Provenance by Ann Leckie

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“Oh, almighty powers, what had she just done?”

— Ann Leckie, Provenance

    All rise as bestselling author Ann Leckie enters the court with her new novel ProvenanceAfter her greatly appreciated Imperial Radch trilogy, kicked things off with Ancillary Justice, the author brings us this brand new space opera story filled with politics for fans to rejoice at. In Provenance, the story follows a young woman, Ingray Aughskold as she takes great means to get her hands on something that could help her make a name out of herself in her family. It doesn’t take long before you realize that her actions are risky and could put her in a sticky situation if not handled properly, especially if things don’t go exactly as she planned it. But when do things ever go as we plan, right? As you follow her around you’ll come to be submerged into a whole universe that takes a life of its own in a matter of seconds. Provenance is far from being anything like some of the debut novels out there. This is the work of someone who’s been there and done that.

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    The best part of Provenance lies in its world-building. It takes a lot of your time to describe the political atmosphere and the history that revolves around it all. If you’re not looking for inter-planetary commentary on the relationships and current climate behind planets and the people, you’ll be greatly disappointed in this one. Ann Leckie does a marvelous job in exploring the microscopic impact of key individuals and their role on a much more grander level, think planet-sized. Every move is crucial and scrutinized by every individual and that’s where you’ll find your source of enjoyment with Provenance. It is a novel that is heavily political and even attempts to hide current politics and culture within its narrative. While the story is angled to focus on Ingray’s struggles and motivations, her mere position and role in her family puts her in a spot that makes everything she does or doesn’t do of the utmost importance. In fact, she resonates as someone quite important and emanates a scent that screams of a can of worms, and only as you read on that you get to understand what’s up, or even why certain things happen.

    This isn’t a bad series at all, but I still did have a couple issues with it. First of all, I had a huge issue connecting with most of the characters, especially Ingray. From the very beginning she sounded off extremely incompetent and her plans never really captured my attention. She often seemed to be left in background compared to other characters in terms of importance on a political level, which is completely understandable, since she has no talent in that field, but it just took away a lot of my interest in investing any emotions in her. She also often sounded whinny (for me, anyways) and filled with questions, which isn’t exactly something I felt like adapting to as I was reading this. For a novel that relied a lot on politics, it didn’t feel right to have her lead me through it all. My second issue lies in the fact that the politics and whole story behind vestiges and their value wasn’t very tantalizing for me. While it managed to satisfy my reading experience, it definitely didn’t blow me away. But the whole world-building, from piloted mechs to alien races, definitely made up for it all and kept this book fun to read.

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    Provenance visits political turmoil during interstellar conflict the right way. Ann Leckie keeps the issues at hand understandable and succeeds in using them efficiently to build a politics-heavy story about “power, theft, privelege, and birthright. In Provenance, characters are interesting, but its world-building is even better. What saddened me however is that it doesn’t exactly strive towards exploring new ideas like a lot of classic science-fiction stories are able to do. It is one thing that I absolutely love about the genre and always look forward to, but Provenance sticks rather to a formula that does science-fiction in a much more grander and safer way by tackling space opera in a much more interesting way. I do however hear that Ann Leckie’s bestselling trilogy is a whole other thing and look forward to checking it out in the near future. For those who are looking to try someone a bit different, a bit heavier, but coherent if you can follow the author’s rhythm, then Provenance is a great novel to check out. Fans of Ann Leckie will also not find themselves greatly disappointed and will be pleased to have another fantastical and brilliantly descriptive novel to devour.


THANK YOU TO HACHETTE BOOK GROUP CANADA FOR SENDING ME A COPY FOR REVIEW!

Are you interested in Provenance?
How about you read this book for yourself!
You can purchase your copy @Amazon Canada or @Chapters Indigo now!

Provenance came out on September 26th, 2017!

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MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆/

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25 thoughts on “Provenance by Ann Leckie

  1. Satou Johns says:

    I believe that depending on the audience, the political struggle must be more attractive, and because of that I would like to read it, to see exactly what type of political world and chess this author builds on this book. It sounds similar to the Starflight saga, and maybe you would like to check on that one as well. Your suggestion that the worl-construction was one of the pros of this story, makes it more attractive. I will include it in my to-read list. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LizScanlon says:

    The term ‘space opera’ always makes me want to run away 😀 It sounds like too much to handle for my brain- mostly because I think with scifi there is so much to analyze: do things make sense? If X happened, does Y seem probable? etc… BUT all the political intrigue does tickle my fancy, I have to say.. Fabulous review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      I swear.. The first time I heard the term, I was in awe and couldn’t believe such a thing even existed, but I do understand what it wanted to refer to and it’s not so bad. Yep! With scifi, there’s this level of imagination that pushes our understanding of the world and makes us reflect on a lot of things. Provenance doesn’t do too much of that, but it definitely has its own universe and the focus on its whole politics would need 200% attention to follow and enjoy the story. Thank you so much, Liz!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek says:

    Saw you are reading Blackwing on the sidebar, how are you enjoying it?? 🙂

    This is a fantastic review, really fair. I got sent a surprise copy in the post though haven’t bothered with it yet but you make it sound like a decent and worthwhile read. Though I’m very big on connecting with characters and the fact that you struggled with the main one is a warning sign, especially as you described her as ‘whiny’ can’t be doing with whiny characters! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Bro, ever since I read Liz, Orangutan and your review of Blackwing I’ve been waiting impatiently to get my hands on my own copy. So far so good, and looking forward to how things will unfold.

