Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Easily worthy of the awards it won. Fantastic ideas, presented through conflicts with interesting characters, and writing that describes just enough and no more.
And I almost stopped halfway through.
There’s a point where the protagonist does something so amazingly dumb, that I wanted to put the book down in frustration. But I kept going, and I’m glad I did. Because it only got better from there.
Three things I learned about writing:
- Beware delaying explanations for too long. A character that says "I don't know why I did X" too often, before their inability to explain is outlined to the reader, can lead to frustration.
- Don't have to wait for the character to say "and then I told them my story" to tell that story to the reader. Can layer it in, piece by piece, via flashback chapters.
- Small touches, like bare hands being considered vulgar, when followed-through, can do a lot of work to make a culture feel real.