Ancillary Mercy – Ann Leckie

“One moment asleep.”

And so we come to the closing of the wonderful Ancillary trilogy, some of the most impressively engaging sci-fi I’ve read this year. As ever, if you don’t want even a hint of what might have gone before, I’d suggest not reading a review of the third installment 😉

Book one, Ancillary Justiceintroduced us to Breq, a ship’s AI mind now trapped in a single ‘ancillary’ body. The second chapter, Ancillary Sword, saw Breq more or less avoiding the galactic war raging as she (and, must mention, everyone is a ‘she’, male or female – still adds to the otherworldly feel, even as I get used to it!) takes command of a warship and goes about setting right the wrongs she perceives in the civilisation at Athoek Station.

Mercy was criticised somewhat for taking the story down very small after such a grand opening, but here we see the larger picture come crashing in to the smaller stage – and it works very well, more so for having had that time to connect on an intimate scale.

It’s a lot to ask for this book to wrap up a galactic tyrant at war with herself, a civilisation being forced to abandon old prejudices, and a handful of broken soldiers serving under the command of an even more broken AI. And yet, it delivers: I’d say with satisfying resolutions all ’round, even while giving that sense of a much, much wider story continuing on.

I’m kind of sad to say goodbye to these characters – but can’t wait to visit another part of the universe in Provenance.

Paperback: 328 pages / 19 chapters
First published: 2016
Series: Radch book 3
Read from 3rd-10th December 2017

My rating: 9/10

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