Liz liveblogs Ancillary Mercy

The problem with a series: you catch up, and you’re all up to date — and by the time you get around to reading the next book, you’ve forgotten everything.

In fairness to Leckie, it’s taken me a while to get to Ancillary Mercy, because I haven’t been in the mood for long infodumps about how colonialism is bad. But in the process of resting my broken foot, I’ve absolutely burned through my to-read pile, and, well, here we are.

I started to bombard Stephanie with reaction emails, but then I figured, what the hell, I’ve been slacking off on blogging since I broke my foot, let’s make it into a post.

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  • It is page one, and Seivarden is making Breq uncomfortable
  • DON’T THINK I DON’T SEE YOU ENABLING HER, MERCY OF KALR
  • I love Lieutenant Tisarwat like Kalr Five loves fancy tea sets
  • FINALLY THE GHOST GATE
  • THE GHOST GATE AND EVERYTHING IN IT IS 860% MORE INTERESTING THAN SEIVARDEN’S GENDER-NEUTRAL PERSONPAIN
  • It’s been so long since I read the first two books that I have no memory of who any of these other people are
  • I could murder for a cup of tea
  • I also love Kalr Five the way she loves fancy tea sets
  • SEIVARDEN’S LOVE INTEREST CALLED HER OUT ON SOME MICROAGGRESSIONS
    SO SHE PUNCHED A WALL
    I bet she spends her time on social media telling people from annexed planets, #notallradchaai
  • But seriously, if this was a Captain Awkward post, everyone would be telling Lieutenant Ekalu to get the hell out of that relationship. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT, EKALU, SEIVARDEN IS JUST THE WORST.
  • I’m up to page 40, and Breq still hasn’t gone through the Ghost Gate. More things and people have come through it! But no one has yet gone, “Um, hey, maybe we should, like, be proactive here and see for ourselves who and what is on the other side?”
  • Also the Presger are arriving, and people don’t seem nearly worried enough about that?
  • Mercy of Kalr and Medic: “Wow, Seivarden’s really dependent on Breq for emotional stability and support.” Something something assumption of emotional labour?
  • I’m actually very impressed by how loathsome Seivarden is, and how she manages to develop axes of kyriarchy that shouldn’t even exist among the Radchaai. I’m just never completely sure if Leckie intended any of that, and it bugs me that fandom treats her like a cinnamon roll.
  • There is a long scene where a character says a whole lot of offensively imperialist and colonialist stuff, with lots of pauses for Breq to be judgemental. Which are COMPLETELY unnecessary, because if you’ve read this far, you already know Breq’s opinions, and honestly, the offensive statements are QUITE overt. Leckie needs to have more trust in her audience.
  • The new Presger interpreter went from ADORABLE to ANNOYING in about three pages.
  • Just in case there was any doubt about this, kidnapping people and using them as slave labour is bad.
  • Sphene is my favourite new character. Especially when it’s getting into fights with Mercy of Kalr.
  • (I love Mercy of Kalr the way Anaander Mianaai loves overly complicated schemes.)
  • I am madly in love with the plot where Breq keeps giving AIs their independence, and respecting them as people, while Tisarwat has a very small nervous breakdown in the background.
  • EQUAL RIGHTS FOR AIs.
  • Breq is literally STANDING ON THE HULL OF MERCY OF KALR, SHOOTING AT OTHER SHIPS WITIH A GUN. I love her so much. I love this so much.
  • One of my narrative kinks is characters experiencing a disabling injury. Breq crying over her leg, and lamenting that it was her good leg, really speaks to me.
  • (Steph says: OH WHAT A SURPRISE. How off-brand)
  • I just want to take out a restraining order against Seivarden. I have a visceral reaction to her, probably because I’ve known men like her and they have more red flags than a Soviet Union military parade. It’s quite an unreasonable loathing, but I’ve worked so hard to keep that kind of person out of my life, I resent them coming into my fiction.
  • Tisarwat, Ekalu, Amaat One: “Hey, maybe we should go through the Ghost Gate.”Me: FINALLY.
  • Breq to Seivarden: “You’re a selfish jerk.”Me: FINALLY.
  • I am quite into Seivarden being called out for her entitlement and general assumption that everyone around her will accommodate her needs and feels, whilst not showing the same courtesy to anyone else. I just wish it made an ounce of difference to her, aside from making her cry.
  • THROUGH THE GHOST GATE
  • AW YEAH
  • I … expected this to be more exciting?
  • Don’t get me wrong, I am quite into the Justice of Toren Show.
  • And Anaander Mianaai makes everything better (except for all the ways everything gets much, much worse).
  • I just maybe expected … more?
  • Breakfast with Interpreter Zeiat and Sphene: pretty amazing. Zeiat still grates, though.
  • Loooooooong, important section all from Seivarden’s PoV SNORE. I get now what Leckie is doing with the character, it just doesn’t work for me one bit.
  • Is that … the end? That’s it?

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  • Like, don’t get me wrong, important stuff happened, but…
  • THAT WAS IT?
  • Maybe I was wrong about this being a trilogy? Maybe it’s a quartet and the actual end is in the next book?
  • Okay, Wikipedia says there’s a fourth book coming, but not featuring Breq?
  • I just.
  • What an anti-climax.

So that had many good bits, and much … eh.  I appreciated that the plot did not once grind to a complete stop while Breq explained that imperialism and slavery are bad, but the ending felt more like a step on the path to a conclusion. And that’s certainly realistic, but this is a universe where an AI inhabiting a revived human corpse stands on top of a spaceship to shoot other spaceships with an alien gun. I wanted bloody revolution, not Breq dobbing on Anaander to the Presger.

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