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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    A mediocre return to a wonderful universe

    Ann Leckie's latest book set in the Imperial Radch universe is a vastly different tale than the AI space opera that preceded it and I'm not sure if that change is what's grating me or if the book legitimately isn't written as well as her previous work. The scope is smaller and that's fine but the focus here is on a young politician who consistently makes terrible decisions that predictably end up working in their favor by the end of the book. Perhaps that's the main thing that grates me - it's too predictable and reads more like a YA novel than a tale aimed at a more mature audience. I did like the continuous world building and seeing non-Radch space. This does not continue the story of the first series but the events of that series are relevant here. However, while the previous series explores a lot of themes such as personhood, autonomy, identity, and complicity there isn't much of that to be found here. (For reference check this out: Identify is explored but it's very much a coming of age story. In that sense it's fine and I think there's a market for this out there - it's just not me. The viewpoint character is a bit grating due to aforementioned poor decisions. This is a coming of age story so there's a lot of self-doubt (actually, that's most of the book) and you get to read far too many of their thoughts than necessary which personally really killed the pacing and almost feels like padding after finishing it. This definitely is successful at putting you in their mind space but this is the mind space of a person of someone who is immature, lacks confidence, and overthinks everything. Ultimately I feel like if someone had told me that the book would be like this before I read it I would have passed. So hopefully I can do this for someone else. Wait for whatever she puts out next if you're more interested in Leckie's universe, the AI debate, and the after-effects of the Imperial Radch series and don't feel like reading through a YA coming of age story set in that universe.

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