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provenance

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 prisoFollowing 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....

Title : provenance
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 25353286
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 448 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

provenance Reviews

  • Bradley
    2019-05-29 14:21

    Ann Leckie's new novel is still set in the Imperial Radch universe, but don't be fooled... It's a very focused novel that details issues of family, inheritance, cultural relevance, and politics while completely surrounded by aliens and odd mores. Indeed, this novel is more of a comedy of manners than anything else, but there's also a bit of the mystery, murder, and mayhem as well.Out of the original trilogy, I felt like this one matched the feel and fun of the third novel. Even so, I can't even begin to describe how many times I heard the exhortation, "Don't break the Treaty!" And of course, that's the source of most of the conflict. Inheritance is the key motivator for Ingray, trying something new, which, of course, goes disastrously wrong. Need a thief to steal a priceless cultural artifact in order to prove that you're worthy? Ah, but first, make sure the provenance on all the key players and artifacts are up to snuff, please! :)I really enjoyed this novel, but not in the traditional way. I tended to mostly rely on the laurels of the complicated world building that we've established in the previous novels and focused instead on the characterizations, the dialogue, and the subtleties. That's not bad, of course, but we're still destined to work for our pleasure. Gender neutrality is still a big deal in the expression of this novel, as is the complicated or rather odd names we need to keep track of. My main issue was in the identification and thereby the connection with the characters. I can simultaneously appreciate that things aren't dumbed down for us while also having to work rather more hard not to get lost, but the fact is, it did pull me out of the tale a little too often. Maybe it wasn't entirely the names, either, but a lot of that was solved by having a rather small cast of characters. The only other issue might have had was in wanting some huge shattering change or revelation with far-reaching effects, but such is not in the cards for a comedy of errors. :)Still, this is quite good! Fans of Leckie will still remain fans. :)

  • Philip
    2019-06-12 09:32

    3.75ish stars. I went into this expecting it to be dense and complex and maybe even a little challenging, based on descriptions of the author's Imperial Radch series that shares a universe with this book. While the universe itself is quite intricate, including alien races, cultures, and detailed political intrigue involving several parties ( the details of which I occasionally skimmed over 😬), it was honestly a lot less intense than it could have been. Comparing its accessibility to a couple other space opera novels released this year, this falls in between Yoon Ha Lee's near-impenetrable Raven Stratagem and John Scalzi's The Collapsing Empire, in which ever line is so quippy it could be used as a catchphrase (although I didn't enjoy this quite as much as either of those).It's fairly intimate for space opera, focusing on a single girl in a series of misadventures. It's got some action and mystery and heist-iness but it remains more of a romp than a high-stakes thriller. There's some interesting character work and some seriously impressive worldbuilding and it's worth reading for those features alone. If nothing else, I'm that much more convinced to read Leckie's debut, Ancillary Justice, now.Posted in Mr. Philip's Library

  • Gary
    2019-06-07 11:13

    Now that the Strong Female Protagonist (meaning, what happens when a lazy writer writes a female action hero that is basically just a stereotypical male action hero with girl parts) has become a tired cliché, it is something of a subversive pleasure to follow Ingray, the heroine of Ann Leckie’s new novel Provenance, who is clever and resourceful and likeable, but who also makes as many bad decisions as good ones, is riddled with anxiety, and is nearly always on the verge of bursting into tears. Ingray’s journey is as hectic (and as endearing) as her personality: what starts as a prison break story tinged with an unfortunate case of mistaken identity shifts gears to a heist story, then to a family drama, and then to a comedy of political intrigue, and then…. Well, suffice it to say that Provenance wears a lot of hats over the course of its story, which is not nearly as convoluted as some reviewers have complained, though there are moments where some intriguing developments (like the contentious relationship between Ingray and her snake-charmer stepbrother Danach) get shortchanged as the story shoots off in wild new directions. The novel is sharp and fast-paced and entertaining – and more emphatically comical than the Radch Trilogy – and it is fascinating to catch a glimpse of what human civilization is like outside of Radch space. In the end it feels more like a side-quest than a main storyline in the Leckieverse. Don’t let that put you off – it’s fun and memorable and well worth reading even as an appetizer for bigger things to come.