      Thanks man. Honestly, I think the fact that the story introduces us to a young woman and that writing almost felt YA’ish I had a hard time wanting to connect with her and enjoy the story as a whole. Then again, the writing and the world-building is excellent, you’ll just need to pay close attention to the whole political narrative since I felt like that was the biggest emphasis in the story, while staying close to the main character and her development.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bookstooge says:

    How heavily political is this and how are Leckies own political views intertwined with this? Is she as brazen as say John Ringo? I’m not even thinking the political spectrum as Leckie has made it clear where she stands on that…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      It’s not heavy in that sense, its more heavy in that the narrative focuses more on those political decisions regarding power and control over things. It incorporates things like treaties and laws, and who has rights/jurisdiction on this or that. It can sometimes become dull and at other times interesting, but the story as a whole really axed itself around interplanetary politics and a quest for power among certain key characters. It’s written in a way that is accessible, as long as you follow it all.

      Sooooo, you’ve read her original trilogy? Or at least the first book and then dropped the series? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bookstooge says:

        I have not read her trilogy. The synopsis and other’s reviews were enough for me. I barely read Ringo and I agree with almost all his politics. So someone like Leckie pulling her gender politics, not a chance.

        I’ll leave her to those who want to read her. I have more than enough books I WANT to read 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

          Duuuude… I don’t think I mentioned it, but maaaaan the whole gender thing was also present in this novel… There’s a 3rd gender with their own pronounces: “eir” or “e”. I thought there was a printing mistake in the ARC or something. I really don’t know how I feel about it all, but it was such a hassle to just read without feeling like I was walking with a sore foot. Besides that, I didn’t feel like she tried to impose any special way of thinking, politics-wise. But I totally understand your non-desire to pick her books up though hahah

          Liked by 1 person

          • Bookstooge says:

            Authors who are devoutly political don’t get my business. And when they push politics that are in direct opposition to what I believe, I simply don’t have the energy to read it just so I can bash on it in a review. She has her fans, and I’ll not rain on their parade. But they come over to my blog and start trying to push her stuff on me, the guns are coming out 😉

            From what I here, the trilogy is even more confusing. So have some energy if you’re going to tackle it 😀

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Ohh this sounds like an interesting book. 😀 I’m always on the look out for more sci-fi, and I’ve read one space opera before and really loved it. I’m really glad you enjoyed this book Lashaan, and that the world building was so strong too, that’s always a plus for me. It’s a shame about the character development, of Ingray especially, but it doesn’t seem like it destroyed your enjoyment of the novel too much.
    Great review Lashaan. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      That’s great to hear Beth! You could totally add this to your list of books to check out if you’re hungry for scifi/space-opera. You might have better luck connecting with the main character and enjoy this even more than I did. 😉 Thank you so much for your kind words and for taking the time to read!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dani @ Perspective of a Writer says:

    Lovely review Lashaan but I’m onto your book wiles and WILL NOT be seduced… actually reading in the comments I’m not a fan of the third race thing unless it’s part of the plot… I read that same eir thing in another book and it was a total hassle to read and added nothing… the character felt male… I feel like if you’re going to write a third gender you’ve got to make me BELIEVE It exists! Give me a reason to be seduced by the idea, and that just doesn’t happen and it comes off as a gimmick… STILL I’m soooo glad you enjoyed this for yourself! 4 Stars isn’t shady 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

      Hahaaha! I do not do it on purpose! Some books just deserved to be picked up and tried for yourself! 😀 I hear Leckie has done this with even more attention and importance in her original classic trilogy (the whole third gender thing). It really was a pain to read those pronouns without feeling like I was interrupting myself reading. I’d give her Ancillary Justice series a try and see how it plays out in that series though. It is the first time I’ve honestly come across the whole gender agenda. Thank you again for your kind words, Dani! 😀

      Like

  7. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    I’ve not checked Leckie out before, but I’m intrigued now! I do like the sound of all the intergalactic politics, though gotta admit the fact that she doesn’t explore new ideas is a bit of a shame, cos I agree, that’s what a lot of the genre’s classics are so good at doing. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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