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Ancillary Justice

The Imperial Radch series, Book 1
Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Series: The Imperial Radch, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (412 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The record-breaking debut novel that won every major science fiction award in 2014, Ancillary Justice is the story of a warship trapped in a human body and her search for revenge. 

Ann Leckie is the first author to win the Arthur C. Clarke, the Nebula and the Hugo Award for Best Novel in the same year.

They made me kill thousands, but I only have one target now.

The Radch are conquerors to be feared - resist and they'll turn you into a 'corpse soldier' - one of an army of dead prisoners animated by a warship's AI mind. Whole planets are conquered by their own people.  

The colossal warship called The Justice of Toren has been destroyed - but one ship-possessed soldier has escaped the devastation. Used to controlling thousands of hands, thousands of mouths, The Justice now has only two hands, and one mouth with which to tell her tale.  

But one fragile, human body might just be enough to take revenge against those who destroyed her.

The Imperial Radch trilogy begins with Ancillary Justice, continues in Ancillary Sword and concludes with Ancillary Mercy

Also available now: Provenance is a stunning standalone adventure set in the same world as Ancillary Justice.

©2013 Ann Leckie (P)2014 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Thrilling, moving and awe-inspiring." (Guardian)

"Signals the arrival of a hard science fiction author who just might fill the gap left by Iain M. Banks. Ancillary Justice is a highly original novel...an intelligent slow-burner. Highly recommended." (Independent on Sunday)

"You will be truly astounded at how Leckie has fully fleshed out a universe and is asking and attempting to answer the difficult questions that many authors never even address in science fiction." (Buzzfeed)

"Unexpected, compelling and very cool - Ann Leckie nails it. I've never met a heroine like Breq before. I consider this a very good thing indeed." (John Scalzi, Hugo Award-winning author of Redshirts)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Amy
  • 12-08-2016

Narration superb

Adjoa's narration of this book did more that bring it to life; it created life. Unbelievable talent. Though the story itself started a little slowly and was heavier than I prefer on audio (I tend to leave that sort of book to paper), the bodies and accents and on point portrayal of JoT drew me along until the end, by which time I'd laughed, cried, and fallen in love with every character.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant Book, and a fantastic performance!

Any additional comments?

A brilliantly written adventure, with an intriguing premise! Breq is the last remaining part of a ship AI and is a very engaging character. This audiobook really kept me listening and is very suspenseful all the way through. The universe of the novel is well realised and seems plausible. Breq's difficulty with gender pronouns is a brilliant touch, which, while a little confusing at first really makes sense and is treated very consistently. The implied languages, societies, politics, religions and technology all hang together well. The different accents used by the Adjoah Andoh for the various characters were excellent and helped make sense of the social interactions in the story, indeed Adjoah certainly reads the book really well and made Breq a very believable character who engaged my sympathy. I thoroughly recommend this audiobook!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Ancillary Confusion

The narrator did a good job distinguishing the voices.
The story was convoluted and confusing. The AI of a ship is in it's last remaining body. It's true hard core sci-fi, in that it's so alien and confusing that you have to listen to half the book to get what is actually going on.
Yes it's a novel idea, and maybe that why it won so many awards, but it's slow to get to the action, and it's only by the very end of the book that you are actually getting into it - maybe worth it, if it was going to be a long series and you really wanted to get into it, but I've been put off and won't bother with the sequel.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic audiobook

I already loved this book when I read it in print, and Adjoa Andoh's reading made it even better. Exceptional narration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Automatically bought Book 2

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it is science fiction (i.e. not fantasy). It covers the social side as well. Well written and well read. Scratches my CJ Cherryh's Downbellow-verse itch.

What other book might you compare Ancillary Justice to, and why?

Hmm, the likes of Downbellow Station, Merchanter's luck and Rimrunner, all my favourite SF

Which character – as performed by Adjoa Andoh – was your favourite?

