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Provenance by Ann Leckie

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adventurous emotional funny lighthearted mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Should I be controversial? I'm going to be controversial. Ann Leckie is the best sci-fi author of the past two decades. Am I well rounded in sci-fi authors of the past two decades? No. But being uninformed won't stop me from sharing my opinion! 

Provenance is the culmination of the best parts of the Ancillary trilogy. Political intrigue, fantastic world building, expertly woven exposition, complex characters and motivations... it's all there. Leckie is very much comparable to Le Guin in that her best sci-fi stories are not overly packed with action sequences or even adventure, but rather espionage, diplomacy, and complex politics. It makes the universe she has built feel alive and dynamic. 

As usual, this story is jam packed with allegory. From land ownership claims, gender identity, deadnaming, and the constitution, this book truly has it all. However, I never felt like any of these parallels were too shallow or not developed fully. 

If there's only one criticism I can think of (which is the case for Ancillary as well), it's that her characters are generally without flaw. The good characters are always the heroes that often know exactly what to do or what to say in the moment and they usually have little development over the course of the story. They're so easily... lovable. But, this is something I can look over because because I want to, so there. 

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