “Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read list”. Which is a little difficult for me, because I don’t really sort my books into appropriate seasons or anything. I just have a perpetual, massive, glorious to read list. But here are some books I’m looking forward to getting round to…

  1. Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal. This is actually a reread of a book I wasn’t wild about the first time round, but now I have this urge to reread it and read the rest of the series, and I suspect I’ll like it more this time around. We’ll see, but I’m hopeful.
  2. Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett. This is a reread, too. I know I’m going to love this one because I always have before, though I somewhat over-read it so that I could virtually quote it, and thus have given it a couple of years’ rest.
  3. River of Stars, by Guy Gavriel Kay. I’ve had this since it came out, but it’s at the end of a long list of rereads of GGK’s work, so I can watch his craft developing. I started pretty well but stalled on A Song for Arbonne, which is funny, because I do like that book and it covers exactly the sort of historical period I’m very familiar with and have done work on. So hopefully I’ll get through them all and get onto this new one sometime this fall.
  4. Friday’s Child, by Georgette Heyer. Because I haven’t read it yet, and it’s Heyer.
  5. Blindsight, by Peter Watts. Because it’s been recommended to me a couple of times, I got a free copy, and it’s been mentioned quite a bit in one of my book groups.
  6. Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie. Because it’s about bloody time.
  7. Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean. Ditto. And the opening, with starting at university and settling in and all of that, it seems a good time of year for that, even if I’m not a student this time.
  8. Possession, by A.S. Byatt. Speaking of scholarship and stuff, I’ve been meaning to read this for a long time.
  9. Little, Big, by John Crowley. I’ve had this book around far too long, and I’ve been meaning to read it. I just… never seem to have found the time. About time I fixed that.
  10. Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson. I generally enjoy Sanderson’s work, and this one includes superheroes. So very sold.

What about everyone else? Comment, link me, you know the drill.

TBR Tag

Spotted this meme on Reading is my Treasure and picked it up since it looks like fun!

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

Never-ending lists, mostly. I have lists going back to 2011 of the books that I’ve acquired (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), though that doesn’t include ARCs or library books. At the moment I’m also using my Stacking the Shelves posts as a visual reminder: look at old StS posts, figure out what I’ve read and what I haven’t, feel guilty.

Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?
Probably ebook, but I’m not sure, because I do have a looooot of both. It’s easier to go on sprees with ebooks, though.

A Book That’s Been On Your TBR List The Longest

Ulysses by James Joyce, technically! It’s been on my list since a couple of months before my first year in university, anyway. Other than that, I think it’s my Diane Duane books.

A Book You Recently Added To Your TBR

Dangerous Girls, by Abigail Haas. I keep hearing so much about this!

A Book In Your TBR Strictly Because of Its Beautiful Cover

I don’t really pick based on covers, but there are some that partially appeal because of the pretty.

Cover of The Hidden Blade by Sherry Thomas Cover of Of Bone and Thunder by Chris Evans Cover of The Falconer by Elizabeth May

A Book On Your TBR That You Never Plan on Reading

Probably Ulysses… I just can’t find any appeal in it other than “you have two English Lit degrees, you are meant to read it”. Well, boo to that.

An Unpublished Book on Your TBR That You’re Excited For

Mmmmmm. Up to last week it’d have been Maplecroft by Cherie Priest, or maybe The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley. Right now, I guess it’s down to N.K. Jemisin’s next one…

Cover of The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin

A Book On Your TBR That Basically Everyone’s Read But You

Gotta go with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, but there’s others too…

Cover of the special UK Collectors Edition of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Cover of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart Cover of The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

A Book On Your TBR That Everyone Recommends To You

One of the above, probably! But also these, particularly Ancillary Justice.

Cover of Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon Cover of Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal Cover of Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

A Book On Your TBR That You’re Dying To Read

Oh, so many. I’d like to catch up on some of my comics, actually.

Cover of Dark Reign: Young Avengers Cover of Avengers Assemble: Science Bros Cover of Avengers Assemble: The Forgeries of Jealousy

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

None. I don’t like the way they use that shelf. I have a bunch of specific shelves, but really I’m not keeping up with it very well since I started this blog.

I tag:

Whoever would like to do it!

What are you reading Wednesday

What did you recently finish reading?
Let’s see… mostly comics. The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H.G. Wells, was the last novel — read it for my SF/F class, though I discovered I hadn’t actually read it before anyway. Comics-wise, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, Avengers vs X-men: VS., and Young Avengers Presents. All Marvel comics.

What are you currently reading?
Actively, P.G. Wodehouse’s The Small Bachelor, Molly Beth Griffin’s Silhouette of a Sparrow and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland; the latter, is once again, for my SF/F class.

What do you think you’ll read next?
The plan is to read Captain America: Winter Soldier, I think. Then maybe I’ll get round to the acclaimed Ancillary Justice (Ann Leckie).

Books acquired:
Last book before I came here was Nicola Griffith’s Hild, I think. Then there was a little shopping spree in Brussels and Leuven: Helen of Troy: Beauty, Myth, Devastation (Ruby Blondell), The Book of Barely Imagined Beings (Caspar Henderson), The Prisoner (Thomas M. Disch), The Song of Troy (Colleen McCullough), In Search of Shakespeare (Michael Wood), The Folding Knife (K.J. Parker) and Alphabet of Thorn (Patricia A. McKillip). Some bought for me by my partner, eee. Also I bought her Fly By Night (Frances Hardinge).

There was also a library trip. I have to report that the library in Leuven is pretty good for English-language books. So my haul from there was Mockingbird (Walter Tevis), The Short Novels of John Steinbeck, The Lover’s Dictionary (David Levithan), and White as Snow (Tanith Lee).