Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) – Ann Leckie

three stars black
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 386
Release Date: October 1, 2013

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest. Once, she was the Justice of Toren– a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy. Now, an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.


Ancillary Justice is one of those novels that has an incredibly promising premise, but falls flat in its execution.

Ancillary Justice is painfully slow. Leckie has a complex world to introduce to readers, so she takes her time fleshing out the world. Unfortunately, because of this Ancillary Justice doesn’t pick up until around 100 pages in and even then it’s only slowly ramping up.

What made me rate the novel three starts instead of two was Leckie’s choice to make the main character, Breq, an AI and the Radch as a culture.

Breq’s backstory is interesting and kept me turning the pages as it’s the driving force of the novel. However, the slow pacing quickly chipped at away my interest as the story slowly unfolded.

The Radch only use the female gender when referring to people, so it’s hard at time to keep track of the gender of the characters. There are even times when the gender is not explicitly stated so you’re left to guess. It makes the conversations and interactions fresh and engaging.

Overall, Ancillary Justice is one of those novels I couldn’t connect with because of its incredibly slow pace. I found myself putting it down easily and losing motivation to pick it back up.


Have you read Ancillary Justice? What did you think?

12 thoughts on “Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1) – Ann Leckie

  1. Great review Nadine! I ended up enjoying this one a little more by the end of it (I think it was a 4 Star read for me) but I had many of the same issues with it.

    I know one thing- the person Breq ends up having tag along with “her” I read consistently as female throughout, and then when I finished I realized a lot of other readers read them as male. I realize the point is: their gender didn’t matter (and it doesn’t) but I still see that character as female even through to book two. (Which I appreciated less). I would like to finish the series at some point, but I’m not really in any rush.

    1. I thought of that character as female as well. When it was made clear the few times he was male I was thrown off.
      I will not be continuing with the series, so looking forward to your review whenever you get around to it 🙂

      1. Out of curiosity- did you read The Raven Tower or Provenance? I feel like I read a review from you for The Raven Tower at one point but I can’t remember how you felt about that one.

      2. Well- personally, I liked that one even less than I liked this one, so I would avoid it. Especially if you thought this one was slow.

        But- some other readers did like it, which is why I was curious.

      3. Yeah.. part of the story is told literally by a rock. I’m sure you can imagine just what the pacing of that was like if AJ felt slow. LOL. It was one of my main complaints.

      4. I did however like Provenance. Actually I think it was the best of the Leckie books in terms of pacing. It’s set in the world of the Radch, but separate from the Ancillary series. If you were interested in that at all you might still check that one out.

  2. Yeah, this one didn’t work for me at all – I know lots of people really like it, or thought maybe the ending raised it up slightly but I didn’t continue with the rest of the series.
    Lynn 😀

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