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Ancillary Justice: 1 (Imperial Radch) Paperback – 1 Oct 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 330 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (1 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0356502406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0356502403
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (330 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Thrilling, moving and awe-inspiring (Guardian)

Signals the arrival of a hard science fiction author who just might fill the gap left by Iain M. Banks. Ancillary Justice is a highly original novel . . . an intelligent slow-burner. Highly recommended (Independent on Sunday)

You will be truly astounded at how Leckie has fully fleshed out a universe and is asking and attempting to answer the difficult questions that many authors never even address in science fiction (Buzzfeed)

Unexpected, compelling and very cool - Ann Leckie nails it. I've never met a heroine like Breq before. I consider this a very good thing indeed (John Scalzi (Hugo Award-winning author of REDSHIRTS))

Total gamechanger. Get it, read it, wish to hell you'd written it. Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice may well be the most important book Orbit have published in ages (Paul Graham Raven)

Establishes Leckie as an heir to Banks and Cherryh (Elizabeth Bear)

It's not every day a debut novel by an author you'd never heard of before derails your entire afternoon with its brilliance (Liz Bourke

Using the format of a SF military adventure blended with hints of space opera, Leckie explores the expanded meaning of human nature and the uneasy balance between individuality and membership in a group identity. Leckie is a newcomer to watch (Library Journal (starred review))

Leckie's novel cast of characters serves her well-plotted story nicely. This is an altogether promising debut (Kirkus)

Our #1 pick for the year's best science fiction or fantasy book . . . this Iain M. Banks-esque tale was the book that made us most excited about the future of science fiction in 2013 (

It engages, it excites, and it challenges the way the reader views our world. Leckie may be a former Secretary of the Science Fiction Writers of America, but she's the President of this year's crop of debut novelists. Ancillary Justice might be the best science fiction novel of this very young decade (Justin Landon Staffer's Book Review)

The sort of book that the Clarke Award wishes it had last year ... be prepared to see Ancillary Justice bandied around a lot come awards season. (As it should be) (Jared Shurin Pornokitsch)

Leckie uses familiar set pieces-an expansionist galaxy-spanning empire, a protagonist on a single-minded quest for justice-to transcend space-opera conventions in innovative ways. This impressive debut succeeds in making Breq a protagonist readers will invest in, and establishes Leckie as a talent to watch closely (Publisher's Weekly)

Leckie's debut gives casual and hardcore sci-fi fans alike a wonderful read (RT Book Reviews)

First rate, rollicking space-opera with plenty of action, intrigue and adventure ... a fabulous debut (The Skiffy and Fanty Show)

A sharply written space opera . . . tackling ideas about politics and gender in a way that's both engaging and provacative . . . a gripping read that's well worth a look (Saxon Bullock SFX Magazine)

Book Description

The record-breaking debut novel that won every major science fiction award in 2014, Ancillary Justice is the story of a warship trapped in a human body and her search for revenge. Ann Leckie is the first author to win the Arthur C. Clarke, the Nebula and the Hugo Award for Best Novel in the same year.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ancilliary Justice starts with its central character, who goes by the alias of Breq, on a wintery planet in search of a weapon with which she hopes to revenge events from 20 years previously. The story of those events is told in alternate chapters where we learn about a universe which is home to the imperial Radch, whose artificially intelligent starships control networks of telepathic soldiers, created from the bodies of those unfortunate enough to have been conquered and killed by these interstellar Romans.

Breq, it turns out, is one such avatar, One Esk Nineteen, last survivor of the troop carrier Justice of Toren. That sentence is indicative of two of the key features of author Ann Leckie's book. Firstly, that the ships control multiple avatars, all of whom are aware of what each other is/are thinking and seeing. Leckie handles the description of multiple viewpoints and rapidly changing perspective really skilfully. Secondly, this is very much a story of confused identity, as One Esk struggles to understand who and what she is. Crucially for the plot she and her like are not the only multiple entities in the book...... While the confusion created is intentional, it does occasionally step a little too far as, early on, Leckie rapidly introduces races, nations, factions characters, and interchangeable avatars at a pace which left this reader at least, somewhat disorientated.

As well as effectively describing the experiences of the multiple entities, Leckie gives the isolated One Esk a convincing, dispassionate voice, viewing the worlds around her in an unemotional, detached manner. While reading the book, one term which didn't enter my head was 'zombie', but in retrospect, that would be one way of looking at it.
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By Kate TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Breq is unique but she wasn't always. Once Breq was a spaceship, Justice of Toren, comprising thousands of corpse soldiers, each with a shared identity, one of many such vessels spreading the influence of the Imperial Radch around the Galaxy. Breq is now alone, her vessel destroyed, and she has only one goal - to take vengeance on Anaander Mianaai, the lord of the Radch, who exists in an almost infinite number of forms. Breq is also our narrator and it is through these strange eyes, this unusual perspective, that we witness the events that brought Breq to her single-minded purpose.

Ancillary Justice is an unusual novel, reflecting the nature of its narrator. Breq has lived in one form or another for thousands of years but in many ways she is socially naive. This expresses itself in her language. She can communicate with most races but not necessarily correctly. She doesn't readily know gender pronouns; everyone is `she' unless Breq is corrected. This has the rather peculiar result that we are not sure whether we are being introduced to men or women and, as we work this out, there are surprises. However, for me, this reinforced how little gender can matter when a story's narrator has far more basic identity problems to solve. While this use of the `she' pronoun has been an issue for some readers, it mattered little to me and I enjoyed the rare excuses for humour that it provided to the novel.

The novel opens on an icy planet with a moment of inexplicable mercy by Breq. She finds Seivarden lying in the snow, close to death. Seivarden had once been one of Breq's human crew members, many hundreds of years before, and there is no reason for her to be there, let alone still alive.
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Fell hook line and sinker for the hype surrounding this "award-winning" novel. Lost the will to live after approximately 100 pages, during which I found myself back tracking several pages, several times, to attempt to follow the plot, and gave up. When you struggle to understand the story due to exhausting prose it's time to close the cover. So glad I didn't buy the sequels prior to reading this.
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I finished this book and did something I haven't done for years: I started over at the beginning. Several weeks later, I'm still thinking about it.

Leckie knows exactly what she is doing with her ideas and uses them to enrich the structure of the prose as well as the story. Particularly interesting is the AI's split identity, which leads to some beautiful city-wide scenes handled with technical mastery. However, it's the characters that drove me to the second readthrough. Leckie vividly paints the central cast through the PoV of the central character, Esk, a strong and matter-of-fact voice with glaring emotional holes that become slowly obvious through her actions and through what she does not report. The settings are vibrant, the emotional arcs are like a punch to the gut, and the structure so well done that I kept intending to do chores but was unable to put the book down after the end of each chapter.

The only indication this is a first novel is a couple of pacing hiccups in the climax, but for me that would merely have knocked this book down from six stars. I have no hesitation in giving it five. Even though the story was satisfying on its own I am eagerly awaiting a sequel.
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