By: Ann Leckie
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase
Following her record-breaking debut trilogy, Ann Leckie, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke, and Locus Awards, returns with an enthralling new novel of power, theft, privilege, and birthright.
A power-driven young woman has just one chance to secure the status she craves and regain priceless lost artifacts prized by her people. She must free their thief from a prison planet from which no one has ever returned.
Ingray and her charge will return to her home world to find their planet in political turmoil, at the heart of an escalating interstellar conflict. Together, they must make a new plan to salvage Ingray’s future, her family, and her world before they are lost to her for good.
The premise of this book intrigued me, as well as the fact that the book is a standalone. Ann Leckie’s work so far as been great–even though the last book in her Imperial Radch trilogy didn’t grip me as much as the first volume–so naturally I kept a lookout for this title 🙂
For all of the seriousness and epicness of the book blurb, no one mentioned that this book would actually be pretty funny. Ingray’s intentions are all well and all but omg does her plan tend to go from bad to worse, with matters getting more and more ridiculous along the way. There was a reviewer on GoodReads who said that the story moves from what started as a plot to secure her status to a heist, a who-dunnit mystery, an interstellar standoff, etc. and it’s quite true. Does it seem like a weird, messy jumble? Maybe, but when you approach the book from its comedic angle, it’s just part of the story. Ingray’s a great character, by the way, she’s well-meaning, I emphathised with her from the start, she gets mopey when everything falls apart, she’s just very human. And the whole cast of characters were interesting as well.
The world building was interesting; I admit it’s been a while since I’ve read the Imperial Radch trilogy so a lot of the details have escaped my mind, but it is interesting to see what life is like and how the world operates outside of the Radch (this book feels like it takes place before the Radch’s ascendancy; I could be wrong).
Overall Provenance was a great standalone sci-fi title with plenty of character and storytelling. I don’t think you need to have read the Imperial Radch trilogy to enjoy this one.