Imperial Radch #4: Provenance by Ann Leckie

Read: 27 January, 2019

Despite being set in the same universe as the Imperial Radch trilogy, this book is entirely its own thing. The cultural setting is different, the protagonist couldn’t be more un-Breq-like, and the story is almost something of a heist plot.

Yet, at the same time, it fits in with the original trilogy, and I really enjoyed seeing the Radch from the outside.

SPOILERS:

My only issue with the story is the ending, where Ingray cedes her position to her brother. On the one hand, it does make sense – Danach is consistently described as the more political of the two siblings. But on the other hand? Ingray has spent a whole book proving that she can rise to the occasion when necessary, and has a proven track record of learning from her mistakes. I understand why she wouldn’t want to enter the world of politics, but she absolutely does have the qualities that would make her good at it, no matter how much she protests.

I really loved the character of Ingray, who is flawed in a youthful way. She’s still learning so much about life and her place in it, and she makes mistakes as a direct result of that naivety. But, at the same time, she learns from those mistakes, and becomes a much stronger character by the end.

I also love that she doesn’t solve problems by punching her way through them. Rather, she seeks out anything (or anyone) in her environment that might be of help. She enlists allies, even from among her enemies. It’s a fairly rare character type, and an interesting one.

More in the Imperial Radch series:

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