  • Lisa
    2019-05-31 08:19

    Review from Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2017/0...Leckie’s first trilogy is amazing, which sets a high bar for this new book. I am thrilled to say Provenance delivered more than I expected (even with the high expectations set by the previous books). I love the unique world Leckie has crafted, the unconventional genderizations (or lack there of) that exists in some of the worlds and how that challenges readers to drop their own gender expectations and assignments. This continues in this new standalone novel but I also found it easier to read than the first time I read one of her books. I do still find myself defaulting gender, but it makes me aware that I do this, so I feel like that is a positive step. I just find it interesting how easy it is to mentally assign a gender to a character based on their traits or personality, not necessarily because their gender was ever stated.All of that said, what I love most is the characters and the actual story or plot. And I feel like that is where this book excels most. I enjoyed the tighter focus on a smaller cast of characters and became very invested in Ingray’s story. She was adopted from a public creche (kind of like a public orphanage) by a very powerful woman. The way things work in Hwae, politicians have heirs, but it is not a birthright and therefor heirs must be named and named before they die or their position will no longer exist. Some choose to always name their biological children, but some, like Ingray’s mother, do not have children of their own and adopt a number of kids with the sole purpose of finding one worthy of being named their heir. Ingray has been pitted against her brother in this competition. They both have been raised to master politics and be ambitious, but have different strengths. I loved Ingray’s character. She is intelligent and resourceful and has a determination to follow through, even when the odds are stacked against her.The story is exciting as well. Ingray’s brother seems destined to be named heir (no one even pretends otherwise). So, Ingray decides to try one daring move that will get her noticed, and perhaps be enough to get that edge she needs to be her mother’s choice. This mission she takes does not go exactly as she plans, and could backfire. But it also connects her with some interesting characters, and puts her in a very unique position as a result. I don’t want to say more than that because I think you should get the details from your own reading experience with this book. Just know it is a book full of fun and excitement, with a mystery or two as well.As much as I loved the Ancillary series, I loved this one even more. It is a standalone in the same world, and I would be ecstatic to read more about the characters, but the ending was very satisfying. Even if I might like more, it doesn’t need anything additional. I feel like this novel has all of the strengths seen in Leckie’s earlier books, but without needing the adjustment to a POV that is one element of a hivemind, as well as a smaller set of central characters, this felt “easier” to read. Some of the complexities were eliminated, but yet those complexities for the world that we learned about in the trilogy still exist and enhance this book. I do not think the it is required to read the trilogy before reading this, I would guess it would stand well completely on its own.I also enjoyed getting the resolution in a single book instead of needing to wait for the next installment. I love series, but I can also appreciate the satisfaction from a great standalone as well. Highly recommend it.

  • William
    2019-06-20 12:22

    Wow, Ann Leckie surprise! She's written a classic comedy of manners, with added "adventure sprinkles." What fun! Lovely new protagonist, Ingray, whom I saw in my mind throughout the book as Ann Leckie herself! WOOT !We start with a well-written "standard" sci-fi adventure setup. Interesting character, familiar Raadch universe, great stuff. Then things "start to go wrong" and before you know it, the pacing grows faster and more fun. Throughout the book, there is a lightness to the action and settings, wonderfully presented. Terrific world-building, great prose. I kept thinking what a great London West-End play this would make!Unfortunately, chapters 12-15 were awfully confused and long-winded, but don't worry. Nothing much happens there, anyway.Chapter 16 picks up the action again, and very clever plotting, good dialogue and characters.This continues on through to the last couple of chapters, in which an info-dump of "what happened" follow by "what might happen in the next book (perhaps)". A bit too much tell-not-shown for my tastes.Still, a very good book. 3.5 stars.12.0% ".... Wonderful. Leckie is such a fine author, and this is so much fun to read!" 20.0% "... Leckie's world-building and dialogue are wonderful. The setup in the first 1/4 of the book is perfect."21% ...The front wall of the reception room was blue and green ruin glass, but the wall opposite the door where Ingray and Garal came in was all broad windows, plain and clear, looking out onto the rain-washed garden, moss-lined stones and silver-wet willows, three stone benches, swaths of flowers bent by the rain, their colors faded-looking in the gray light. The other walls were hung with slubbed silk, rough-woven in waving bands of red and yellow and green. 39.0% ".... what great fun this is! Complex and fast-paced and full of terrific dialogue!" 44.0% ".... this would make a great play in the West End of London! What fun!" 54.0% "... chapter 12 is a dull and confusing. Long-winded .... sadly and badly bogged down in dull dialogue" 75.0% "chapters 12-15 are hard going, very dull, useless plot, but then chapter 16 picks up the pacing quite a bit. Awesome"