All are done well, she uses several accents and voices.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Indeed, though work and sleep rudely interrupted

Any additional comments?

The best pure social SF that I have read/listened to in a long time. Is also easy to listen to.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great story once you get into it.

There is a fantastic story here and having finished it, it is clear why Ancillary Justice has taken so many awards. There is a lot to wrap your head around in the beginning, including the sometimes erratic use of personal pronouns, but it is definitely worth pushing through to the point where it all starts to fit together.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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2 Thumbs up.

The story was deeply interesting the narrator did a spectacular job. Im looking forward to reading the next one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Delicious space opera

Breq used to be a spaceship, or at least a fragment of the spaceship known as Justice of Toren. The spaceship controlled a large amount of ancillarys (corpse soldiers), conquered humans turned into Artificial Intelligences. Justice of Torrens was a multi bodied powerful AI also with a human crew and captain and conquering for the Radchaai Empire. Now she is just Breq, a singular AI being with full memories of her past. Breq wants revenge.
The first person narrative is brilliant especially as the novel jumps from past to present.
A debut novel no less, it certainly stays with you. Not stock standard by any means, thoughtful and provocative.
Liked Adjoa Andoh's narration so much that I listened to more books narrated by her.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Complex and innovative science fiction at its best

This is a really interesting book. I found the audio book much easier to follow than the written book. This is a universe where great ships, space stations and cities are run by computer intelligences, who may have hundreds of flesh bodies, linked to the central intelligence. What happens if one body is cut off? What happens if a copy of the personality is changed? Read this book and find out!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Can't praise it enough

Awesome story in a unique and deep universe.

Loved the concepts and the way the narrative came out.

Beautiful novel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • P. Inamdar
  • 22-06-2018

Wish the narration was clearer

Narration was very irritating. However story intrigued me and I bought it on Kindle. I am glad I did. Looking forward to reading next ones

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Katie Freund
  • 27-01-2016

Fantastic!

The sort of book you are excited to tell everyone you are reading. Complex and thought-provoking without sacrificing engaging plot. Could not stop listening. Narration was impeccable - great character voices and accents throughout. Added a sense of dry humour to the main character that really made her feel more "human". Highly recommended! I'm downloading the next one right now.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • George
  • 23-02-2015

Great exploration of AI ideas. Flat ending.

What did you love best about Ancillary Justice?

The idea of AI running facilities was great.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Orn, completely loyal to the end.

Which character – as performed by Adjoa Andoh – was your favorite?

Eskia (spelling). Great voice. So many African intonations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kamil D.
  • 25-07-2019

Riveting story, greatly told

This is an amazing story, very hard to not fall head over heels into. Narration is perfectly fitting to it.

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  • Tommi Uurtonen
  • 09-02-2016

Large scale Sci-Fi.

Good story improving towards end. Can't wait taking on the next book in the series!

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  • Chatterbox
  • 17-02-2015

Great story Great narrator

Really good narrator and an old school sci fi opera downloaded book 2 already!!!

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  • Jonathan
  • 16-11-2014

Interestingly feminist SciFi

That headline might do the novel more harm than good but I mean it in a totally inclusive engaged way, I'm male and the book feels written by a woman in command of her view of the future, a future just a dystopian as a million others but there's something really different here, I was believing, the world created is complete and different while being relatable... OK I'm not writing this well, just try it, it's really intelligent.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • J D C TAYLOR
  • 19-03-2015

Excellent narrator

Sucks you in as it builds up to a great ending with a really classy hero/heroine.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 11-09-2014

Brilliant! A great story and characters

What made the experience of listening to Ancillary Justice the most enjoyable?

Narration was excellent, full of depth and really bought the characters to life. The story moved well and kept true to its central premise.

What did you like best about this story?

The plot is excellent, how the lead character deals with and explains her/its predicament is brilliant, really keeps you in, and surrounded by, the story.

