Ahoy there me mateys! While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read. In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder! And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends. So I decided to remedy that and thus created this category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .
It’s Sci-Fi Month!! I know that me blog focuses on sci-fi (and fantasy) but I am always happy to promote more books. So what better why to celebrate the month by starting out with a reread of one of me favourite books of all time? I absolutely love the Imperial Radch series. The first book in the series won the following awards:
Hugo Award for Best Novel (2014), Nebula Award for Best Novel (2013), Locus Award for Best First Novel (2014), Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel (2014), British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel (2013), Philip K. Dick Award Nominee (2013), John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee (2014), The Kitschies for Golden Tentacle (Debut) (2013), James Tiptree Jr. Award Honor List (2013), Seiun Award 星雲賞 for Best Foreign Novel (2016)
How is that for a list? The series involves Breq who used to be the artificial intelligence of the starship, The Justice of Toren. In addition to being the ship, she also had control of thousands of human soldiers. The catch is that she has lost control of everything except one human body. She is out for revenge.
Now I first read this back before I had a blog. This reread was (I think) me fourth of the novel. I did highlight this book in me Broadside No. 16 post. I continue to love the world building and character of Breq.
On me other reads I was more focused on Breq’s history and plotting. This time I focused a lot more on Seivarden Vendaai’s story for some reason. Seivarden lost their ship and then was in status for a thousand years. Breq was at one point an officer on The Justice of Toren. I loved watching Seivarden change as a person in terms of dealing with their past, changing previously held viewpoints, and just becoming a better person. The novel is told from Breq’s point of view but I loved all of Breq’s thoughts about Seivarden.
On this read I also focused more on little details like Breq’s music choices, the memorial pins, and the many ideas around gender. This musical elements in this book were enhanced by an author interview that wasn’t in the first version of the book that I read. I enjoyed learning about how choral music influenced the writing. I still get a little hung up on the Anaander Mianaai ramifications at the end of the book despite the many reads but I don’t care because it still be awesome.
If ye haven’t read this series, I highly recommend it. I am likely going to reread the other books in this series soon because it has been too darn long. Arrrr!
Also Matey Nikki recently revisited this novel as well. It is a comfort read for her too. She said:
“This has somehow become a comfort read for me, and it’s hard to explain why. It’s clever, of course: it’s so very clever, with the slow unfolding of the dual-timeline narrative, with the pronouns, with the various bits of worldbuilding that make up a whole lived-in universe. It’s a beautiful exploration of how you might shackle powerful AIs, and also of how identity might fracture and change when you spread yourself through hundreds of bodies across an empire so large you can’t keep them all in immediate contact with one another, and also of various moral decisions to do with colonialism and empire, but also the right thing to do step by step and day by day.”
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
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.
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Previous Log Entries for this Author
provenance – book 4 (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)
raven tower (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)