This is the one that’s won them all: BSFA (jointly), Clarke, Nebula, and more recently, the Hugo Award. Never before has a single book had such a sweeping effect on the world of SF awards.
And does it deserve them all? Does it live up to the effusive reaction of the community?
Err, well… no, not really.
Which is not to say it’s bad. In a sense, nothing could live up that level of praise.
However, my personal problem with it — at least at first — was this: I like my super-intelligent spaceship minds to be the good guys. To be part of, and defending, Utopia. In short, I want The Culture. And I guess I hoped that Ann Leckie might sort of take Banksie’s place.
Obviously there wasn’t much chance of that, and it isn’t fair to judge the book on those terms.
So, back to its own terms. In any case, these super-intelligent spaceship minds aren’t necessarily bad guys; but they’re in the service of a pretty unpleasant empire. Though things get ambiguous. And interesting. And of course, there’s the gender-blindness of the viewpoint character, which is great. So yeah, it was fun, I enjoyed it, it goes to some interesting places, and it sets things up nicely for a series.
Oh, god, a series. Does nobody write books in ones any more? I was just looking at the current crop of so-called “Black Friday” deals on Kindle. There were quite a lot of books for crazy-cheap prices. Except… there weren’t really that many if you count a series as one.
C’mon, folks, write a book that doesn’t have a sequel, hey?
But I digress. Go read about Ancillary Justice: you’ll find reviews of it all over the place. Then go and read it. It’s great.