My rating: 3 of 5 stars
it’s a terrible thing, to be a younger sibling of a phenomenal elder… i so hate to say it, but Ancillary Sword does not rise to the awesomeness of Ancillary Justice.
it’s kind of, the Ancillary Justice version of HR dilemmas + and then this happened… and then this happened…
Ancillary Justice had a nice throughline–how did Justice of Toren get where she/he/it was? And was she/he/it going to be able to get revenge for that? but Ancillary Sword drops all pretense of the larger picture until the very end, at which point it seems tacked-on and arrived at so circuitously that it’s very convenient, but not terrifically inevitable.
Ancillary Sword has a meandering plot in which far too many things happen conveniently. it’s comparatively muddled and utterly unclear where it’s going. Breq also has far too many moments of near-godlike understanding and is so much the Good Guy, unlike in Ancillary Justice, where things were interestingly far more dicey and Breq’s good guy/bad guy status was far more in question.
i do like Leckie’s writing–she always brings up interesting issues and frames them in interesting ways–but this book simply doesn’t have the moral complexity that its predecessor does.
pity. but i’ll still look for #3 in the series, because i am hopeful, ever hopeful, that Leckie will return to the murk where Breq belongs.
having said all that, there’s another quite respectable view here.