A review by katdid
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie


I didn't love this quite so much as the first one; there were a few peripheral characters I didn't particularly care about, and the first book was very quest-driven while this one was less so - I guess it's that middle book thing where the first one has the hook and the subsequent book sets up the finale. (Not a criticism; just an observation.) But I continued to enjoy the whole exploration of dynamics between captains and lieutenants and their ships; I dig that so much I can't even tell you.
SpoilerThere's this really great bit at the end where Breq is basically threatening Captain Hetnys' life and using it to manipulate Sword of Atagaris into behaving, and Sword of Atagaris complains bitterly about the position it's in not realising at that point Breq is an ancillary/Justice of Toren. But what's awful about that is that Breq, being who she is and what she's been through with her own former captain, knows exactly how to turn the screws in that situation with zero regard for the ship. You're always on Breq's side, but it made me wonder for the first time whether her side is the right side. It's really interesting to me too the relationship between Breq and Mercy of Kalr, who seems completely devoted to Breq when previously as independent ships they would have had a very hierarchical relationship; and the idea that as cruel and inhumane the practice of making ancillaries was, it seems maybe even crueler to deny a ship its ancillaries after thousands of years of them. Also as an aside I love Seivarden and how uncompromising she is
. The world-building in this is pretty amazing, is what I'm saying.