Breq seems to be doing just fine on Athoek Station. Things are calm. But it’s a fragile calm that starts to get disrupted when she finds a stowaway on the station who shouldn’t exist. Plus, a new Presger translator, Zeiat, arrives at Athoek Station to inquire about the old translator. And Breq’s enemy, the ruler of the Radchaai Empire, Anaander Mianaai, approaches the Station as well. Things are coming to a head and decisions will have to be made.
This is such a satisfying series, I can hardly believe it is over now. Ancillary Mercy brings a great trilogy to a fantastic ending that ties everything up nicely and confirms the core messages the story has been sending so far, without feeling hamfisted.
Ancillary Mercy is a thing of beauty, simply put. Breq is one of my favorite characters, probably of all times, and I love how she both stays true to herself and gets to grow as a person. And yes, she is absolutely a person, even if she’s an AI in a body. She never was anything else – and that’s already one of the core messages of the trilogy. And she finally gets to realize that for herself.
But she is not the only great thing about the trilogy. There are many characters that I love here and who get to grow, too. Seivarden and Tisarwat chiefly among them. The new characters – Zeiat and the mysterious stowaway (I won’t mention their name because slight spoilers) – do provide a sense of humor that I felt hadn’t been present in the series so far, but that I definitely appreciated. Especially since they are more than comic relief and with things getting very serious, it was nice to get the break they provided.
The story moves along quickly, even if there is not a lot of big action and despite the fact that often a lot of time passes because space is vast and it just takes time to cross it. And in the time between, there are people and there is tea – the things that are really important.
What can I say? If you liked the first two novels, I’m sure that this one will give you an entirely satisfying, wonderful conclusion. It certainly did for me.