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.
“So it really isn’t as bad as I thought it was at first,” observed Nuncle Lak, after the briefest silence. “It’s worse.”
Wow. What was that? I quite enjoyed the original Imperial Radch trilogy. However when I found out that Provenance was in the same world as the trilogy, but has none of the same characters and takes place in a different part of the universe and had no connection to the series I decided to take my time to get to reading it. I’m kind of sorry I read it at all.
The main character, Ingray, whined. The entire time. The only time she ever did anything other than complain was when she decided to do something momentous without a plan. The entire rest of the time she was just swept up in the tide of events that happened after she took off with a hope and a prayer. How this book worked out for her I don’t know.
No, wait. I do know. It is because the entire book was fueled by nothing but coincidences. The book opens up with Ingray helping a prisoner escape prison to do…well she isn’t really clear on that part (all part of the HAVING NO PLAN thing). And the Captain of the ship she is using to get back home won’t let her on the ship with her “cargo” unless they consent. Only this Captain is weirdly helpful. Like, the entire book hinges on the help of this Captain, weirdly helpful. And he is connected to a very powerful group in the galaxy? What? How did Ingray luck out so much? And that is just the first of many, many coincidences.
Also, Provenance was convoluted as fuck for exactly 0 reason. There were like three? four? maybe five? factions. I don’t know, I would have to count, and I don’t feel like skimming through the book again to figure it out. Because in the end, none of them mattered. And none of them were properly explained or even worked out. It was just more coincidence on top of everything else. Every time a new faction would pop up, they would be dealt with with the magic coincidences that keep showing up, only for a new one to drop in to wreck the plan-to-date. Which isn’t really a plan because Ingray still hasn’t fleshed it out and what she does have makes zero sense, by the way. She is just going with the flow. And this happened several times throughout the book
Minor gripe: Nothing ever went as I wanted it to – but that is nothing new because the rest of Imperial Radch never went the way I wanted it to, either. The romance especially didn’t go the way I wanted it to, damnit. At times, I just don’t understand how Ann Leckie continually does the exact opposite of what I want in a story. It is just that this time it didn’t work for me.
The only good part of the entire book was that the audiobook narrator was really really good. Adjoa Andoh does an amazing job narrating the book, and I think it’s the only reason I actually managed to finish it. Andoh does a ton of voices. Not just accents but voice changes and sound effects as well. It really made all the difference in the world. I notice that they did the rest of Imperial Radch as well, so maybe someday I’ll reread the series in audio!
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Imperial Radch series page!