Book Review: The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie (Four Stars)


Book Review: The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

(Four Stars)

“Why ought I care about this time, these humans in particular? When I know all are doomed to end no matter what, and shortly, from my point of view.”

Excellent story despite being told in second person. That awkward point of view masked the identity of addressed character, even though hints started on the first page. Second person introduces many difficult phrases, as the narrator tells the addressed their thoughts and motives.

“But any god might be made more powerful with the right offering. And one of the best offerings–as any Iradani knows–is a human sacrifice. Even better if that sacrifice is voluntary and self-committed, just as the Raven’s Lease is.”

Two overlapping stories, starting at different times, build toward a climax when the story lines converge. Good world and character building with few anachronisms. I especially liked the development of Eolo, who is neither a weapon expert nor a genius but possesses more common sense than anyone else. Excellent pacing.

“Yes, they trained me as though I were a dog, with attention and treats and constant praise. But I trained them as well.”

Leckie managed a new take on the SF/F cliché: “I don’t know if you realized you were holding your breath.” (That sentence also hints at the verbal gymnastic second-person narrative forces.) Also a few old saws like, “Gods are, as a rule, more easily able to help those who have already made their own efforts.” (Ben Franklin said it better.)

“The ancient gods are, I have been told, difficult to kill.”

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