Review: Ancillary Mercy

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was the perfect ending to the Imperial Radch trilogy. It continues in the same vein as the previous two books: deeply introspective within the context of Anander Miaanai’s war with herself. The final chapter (which, of course, would have been an epilogue in any other book) comments on what turns out to be the thesis of the entire trilogy: sometimes you’re just a cog in the machine (no pun intended). You’re not the chosen one. The entire fate of the universe doesn’t hinge on you. In fact, it’s entirely possible that there’s absolutely no effect of the events of the trilogy. (At least in the present timeline) Most likely, of course, is that eventually Anaander decides to eliminate Breq for daring to stand against her, no matter which Anaander we’re talking about. But for now that doesn’t matter.

It’s so great to have a series that would be a side trilogy in any other circumstance. (Kind of like The Mandalorian TV show compared to the movies – at least at this point. I don’t know if eventually Disney/Lucasfilm tie it back into the movies in a significant way) It’s a lot more realistic this way. I love all subgenres within SFF, including the Chosen One. But it’s also nice, now and again, to have a regular Joe story. We follow her around for a while and she has some sort of narrative arc, but the world doesn’t depend on it. (Essentially the opposite of most Sanderson Cosmere novels/novellas)

I know this series isn’t for everyone. Some folks really need a lot of action. Someone I recommended it to couldn’t get past the first book. But if you would like to have something a little different and more introspective in your science fiction – definitely get through this trilogy.

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