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If you only read one thing this year... make it Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

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As the first few trepidatious pages of 2019 unfold, and the potential of a blank canvas stretches before us, the first thing on many of our minds will be which books to lose ourselves in this year.

Image: NASA

If, like me, you’re eager to find books to fill up your Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge, I can guarantee you one book that won’t disappoint. Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice is the most gripping, innovative, and viscerally emotional book I read in 2018, and offers a completely fresh perspective on the Science Fiction we already know and love. But, of course, Ancillary Justice is not just for diehard sci-fi nerds – it’s for anyone who wants to read something that will challenge what you think you know about the future.

The novel has received widespread critical acclaim, winning the Hugo Award, Arthur C. Clarke Award, Nebula Award, BSFA Aware, and Locus Award, as well as being nominated for others. This praise is certainly well-deserved, as Leckie’s prose is empathetic and stylish, and refuses to do the work of interpretation for us. The novel drops us directly into the action, forcing the reader to figure out the world rather than building the world slowly around us, and it adds an exhilarating dynamic to the book.

Leckie manages to weave action-adventure S.F. with a poignant and sophisticated meditation on gender, colonialism, and humanity, though never in the form of exposition. Again, these are themes which the readers are prompted to draw out of the text themselves, rather than being handed them on a silver platter. What’s more, this book is only the first in the Imperial Radch trilogy, a fact I kept in mind as the final pages drew to a close and I began to panic at the closure of such a gripping narrative, feeling loss of such an impressive book very keenly.

In many ways, this is a novel about loss.

But it is also a novel about rebellion, sympathy, and the interconnectedness of humans and non-humans alike.


Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie is published by Orbit (£8.99). For more information click here. 

 

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