A new favorite author? It could be!
This is just exactly the kind of hard sci-fi that I like: it’s got the right balance of compelling, believable characters, serious examination of both theoretical and relevant social issues, and plenty of pure action with spaceships and blaster guns, all in an original and fascinating universe.
I am so glad that my book club decided to read this, because the initial description of the book I’d read didn’t capture my imagination at all. Somehow, with the review’s mentions of sentient ships, hive minds and military action, it just didn’t grab me. Yes, the book has all that – but although the main character IS a sentient ship, and has been part of a group consciousness formed of enslaved corpses, this character currently has only one, human body. Although some of the other characters may feel that this circumstance equates to non-humanity, Breq is one of the most human characters you’re bound to encounter while reading (which, of course, is one of the main points of the novel.)
Breq was one part of the great military ship of the Imperial Radch – the Justice of Toren. Now, solitary and alone, Breq has sworn an oath to take down the Lord of the Radch, Anaander Mianaai. Through gradual flashbacks, the reader comes to realize the motivations for this goal – and also the true enormity of the task.
I cannot wait for the sequel! (Although this book does end at a perfectly satisfactory and conclusive point.)
Recommended for fans of both Iain Banks and Ursula LeGuin.