lexlingua: (typing...)
Name: Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword
Author: Ann Leckie
Publisher: Orbit Books
Cover Art: John Harris
Awards: Hugo, Nebula, British Science Fiction Association, Arthur C. Clarke, Locus
Audio: Recorded Books (Book 1); Hachette Audio UK (Book 2)

Ancillary Justice exploded in the SFF sphere last year and won almost every award the genre has to offer, with good reason. It’s no easy feat, world-building on this level, with a character of this level of integrity and grit, and a thrilling, convoluted, galvanising plotline to boot. Think Star Wars, combine it with Inception and Artificial Intelligence, and you will still fall short of Ancillary Justice. I can give the book(s) no higher praise. After Cordelia's Honour by Lois McMaster Bujold, Ancillary Justice is definitely my favourite SciFi book.

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From what I last heard, there are plans of turning these books into TV shows. Can’t wait.
lexlingua: (poetry)
There are two things that make me leap for a mystery book: the reference to a poem in the title, and the hint of the supernatural in the plot. That's why I was eager to try out the audio book of Be Buried in the Rain by Barbara Michaels (a 1998 publication), when my friend suggested it to me.

The audio book has been narrated by Pat Starr, and she does a fine job of expressing the necessary emotional nuances. She, however, doesn't change her voice to denote the different characters, so it may be a tad difficult to follow up.

The title of the book comes from the poem "Justice Denied in Massachusetts" written by Edna St. Vincent Millay in 1927, which I've put under the cut:

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The poem itself is beautiful, but the connection seemed a bit too stretched. The story is about a senile old woman named Martha, who is quite hung up on family traditions and heritage. She's now bedridden and an invalid, and her niece, Julie, has been asked to come over to the old manor and take care of Martha. Julie and Martha don't get along much, because Martha's been a tyrannical matriarch who basically forced Julie to separate from her fiance, a gruff and poor archaeologist named Alan.

Now, Alan's been called in too, because a skeleton has been discovered in Martha's backyard/ manor grounds. Whose skeleton is it, how did it come to lie there? And of course, who's the villain who doesn't want the skeleton to be examined?

I'm afraid that the villain's not much of a mystery, and the final puzzle piece, which come towards the last thirty pages of the book, isn't very exciting either. Plot development doesn't really happen-- the archaeologist's team keeps excavating, Julie befriends a stray dog who is poisoned but survives, and Julie and Alan get together again. Character development? Not enough going on in that department either, other than a cousin who's a suave politician and knows how to turn on the charm during elections. The only thing that kept me going was Pat Starr's narration.

So, I'm going to rate this book as a 5 out of 10. Avoidable. Read the poem instead; it is a hundred times better.


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January 2017



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