There isn’t much I can say in this review that hasn’t been said a dozen times or more in others, so I’ll keep this one down to likes and dislikes—not necessarily in that order, since I like to end on a positive note whenever possible. =]
Referring to everyone as “she”. Yes, it makes you think. Yes, it’s novel. Yes, I was over halfway through the book before I figured out it actually wasn’t a female-dominated empire. And yes, it ruined the experience for me because that small but important detail is crucial for me to visualize characters and imagine their voices. An interesting experiment that I hope no one else repeats.
The plot dragged in places, making me wonder how or why I cared what the protagonist was doing. Breq was a powerful being with tons of potential who, for much of the book, did little except ruminate how things that bothered humans didn’t bother her.
A being who exists in hundreds of places simultaneously. Breq would often change perspectives from one sentence to the next, talking with a child and her commander in the same breath from 2 different bodies, and while sometimes disorienting to read, it’s probably just a small taste of how Breq felt. Well done.
The premise of a former ship computer, used to existing in so many places, reduced down to 1, and forced to survive on their own, was engaging enough to carry me through the slow parts, but unfortunately not enough to make me pick up the second book.