A review by miketilford
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

adventurous tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Ancillary Sword is the second book of the Imperial Radch and takes a huge tonal shift from the first book in the series. Wherein the first book was a story of revenge with plenty of action, this is a story of... um, drinking tea, I guess. There is also very little action, maybe three total scenes if I can remember correctly, totaling probably around 2 - 3 pages all together. So yeah, if you are looking for a book with a lot of action, this is not that book.

Shifts in perspective have always been an issue for me with this series. The shifts aren't as jarring as they were in the first book, maybe I'm getting used to them, they can still be confusing at times. Oftentimes Breq's perspective can change multiple times within the span of a few paragraphs.

Breq and her ship are ordered to Athoek Station to secure the system. In system they encounter various obstacles that I won't get into in order to avoid spoilers. However, we come to learn that the Radch Empire is not so great and pure. There are elements within it, or rather individuals within it, that do pretty horrible things, all while drinking loads of tea. Wait a minute, is this entire series a critique of English Imperialism?

Overall, the book was fine, although I wouldn't count it as one of my favorites. This series has gotten a lot of praise, but maybe I just don't understand the appeal.