The sequel to Ancillary Justice, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, British Science Fiction, Locus, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.
Breq is a soldier who used to be a warship. Once a weapon of conquest controlling thousands of minds, now she has only a single body and serves the emperor.
With a new ship and a troublesome crew, Breq is ordered to go to the only place in the galaxy she would agree to go: to Athoek Station to protect the family of a lieutenant she once knew - a lieutenant she murdered in cold blood.
©2014 Ann Leckie (P)2014 Hachette Audio
"Ancillary Justiceis a gripping read that's well worth a look." (SFX)
"A double-threaded narrative proves seductive, drawing the reader into the naive but determined protagonist's efforts to transform an unjust universe." (Publishers Weekly)
"It"s not every day a debut novel by an author you'd never heard of before derails your entire afternoon with its brilliance. But when my review copy of Ancillary Justice arrived, that's exactly what it did. In fact, it arrowed upward to reach a pretty high position on my list of best space opera novels ever." (Liz Bourke, Tor.com)
I enjoyed the book, but the difference in pronunciation between Justice and Sword was jarring. I greatly preferred Justice's versions, as they felt more smooth and understandable.
the change of narrator and the pronunciation differences kept screwing me up, every time she pronounced something differently than the first narrator my mind kept correcting her. it became very distracting.
The narrator's choice of voices for the characters was hard to stomach a lot of the time, with the inflection and pitch making it difficult to understand some of the delivery, and the ear-gratingly high pitched tone she used for most of the characters could be almost painful through the earbuds - but her deliverance of the spirit of the text seemed mostly appropriate. Having listened to the first audiobook, I found it interesting that some character and place names were pronounced significantly differently between books, as well.
The story itself, as in the first book, was excellent and enjoyable, however :-)
Completely different league relative to the first book. Lacks in every aspect, for me if was big disappointment. Strong feeling that the author really needed to have a sequel by certain deadline but didn't have any ideas. The first book is outstanding, so maybe my expectations were too high...
Maybe, after all it couldn't be much worse
The narration was significantly worse than the first book, even characters names did not fit! It felt like bad translation.
Not really, finished it mainly to honor the first book.
Please change the narrator back!
I generally only write reviews of books I don't like so as to remind myself if I see them again, and hopefully warn others...
If you've never listened to the first book, then this might be fine for you.
All the names are mispronounced from book 1 (Ancillary Justice). It really is poor to not get a new narrator to at least have listened to the previous book! This has really turned me off the book, as each time I hear a name mispronounced I: 1) cringe 2) have to work out who they're talking about.
IMHO if you're going to change the narrator at least ensure they pronounce the names the same! This is fundamental for an audio book, spelling doesn't matter, pronunciation does!
As others have noted, the narrator pronounces names very differently than the narrator for Ancillary Justice. Perhaps the new pronunciations are closer to Ms. Leckie's desired pronunciations, but I'd already gotten used to the previous narrator's.
More importantly, the narrator chose a high, screachy voice to use for Anaander Mianaai, the ruler of the far-flung star empire that is the center of the series. It's grating in the extreme, particularly for a character that's a power figure (or was in the first book).
I gave up listening after less than 10 minutes and will read the book rather than listen.
I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.
All of the really novel ideas and concepts here were inherited from the preceding story, Leckie’s multiply-awarded "Ancillary Justice”. With all the potential themes and angles this novel could have delved, I was disappointed to find that it was basically a stationary episode in that regard. Fascinating dimensions to and implications of divided personality were hinted, but never delivered. The stylistic convention of Leckie’s gender-neutral society, The Radch, to use female pronouns exclusively was fascinating when first employed in ‘Justice', but mostly confusing when revisited here. That combined with a slow-moving introspective plot and an overtly etiquette-oriented society often brought to mind sitting-room scenes from Jane Austen. While the climax did redeem my opinion considerably, I found myself really laboring to get through the final third of the book, which before that scene, devoted more pages to describing tea sets than anything martial, militaristic, or remotely violent, despite the majority of the settings and characters all being active-duty Imperial Navy.
The narrative takes no chronological jumps forward or backward through the timeline, and proceeds in present tense following the events of ‘Justice’. This means that the returning protagonist, Breq, remains a lone fragment of her former multi-bodied self, and can only give a conventional single POV narration, unlike the more elaborate one from ‘Justice’. Despite this, she frequently does have the next best thing through the technological aid of the multi-perspective spaceship under her command. This leads to many sly observations of dispersed characters, and a lot of speculation on their various fluctuating feelings and guesses at inner moods and motivations. With the other multi-bodied character, Anaander Mianaai, largely absent from ‘Sword’, there’s not as much opportunity left to explore this theme.
I’m also a bit surprised that Leckie didn’t set the reader up for a dramatic twist that involved revealing one or more character genders, after first subtly leading us in the opposite direction. Since there are multiple non-Radch characters who speak plural-gender native languages, this distinction could be delivered via their dialogue and is an example of the power of the written word has over cinema and other storytelling art forms. I think many will be comforted that sufficient intrigue and mysterious threads were left unanswered to fuel subsequent stories in the ‘Ancillaryverse’, but I hope they take broader, riskier leaps in the stakes and consequences.
The story was excellent. Interesting exploration of identity and justice. The narrator could have studied with the narrator of the first book.
I read all three books in the series before I listened to them. Whatever you decide, get these books! They are among the best speculative fiction I've read in the last 20 years.
Yes, the narration is different in this and the third book in the trilogy. But, honestly, there's no pronunciation guide in the books, so there's much that is up to interpretation here. The author does comment often on the accents of different characters - upper class, lower class, foreign, etc... I thought in the first book that the narrator really didn't take advantage of those cues. Adjoa Andoh definitely does, and it's really rewarding. Her excellent British English coupled with her ability to affect different dialects (Irish, Jamaican patois, upper and lower class English - I'm not good enough to label them, even memorably a German accent) gives a rewarding depth to the clues in the book. Of course, characters aren't really German, Irish, or from Oxford, this is a space opera (of a sort), people! Ms. Andoh takes her talents and creative licence to bring a nuance to the texts that I didn't get when I read them.
Lastly, to respond to the characterization of Anaander Mianaai - she's supposed to be annoying in the beginning scene. Her body is only 13, so of course it would be squeaky and annoying. You're supposed to side with Breq who can barely contain her disdain for the ruler of the Radch.
Short version - very professional narration. Fantastic books that if you've looked this far, you need to experience (read them, listen to them, read them to your significant other, whatever).
Great continuation from the first book, and makes me excited to read the third.
A huge change in some name pronounciations (compared to the first book's US Audible version), and some characters were given very thick accents or hard to understand voices that marred an otherwise very nicely voiced presentation (Some characters I could not understand everything they said).
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