My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It's a special pleasure when the second book in a series lives up to the promise of the first. Ancillary Justice blew me away last year, and other voters agreed with me, because the novel won the 2014 World Science Fiction Society Hugo award along with a slew of other honors.
Now Leckie returns to her world of intelligent ships and subject populations in Ancillary Sword, and if anything, I liked it better than the first book. AJ rocked me with its worldbuilding and genderbending. Because I had some of that background going into AS didn't require the same kind of exposition and sometimes confusion that was inevitable with a groundbreaking first SF novel.
Breq is now a Fleet Captain, bringing her experience as a ship and an ancillary to a new role. She's still trying to make amends for some of the incidents in her past, and helping her crew navigate through treacherous societies. One of the most enjoyable parts of reading this was knowing that Breq's people don't differentiate gender in their language, so the reader is thrust into a post-gender world. We know not everyone we're encountering is female, but we don't know what gender they are. We're not judging characters' choices or actions based on whether they're male or female, het, bi or gay. It's a liberating reading experience.
I'm looking forward to more quality SF from Leckie in the future. Her career is off to an amazing start.
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