Ann Leckie || Ancillary Justice

Scifi to me was always something to be watched on telly or on the big screen, not to be read. I still watch Doctor Who, the first three Star War movies are great and Star Trek will always remain my favourite. For a very clear reason: I loved the fact that aliens were not automatically the bad guys (as in so much scifi). Of course Star Trek had its number of creatures trying to conquer or destroy the universe, still the essence of the series was the optimistic believe in the goodness of any creature. That’s probably why it turned out that I liked Ancillary Justice. Leckie does not paint a black-and-white world, her universe is more nuanced. Starting with her main character: Justice of Toren who is also One Elk. Justice of Toren is / controls a space ship and has been provided with a large number of living and breathing ancillaries linked to each other in a mutual brain. One Esk is one of those ancillaries. The Radch have the dubious honour of coming up with the idea of ancillaries; the species they conquer are turned into ancillaries. The Radch are an extremely hierarchical species that thinks it self superior to all other species and which is led by Anaander Minaai, a dictatorial ruler who multiplied its body many many times. One of those bodies has started to resist the aggressiveness of the conquests and has started fighting itself. Justice of Toren has found out about the dissenting Minaai and is destroyed because of it. One Esk survives its destruction and finds its way in the universe. I’ll not reveal what One Esk has set out to accomplish, I can reveal that in Ancillary Justice ancillary One Esk turns out to be surprisingly human whereas Anaander Minaai loses more and more of its humanity (by the way: the Radchaai do not distinguish between male and female). Those Radch Leckie portraits turn out to be deviants in the Radch world: Seivarden, Skaaiat and Awn are good friends who are prepared to stand up against hierarchy and their ruler.
At time Ancillary Justice was quite complicated. At those moments Justice of Toren, One Elk and her co-ancillaries were operating together it was not easy to get a grip on who was doing what. The same goes for Anaander Minaai and its many forms: difficult to grasp which form was acting. On the other hand it was also intriguing to figure out how coping with all these forms would work and to join One Esk in its search for the one true Minaai. Ancillary Justice is not just a scifi novel, it is a novel that makes you think twice about good and evil and the choices one makes. I suspect that I will buy part two, I do want to find out what’ll happen to One Esk, Seivarden and Skaaiat.

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About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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