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Ann Leckie's Provenance is a complex, but richly engrossing tale that begins simply, but gradually evolves to a highly involved and complex fandango. Ingray is an adopted daughter of a politically powerful mother who is unlikely to share in much of the next generation's bounty. She crafts a plan to engineer the prison escape of a convict to run a scam on her brother, the heir apparent. Problems arise immediately and while Ingray is playing catch-up, larger forces are at play that result in involvement by a non-human intelligence as well as foreign invaders trying to gain control of her planet that just happens to sit in a favorable position for trade routes.
The sci-elements are varied, but muted with regards to the overall plot. There is clearly interstellar FTL drives, sophisticated drones, and non-human aliens with unusual, but intriguing social customs. Political complexity dominates. Of particular note is a societal penchant for "vestiges" which are tokens of historical interest such as old documents or autographs. Ingray is not so much a reluctant hero as much as someone not quite sure of what to do next, but with excellent instincts.
The narration is good, but suffers a bit with a noticeable accent. Pacing, tone, and mood are well attended. Of note, is Leckie's use of the ambiguous "e" instead of he or she randomly that adds some confusion, not so much as to the gender, but rather to simply which character is speaking.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
Adjoa Andoh's narration is unbelievable, among the best I've ever heard. I loved Ancillary Justice (as a printed book, have not heard the audio version), but all the followups were only okay. The story here is also only okay, kind of repetitive and political, meaning it makes a whole lot out of very small actions and events. But it's a very interesting, original universe.
I did find the monologue from the Geck ambassador very moving. I'm not sure whether or not I would have in print. I'm still thinking about it days later.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful