Book Group: July 2015: Ancillary Justice
6:23pm, 26 Aug 2015
WtnMelI'm a science fiction fan and was expecting to really like this book. I've probably been spoilt by reading a lot of Alistair Reynolds lately and have got used to his big concept, space opera style. This book seemed to be on a different level and a smaller scale but I'm afraid I finished it with relief and won't be bothering to read the follow-ups.
If I try and work out why I think its because I liked some of the 'big' concepts - one mind in multiple bodies, a ship's AI in one body - but other aspects of the storyline spoilt it for me. Obviously the author has to make up characters, name them and set the scene and develop the story and relationships. But some of the stuff about hierarchies on ships and decade levels just got in the way. Also the (in my view) unnecessary and repetitive details of the Radch religion and philosophy and the constant references to tea, gloves, hand signals etc. It just seemed to me that the detailed descriptions (and repeated references) added nothing to the storyline and were just 'filler'.
I get the point of having to try and describe a different culture - there just seemed to be too much of that and not enough going on in the story to keep my attention. I found the story dragged as a result and by the time I reached the end I didn't actually care much whether or not Anaander Mianaai had or hadn't been destroyed. It reminded me of the TV programmes you sometimes see where what would comfortably fill 30 minutes is stretched to an hour. I came away with the impression the author wants to make a trilogy of books and not have too much of the story happen too soon and so had padded out this first book at every available opportunity.
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