Review: Ancillary Justice

Series: Imperial Radch: #1

High concept: In the future, starships are run by AIs which also control dozens or more previously human bodies known as ancillaries. Occasionally, the ancillaries get … detached. Ancillary Justice follows the story of one such.

It’s a really neat concept and does a good job of carrying the story on its own. It does make it a bit confusing at times to figure out who exactly is talking; a situation that is compounded by the fact that the story line jumps between a few different timelines and characters (or at least versions of the same character). Ever few chapters I found myself taking a moment to figure out what’s going on.

It also doesn’t help understanding in that the characters have odd names, many of which are very similar. It’s hard at times to remember who is who. On top of that, the various ancillaries of a ship sometimes go by the ship’s name (either to themselves or to others), so they literally have the same name.

On top of that, the plot takes a bit to get going. Things are already happening from the very first part of the book, but you (in my case at least) only realize what’s going on about halfway through the book. Once you do though… the repercussions are intense. Galaxy changing.

All together though, it does what sci fi does best: takes a crazy concept and builds out the possibilities there from. I look forward to seeing where it goes next in the sequels.