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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: https://www.tor.com/2016/01/19/the-politics-of-justice-identity-and-empire-in-ann-leckies-ancillary-trilogy/) 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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    Spellbinding sci-fi

    A fantastic followup to her Imperial Radch series based in the same universe. Ann is a master of "show, don't tell" and her descriptions are just enough to make you feel like you're living in this world, not just viewing it from afar. This story is filed with political maneuvering, a murder mystery, great action and riveting character drama, all of which in a lesser hand would have resulted in a muddled mess, but the author deftly displays an impressive mastery of the art form and delivers a compelling read. Utterly recommended.
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    I tighter, lighter return to a familiar universe

    I tighter, less sprawling return to the same universe as the Ancillary series. In some ways, this is a bit more personal, in that the stakes are less galactic in scale, and maybe not quite as serious (though the stakes are high enough for those involved.) In other ways, this is a riff on silver age space adventures by Andre Norton, especially those where the protagonist keeps making mistakes while trying to figure out modern intrigue set against a backdrop of a mysterious historical artefacts. I enjoyed watching the protag figure things out and really become herself.
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    Worth reading!

    I realnjoyed the latest Anne Leckie book. Set in the same universes as the previous trilogy, but featuring a human protagonist, I found it engaging and fun to read. The plot lost me at points and seemed a bit stretched, hence the 4 out of 5 stars. Still well worth theCharlotte read.
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