Ancillary Justice, and its sequels, Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy, gave me so many things I love individually and didn’t know I needed at once. Ill political intrigue , advanced physics in a universe whose rules I learned and believed in, lots of sex, and character development so good I reflected for days on how disappointed I was in Seivarden.
The three novel series traces a fundamental development in the history of humanity, aka the Radchaai, in some future galaxy. There are a number of human-ish species, and a few nonhuman ones. All the humanoids are effectively ruled by this dude(chick?) Anaander Mianaai, the Lord of the Radch, who exemplifies one of the salient technologies in this universe : she has divided himself into thousands of ancillaries, human bodies captured and hard wired to interact with and as the central brain. theyre harder better faster and daftpunkier than regular degular humans. She uses vast military power and overwhelming nimbers to annex any new planet she wants. hilarity ensues, particularly versions of herself thousands of miles apart disagree with eachoth– er, with one ano– um, with herselves.
This brings us to our protagonist and all around boss moterfucker, Justice of Toren. She’s a ship. She oversees the wellbeing of thousands of soldiers, can track their every bodily function down to the heartbeat and lip twitch. she’s got a squad of ancillaries (like all ships) and a brilliant AI system. She learns to feel (daww), thanks to Mianaai being a murderous callous dickbag.
Justice is Toren is a bad bitch, she loves and hates, she murders and plots, and she’s truly fearless. which brings me to my favorite thing this series does: we are effectively reading a work in translation, and the narrator’s language doesn’t differentiate between genders. We have to rely on physical descriptions to determines characters gender and it’s basically impossible. At one point 300 pages I I had a conundrum and had to reevaluate who was licking what, precisely, and it was le lit. Virginia disagrees with my assessment of the wworldbuilding in ths novel. I think it’s clever and subtle and in fact, that’s what sucked me in. there are manifold languages and cultural tics and behavioral patterns and I was inthralled by them. by the end of the series we’re faced with some heavy fuggin questions about what it means to be human in a centuries-old class /caste system, and it was dope af.
Rating: 5/5 maker’s marks, cuz that’s obvi what AI controlled soldiers are gonna drink 10000 years in the future
Pairing: tequila because I, too, don’t always know which version of me is making the decision to wreck some shit