Ancillary Mercy

Ancillary Mercy does a good job blending the larger overarching story and style of Ancillary Justice and the much closer to home sequel Ancillary Sword. The universe is still relatively limited to a pair of star systems plus the planet and station of Athoek.

For the most part, it’s a good mix and a much better sequel to Ancillary Justice than Ancillary Sword was. On the other hand, we still don’t get to really deal with any of the overarching story telling that we got at first. We meet a few new ancillaries, but they never really act as ancillaries. One of Anaander Mianaai shows up, but she’s almost comically out classed. There’s no real threat there. We meet a new Presger translator who is delightfully odd… to an extent that pushes past surreal all the way to unbelievable.

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Ancillary Sword

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.

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Ancillary Justice

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.

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