Audiobook Mini Review: Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

Breq is a soldier who used to be a warship. Once a weapon of conquest controlling thousands of minds, now she has only a single body and serves the emperor.

With a new ship and a troublesome crew, Breq is ordered to go to the only place in the galaxy she would agree to go: to Athoek Station to protect the family of a lieutenant she once knew – a lieutenant she murdered in cold blood.

Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy has become one of the new classics of science fiction. Beautifully written and forward thinking, it does what good science fiction does best, taking readers to bold new worlds with plenty explosions along the way. 

This audiobook took me so long to listen to, I thought I would forget what happened in the beginning by the time I reached the end. But surprisingly, it didn’t feel that way as I kept getting through it bit by bit for more than a month.

As there was a lot of tension and buildup in the first book, I assumed it would continue in this sequel as well. But the author took a very different turn here and while I was surprised, I think it was an interesting change. After such an explosive finale, the author shifts the proceedings to a new station and we get to see the dynamics and tensions of different peoples in this place. Through Breq’s unique perspective and the introduction of more characters, the author gives us a thought provoking commentary on racism, xenophobia, systemic discrimination, as well as human trafficking and indentured servitude. We also get to see lots of culture of this new station and how the formalities between people of different hierarchies is such an important part of life and daily work. While there is some action towards the end, it’s ultimately a slice of life story with a space opera and imperial politics setting.

In the end, I think this turned out to be a quiet and enjoyable story despite the delays in my reading. The audiobook is narrated very well and I liked getting to know how to pronounce all the names as well as the lovely songs. This is a nice series if you are looking for a character driven political story with important themes, but is told in a slow and quiet way. But it’s definitely not the right choice if you want something more action packed in your sci-fi.

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