Book Review: Provenance by Ann Leckie (Four Stars)


Book Review: Provenance by Ann Leckie

(Four Stars)

“A hatchling that thinks only of its our survival makes an untrustworthy adult.”

Leckie hasn’t lost her touch with engaging characters and plot, but she seems to have lost her way in a jungle of obscure personal pronouns (after demonstrating she could navigate that jungle in previous works) and gratuitous, pasted-on romances.

“To know your past is to know who you are.”

Set in the same galaxy as The Ancillary novels, Provenance explores life in minor republics outside the grasp of the Radch. Leckie’s development of vestiges as a cultural artifact is genius. (In another age, it might have spawned a copy-cat response among readers.) Expected Ingray’s hairpins to become such.

“Politics before family, unless family was politics. Which it often was.”

Building slowly, Leckie introduces her most human protagonist yet. Ingray’s inner voice grabs the reader and deepens the story.

“Are you all right?” “I’m scared.” “I’m not. I’m … terrified.”

While Leckie draws this tale to a satisfying conclusion, without a doubt we have not heard the last of Ingray and her odd collection of associates. I foresee contact with the Radch before Leckie is finished.

“Sorry doesn’t unbreak the cup.”

(Finalist novel for 2018 Hugo Award)