I finished Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy tonight.
It’s the third in a trilogy – Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy. I’ve read all three.
The trilogy follows Breq, the sole survivor of a starship destroyed by treachery and a human clone that is the vessel of the starship’s artificial consciousness, as she attempts to revenge herself on the ruler of her civilization.
Leckie explores what makes an individual human and defies our society’s binary gender paradigm by using the feminine pronoun for all characters and refusing to use character descriptions that might, in any way, suggest sexual identity.
That is jarring, at first, but I soon fell into the notion and found it comfortable. The three books also suggest that the only way to earn loyalty is by giving loyalty, of which I very much agree.
Ancillary Justice, published in 2013, won the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, British Science Fiction Association Award, Arthur C. Clarke Award and Locus Award. It is one of the few novels to sweep those awards and is, in my opinion, the best of the three books by far. All the awards were well deserved.
I recommend it.
Ancillary Sword, the second book, offers some surprises, but doesn’t have the power of the first, and Ancillary Mercy runs a distant third. It’s not much more than “this is how Breq’s story ends.”
Read them to finish up Breq’s tale, but don’t expect any of the surprises of the first book.