Genre: Sci-Fi, Space Opera
On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.
Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren - a colossal starship and an artificial intelligence controlling thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.
An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. But that might just be enough to take revenge against those who destroyed her.
This book came on my radar after seeing it mentioned by Tanya over at Girlxoxo. It was mentioned in a post about space opera books (I know because I Googled). Now, she does mention she didn’t love it as much as everyone else did but I decided I still should read it because it sounded interesting. I mean, a ship which became a person and her quest for revenge? I needed that story in my life.
Now, I am not a massive sci-fi reader, I enjoy the genre but for some reason I tend to prefer watching it to reading it… I know, I make no sense. I am trying to read more books, though, and books which are different and the majority of sci-fi which I’ve read lately has been really good so I think it’s been a good idea of mine. I wanted to put my general newness to the genre out there, though, just in case you’re some seasoned sci-fi reader you’ll know I don’t know what the norm is.
Anyway, Ancillary Justice is focused around one woman, Breq. Breq was formally a whole ship which controlled multiple things at the same time and could see everything which was happening inside her and was forced into being a single person in one body. She is on a quest to get revenge on the person which caused this split of herself into one body. And boy is this is quest for revenge to read about. It begins slowly, you get a lot of flashbacks throughout the book as you see what life was like for Breq when she was a ship and what happened to cause her to be just one person. Also, you get back story into other characters who become significant to the main plot and it’s done really well. I know for some it can be confusing to keep going back in time, especially as the flashbacks aren’t necessarily to the same time period, but it worked for me.
I think what was really great about the book (outside of a storyline which hooked me) was the original way in which gender was dealt with in the book. There are different people in the book and they are all speak differently and use gender in different ways. As a ship, gender was irrelevant to Breq anyway, but she speaks Radch which means everyone is referred to with female pronouns regardless and that small thing just made me so happy. It did get confusing at time, with men referred to as women so I did kind of think one character as being female until I was told otherwise so then I really started looking out for the small things which indicated who was who. But really, it was nice to have gender removed because then to me everyone was a woman until I was told otherwise and then the number of people who I was thinking about as female was crazy. It’s sounds weird but it worked.
One interesting things as well was that as Breq was formally a whole ship and had her consciousness in the minds of many bodies you were reading the book from multiple POV of one character. Breq was formally many people, a collective connected to a ship with a mind of its own and she has been separated from that and forced into one person. The sense of loss is apparent she felt at being separated from both her ship and the collective group was done so well. I think the entire book was done so well. I even have the next book out from the library to read soon.
This book is like nothing I've read and I am fully committed to continuing the series. I may have been insanely confused a lot of the time and continually but despite my confusion I was still utterly in love. Being able to love a book even when you're in a near continual state of confusion is a sign of a good book to me. I strongly recommend to all looking for a good and original space opera.
Read any good scifi or space opera books lately? And have you ever read a book where you were both utterly confused but enjoying every page?