What does Adjoa Andoh bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

She understands the book extremely well, she uses the subtle intonations of her voice to perfectly build the characters and really helps you get a mental image of them.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Its not how I listen to audiobooks in general but I think it benefitted from occasional breaks to let the concepts sink in.

Any additional comments?

I'd recommend this and I can't wait for the sequel.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Kaggy
  • 06-10-2015

Left me divided but intrigued

I can't really decide if this is really rather brilliant or whether I have been taken in by the glowing reviews. Certainly the idea that the main character is a spaceship is compelling, and I really was quite won over by this singing warrior. My problem is that I did find the first three quarters of this story incredibly confusing, with characters occupying multiple bodies, and being referred to as both male and female. I found it only really started to make sense towards the end. I also thought there was a slight corniness to the story line but maybe I am just being cynical. One part of me wants to go on and listen to the rest of the series and another part thinks once is enough. I am full of admiration for the narrator who had to tackle some really tongue twisting names but did think some of her accents were distractingly peculiar.
If you are a lover of science fiction and are able to devote your complete attention to the story then I think you would find this rewarding.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • C. R. Broadhead
  • 19-03-2015

Stick with it

Any additional comments?

Found this very confusing and irritating, but then listened again! Something I don't do very often.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Lulu
  • 29-04-2015

Excellent narration

The story isn't the easiest to follow but the narrator's use of accents helps a great deal. She does a brilliant job with the complexity of the names, particularly the lesser. I'm not sure the book is up to all the hype -- I've read more exciting SF books but it's intriguing enough. Worth a listen.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Animar
  • 26-10-2014

space opera for beginners

Well, it was descibed as a space opera but rather lacks the depth and complexity of its peers that define the segment. Unfortunatetly the story did not grip and the associated narration was vaguely soporific leading to lapses in attention. An average story and reading.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Jesper Hauerslev
  • 13-09-2018

A struggle...

There is a lot to love about this book from its detailed world building to its unique premise and main character. However, this is not an easy book to get into as most of said world building, premise and character comes via very dence and often very lofty dialogue between characters as they talk about class, citizenship, faith, conquest, society and the past, present and future of it all. It will make your head spin and you will either be drawn or put off by this. Ann Leckie writes amazing dialogue but I've always been of the "don't-tell-me-show-me" school and Leckie most certainly is not. As a result, struggled through this and only finished out of sheer determination rather than enjoyment. Will need to look elsewhere for my next big sci-fi fix.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert Wheatley
  • 18-01-2018

Simply can't get into it

I tried really hard to get into this book, but I can't. I suspect it a 'read only' book because I think you need to actually see the the names of characters to have any idea what's going on.

There were 3 things going on that prevented me from getting into the book:

1) The story (at least initially) is split over 2 timelines
2) Because the AIs have multiple 'bodies' reference to "I" can actually mean different people
3) Most characters are referred to as a "she", even though the subject may be male, but it depends on who's talking, so the same character maybe referred to as a "he" by another
4) I found the character names confusing, and together with point 3 and 2 I got quite lost


It's a real shame, I'd love to get into a new series, particularly an award winning one, but it was totally lost on me. A friend of mine has a physical book, so may give that a go if he gives it a thumbs-up.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Norma Miles
  • 09-07-2015

"save it for when it will make a difference"

This is a beautifully crafted story, a journey planned, one step at a time, by the sole surviving unit of a destroyed ship to take revenge on the destroyer. The present travel is interspersed with the revisiting of what came before and how the decision to embark on this action occurred. As another reviewer has commented, Ms Leckie's style is reminiscent of Iain M Banks with lovely prose, great imaginative plotting with room for philosophical pondering and, of course, horrendous given names. Given especially this latter, the narrator does a remarkable job and her dialogue characterisations are excellent. However, her voice did not seem to me to quite capture that of the main protagonist. But this is a small point.
Although Ancillary Justice is the first in a series, it has a satisfying ending and can stand alone. However, I, for one, cannot wait for book two and have already downloaded Ancillary Sword.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful