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text SPOILER ALERT! 2015-11-28 21:01
Buddy Read: Finished!
Ancillary Mercy - Ann Leckie

Warning: This post is kind of long. I also marked it as having spoilers, because I didn't bother to be careful about what I mentioned and what I didn't.

 

I start off with all the updates I never made, and end with more general comments about the book and trilogy as a whole.

 

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“I shouldn't've...that wasn't right. I don't like Captain Hetnys, and you know that, but there's no reason for me to be insulting her. At a time like this. Especially to you.” (243)

 

Like Grim said, this series is filled with wonderful moments of compassion and understanding. So we have Seivarden apologizing for insulting Captain Hetnys, even though Hetnys sucks, because she understands that Sword of Atagaris loves her. Heck, there are even moments like that for Anaander. I can read about Tisarwat and imagine a very young, very ambitious, very full of herself Anaander thinking “I could protect the Radchaai people better than this. I could.”

 

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I won't quote it, but I loved the entire showdown between Station and Anaander late in the book. I'm so glad Station got to be awesome and actively protect its residents. After centuries of being damaged and neglected, it deserved to have a chance to shine.

 

Related to that:

 

“I had to do something, Lieutenant,” Station, in Seivarden's ear, and Basnaaid's. “You're right, it's not the sort of thing I'm used to doing. I tried to imagine what Fleet Captain Breq would do.” (262)

 

Station asking itself “What would Breq do?” and imitating her as best as possible. Oh, my heart. Breq had a great role model in Awn, and Station has a great one in Breq.

 

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“I'll never forgive her,” said Amaat Nine. Said Mercy of Kalr. (286)

 

This. And all the goodbyes with Medic and Kalr Five. Even though I knew how it would turn out, it still made me feel weepy.

 

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“Get on the shuttle, Amaat,” I repeated. And to Seivarden, “You don't know what you're doing.”

 

“I don't think I ever have,” she replied. “But it's always been the right choice to stay with you.” (300-301)

 

I love that Leckie spent so much time on the characters and their relationships. The Perfect Scene was glorious, but it was little moments like this that made those relationships feel three-dimensional.

 

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“Your very great pardon, Cousin,” said Sphene, “but this having meetings so we can plan to have meetings business is bullshit.” (321)

 

Oh, Sphene. I wish I could sic you on a couple people at work next time someone brings up sub-sub-committees like they'd be a good idea.

 

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I finished two days later than my buddy, but I did finish, and I enjoyed every minute of it. As a very character-oriented reader, this trilogy gave me so much to love, and it certainly didn't hurt that Leckie included a few things that I, personally, keep an eye out for in fiction. Her AI characters were phenomenal and wonderfully varied. Also, one thing I didn't mention in my original review since it touches on some personal stuff, I was very happy about her inclusion of asexual characters and relationships. I identify as asexual, although, for various reasons, I'll probably never mention it in my reviews - I thought about it and decided I was okay with mentioning it in this post.

 

The way Leckie handled everything was lovely, and not something you see in a lot of fiction with prominent asexual characters. Yes, most of the asexual characters were non-human, but there was at least one human who was probably asexual (Medic, if Breq's guess in Ancillary Sword was correct). The fact that characters were asexual was explicitly mentioned. And then there was the wonderful and complex relationship between Mercy of Kalr, Breq, and Seivarden, which came together in a way I've never seen in even the best stories I've read with asexual main characters. To give you an idea, most of those would have paired Breq off with Seivarden and had her offer to take care of Seivarden's sexual needs herself, or would have set things up so that it was Breq/Seivarden/Ekalu. It was nice to see something different, done so well. And I should mention, I didn't start reading this trilogy expecting most of what it gave me – I just wanted to read about AIs.

 

Changing gears, I'm also glad that several fan theories I saw (in both fanfic and fan post form) never came to be. There were people who theorized that Seivarden would betray Breq, or who thought that Seivarden was destined to be the Ghost Gate ship's captain by virtue of House Vendaai having been Notai. There were also people who thought that Breq would end up having a baby, sort of the sci-fi version of a baby-logue. I'm thankful Leckie did none of those things.

 

So yeah. Buddy Read complete. I'm sad that there are only two other stories set in this world.

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text 2015-11-25 14:30
Buddy Read: Page 212
Ancillary Mercy - Ann Leckie

"Is Ekalu a lot like Lieutenant Awn?" (178)

 

I'm going to guess that a part of Seivarden still worries that Breq might get fed up with her and leave her behind one of these days. I don't think Breq would do that, or she'd have done it a long time ago, but I can understand why Seivarden might occasionally worry.

 

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There was no reason anyone would make any memorials to me, after my death. (200)

 

As awesome and perceptive as Breq tends to be, she consistently underestimates how much others care about her. Even now. I'm pretty sure that, if she said this out loud to her Kalrs or to Seivarden, they would have a thing or two to say about it.

 

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"I need to say, sir, none of us would ever call you it." (208)

 

Oh yes, the Kalrs would certainly have a few things to say.

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text 2015-11-24 15:32
Buddy Read: Page 169
Ancillary Mercy - Ann Leckie

"You won't want to miss the latest [historical entertainment], then," I said. "It's about a grief-mad ship who abducts an unremarkable miner pilot because it thinks she's its long-dead captain. Adventures and hilarious yet heart-tugging misunderstandings ensue."

 

I kind of wish I could watch Radchaai TV.

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text 2015-11-24 03:05
Buddy Read: Page 154
Ancillary Mercy - Ann Leckie

I finally caught up with Grim, or at least with the last part Grim posted about. And yes, the Perfect Scene has made me cry yet again. Good tears, though.

 

I remember finishing Ancillary Sword for the first time. I had things I hoped Leckie would do, and I saw some of the potential in what she was building, but I admit that it never occurred to me that things would turn out quite like this. It didn't fit the usual mold. I'm glad that Leckie not only didn't fumble this, she made it even better than I might have wished. I think I've only ever sent authors fan mail twice in my life. Leckie makes me want to do it a third time.

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text SPOILER ALERT! 2015-11-23 01:04
Buddy Read: Dlique and Zeiat
Ancillary Mercy - Ann Leckie

Dinner break! I was able to get far enough into the book to see Zeiat's first appearance, so I finally got to check what I wanted to check before posting about my Dlique/Zeiat theory. Which is paper thin. I have no real evidence, the sample size is laughable, and there are a few quotes that indicate I may be going in the wrong direction. But I'll post it anyway.

 

Okay, so both Dlique and Zeiat arrived at the station and introduced themselves as Dlique, saying that that was who they had been told they were. Dlique mentioned that she might be Zeiat, but most everyone agreed that she was probably Dlique. Zeiat said she was Dlique, but was corrected by Breq. This led to Zeiat asking what happened to Dlique and figuring out pretty quickly that Dlique had gotten herself killed. She was not very shocked about this.

 

I'm starting to wonder if the Presger have some kind of Translator personality templates. Like, maybe a group of Translators are raised (grown?) together and taught that this is what "Dlique" is like, and this is what "Zeiat" is like. And then a small number of them are told that they're Dlique and sent out into space. Dlique is more prone to getting herself into trouble, but since Radchaai have a vested interest in not upsetting the Presger, this shouldn't be too much a problem. People would try to keep an eye on her. Unless a situation is really bad, in which case Dlique ends up dead. The next personality template in the line is Zeiat, and if a Translator is told that's who they must be, then they know that something has probably gone wrong with the previous Translator - so, both an identity and an easy way to tell what the local situation is. Of course, that relies on at least one person who meets the Translator telling her that she's Zeiat, and no, I have no idea why the Translators/Presger would assume anyone would do that.

 

Like I said, my little theory has major issues, but the whole Dlique/Zeiat thing has been buzzing around in my head for a while now. We get little hints of Presger and Translator ways of thinking and living, but that's it. The Presger and the Translators fascinate me, even as they also kind of freak me out.

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