The Radchaai have very fixed ideas of civilization and an ingrained culture that goes with it. The Radch have two sets of pronouns, she for its citizens and it for AI ships. Although in all three books, the feminine pronouns are used, the language of the Radchaai has no gender and AI ships, although self-aware, aren’t even second class citizens – they are property; a piece of equipment.
Once a ship of the Radch, the first person narrator was accustomed to be outfitted with thousands of ancillaries, ‘corpse soldiers’ that were hers to command, control and use. All that is left of The Justice of Toren, is a single ancillary segment, passing as human, single mindedly progressing towards one goal, which I do not think is revenge or a search for justice, but a more fundamental need: to be someone who acts, even if the act may be so small in such a large plot as to be almost meaningless.
The characters, plot, universe, language and narration work like reflecting pools and I think whether you love it or dislike it depends on whether you grasp its architecture, or not. I didn’t find it a particularly difficult read, it didn’t matter to me when a character I thought of as female turned out to be male and I found the interchangeable use of names and ranks easy to follow as it fit in logically.
It is one of the most brilliant trilogies I have ever had the pleasure to read and Adjoa Andoh’s narration is astonishingly provocative.
Price: 1 credit each or £15-17 each
Retailer: Audible +:
About Anne Leckie (author), Adjoa Andoh (narrator)
“Ann Leckie is the author of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Award winning novel Ancillary Justice…Ann has worked as a waitress, a receptionist, a rodman on a land-surveying crew, and a recording engineer. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.” Read more on her blog.
“Adjoa Andoh is a British film, television, stage and radio actress. She is known on the UK stage… and is a familiar face on British television. Andoh is the voice of Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency; she won “Audio Book of the Year” for Tea Time for the Traditionally Built.” Read more on her Wikipedia page.
- Target age range: Adults, Older adults
- Target gender: Gender neutral
- Genre: Sociopolitical space opera
Environment & People
Yes, yes, yes! One of the all-time best science-fiction trilogies ever written, brilliantly narrated, definitely a keeper for listening and then relistening again.
Written by: Ann Leckie
Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Series: Imperial Radch
Pages: 393, 384, 368
Listening length: 12 hours and 40 minutes, 11 hours and 43 minutes, 10 hours and 53 minutes
Available formats: Kindle edition, Paperback, Hardcover, Audio download, Audio CD (Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy only)
Publisher (Audio): Hachette Audio UK
Publisher (Kindle): Orbit (1 Oct. 2013, 7 Oct 2014, 6 Oct 2015)
Release date: 14 Aug. 2014, 7 Oct. 2014, 8 Oct. 2015 (Audio),
Word Wise: Enabled
Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Product dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 20 cm (paperback), 14.2 x 2.5 x 21.8 cm (hardcover)
Cover art by John Harris
* Kindle/Audible App
* Language requirement: Proficient use of English
Ancillary Justice, Anne Leckie’s debut novel, was published in 2013 to widespread critical acclaim and won the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, BSFA Award, Arthur C. Clarke Award and Locus Award. It is an incredible read and the second and third books are equally brilliant and compelling with the three books function very much as a whole. The audio download, narrated by Adjoa Andoh is even better, adding nuance and emotional depth to an already near perfect trilogy.
I cannot recommend listening to The Imperial Radch series strongly enough to anyone interested in quality writing and the audio books are a beautiful work of art. Highly recommended.
The review is based on the Audible version of Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy written by Anne Leckie and narrated by Adjoa Andoh. Click to read more about our eco icons and access icons used in this review. This article was first published on 30 April 2016 and last updated on 24 June 2016.