Review: Ancillary Sword

Series: Imperial Radch: #2

This book was a bit odd so far as sequels go, shrinking the scope of the story significantly from the first book.

In the first, we have several different points of view, timelines, and locations. In the second, we’re almost completely following the former Justice of Toren in a single timeline immediately following the events of the first book in a single system.

Honestly it makes for a much stronger book. I got to know the characters a lot better even without the back story that was explicitly stated in the first book. Before long, I grew to really like and care about them. It was just a bit odd to come to this after the first one.

I still really like the main character. It’s interesting to see a point of view character that is perfectly used to controlling and paying attention to multiple bodies, even if they no longer can. It’s one of the main reasons I love science fiction: take an idea and build a story all around it.

The story and world building are pretty good too. Most of it is dealing with the small scale (for a galaxy) problems of a single system. You have people living in a section where they shouldn’t officially be and oppressed agricultural labor. There are hints of the much larger world which I assume will come back in the third book. It’ll be interesting to see where that goes.

Overall, a good sequel. I probably would have enjoyed it more if the first two had been switched.

Amusing side note: I accidentally started reading the third book instead of this one. It’s a testament to how much the scope shifted in this book that I didn’t actually notice for a chapter or three.