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2019-06-03 14:14

    3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/11/21/...While I’ve read and enjoyed Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy, I confess I probably wasn’t as enamored with it as the majority of readers. Despite the inventive and original ideas and the brilliant way there were executed, I really struggled with the pacing and there were also times where the narrative style made me feel completely out of my depth. And so when Provenance came out, I felt torn as to whether or not to read it. Eventually though, I was won over by the exciting premise as well as the general consensus that this was a lighter, more approachable story, and easier to get into compared to Ancillary Mercy.For the most part, I felt this was true. The novel follows Ingray Aughksold, the adopted daughter of a prominent politician on the planet of Hwae, where power games are the norm. Our protagonist’s mother Natano has the choice of passing down her title to only one of her children, and Ingray desperately wants it to be her, though she knows the competition will be fierce. Her main rival is her clever and charming brother Danach, whom many already think has secured the inheritance, but unbeknownst to everyone, Ingray has one last-ditch card up her sleeve to play.For you see, in Hwaean society there are certain historical relics called vestiges that are prized above all other treasures, and a thief named Pahlad Budrakim is said to have stolen some and hidden them away before being convicted and sent to “Compassionate Removal” (a punishment that involves a rather horrible form of exile). If Ingray can somehow free and convince Pahlad to reveal the location of the stolen vestiges, she can simply retrieve them and return home a hero. Sure, her plan may be half-baked and nothing short of a gamble, but pulling it off would certainly win her Natano’s favor.Unfortunately, things go wrong almost immediately for Ingray as she arrives to retrieve Pahlad (after paying a hefty sum, which was almost all the money she had), only to find the prisoner delivered inside a suspension box. She also did not anticipate that the starship captain she hired to take them home would object to transporting a passenger in stasis, insisting that she wake the prisoner before he would agree to take them anywhere. So imagine Ingray’s dismay, when after they breach the suspension box, the person within comes to life in a bewildered state, claiming vehemently not to be Pahlad Budrakim at all.Returning to the Imperial Radch universe, Provenance does share a few similarities with the Leckie’s debut trilogy, such as the gender-fluidity, lack of emphasis on sexual stereotypes, inclusion of many different alien races, and presence of sentient machines. However, as evidenced by the book’s description, the story also contains a more accessible and reader-friendly plotline, one that concerns itself more with intimate matters like family and friendship. This is just one of many reasons why I think this novel worked better for me on a personal level, in contrast to the way I felt about Ancillary Mercy which left me with a nagging sense of detachment to the characters.Ingray, on the other hand, was someone I found easier to relate to, which in turn helped me gain a deeper appreciation for the world-building elements. While Leckie can sometimes go a little overboard with the details (something I also noticed from previous experiences with her work), the data dumps seemed much more manageable this time around, probably because almost all the world-building had direct consequences for our protagonist. Every background tidbit on the culture of the Hwaeans or the history of vestiges meant something to Ingray’s future, for example, resulting in a greater interest and investment on my part.And yet, for all its strengths, Provenance still presented me with a few roadblocks. Its lighter tone notwithstanding, the story was slow to unfold and failed to build up much steam after the first hundred pages. After a promising start, everything just sort of…plateaued. To be fair, the story did interest me enough to keep reading to the end, but my feelings for the second half of the book were much more muted compared to the gripping excitement I felt in the first half.It has occurred to me, of course, that Leckie could be one of those authors whose style and I simply don’t click. I’m always conflicted whenever I finish her novels, reeling in awe and admiration of the story’s themes and concepts, but at the same time wishing it could have been more. And that’s pretty much how I felt about Provenance in a nutshell. I think it’s an intriguing book that expands the universe, making it a must-read for Imperial Radch and Ann Leckie fans, but once again I’m on the fence.

  • Lindsay
    2019-06-03 16:28

    A return to the universe of the Ancillary books but outside the Radch. The setting for most of the book is the planet Hwae whose people are known for their reverence of relics (called vestiges) from the destroyed civilization that they're descendants of. The story picks up with Ingray Aughskold, an ambitious upper-class woman's cunning plan to retrieve a convicted thief from off-world detention to reveal the location of vestiges e apparently stole. (The thief, Pahlad Budrakim is a third gender, neman, which uses e/em/eir as pronouns). But in retrieving Pahlad (or whoever she actually retrieves) Ingray gets involved in all sorts of intrigue including involvement with an alien species (the Geck) and interplanetary and local politics.This is a clever and fun book with lots of characterization given to everyone and a very alien comedy of manners set up. (Well, it's also a murder mystery and a political thriller). The title gives the game away though: the story is superficially about the vestiges that the Hwae place so much importance in and their cherished ties to their own history and lineages. However, it's really about the meaning that comes from the origins of things and people and the value that is invested in them because of these things, and where value actually comes from.It's rich and detailed and a lot of fun, pretty much like anything Leckie writes. Recommended.

  • Vroom
    2019-06-11 14:10

    I was torn between "it was okay" (2 stars) and "I liked it" (3 stars). For the most part, the book was a tedious slog with an uninspiring protagonist (no matter how much all the other characters kept telling us she was awesome). So why did I waver with 3? Because Leckie decided not to milk Breq for another volume. Because tea played only a minor role (that was replaced by Sherbet, Instant Noodles, and novelty glass blocks). Because the first 25% of the book actually was gripping. What was missing was any real character conflict and growth (the most we got was a tissue-thin story about sibling rivalry). The relationships, while sweet, were unearned. The "plot" was overly complicated and unemotional. The difference between Breq's grief and a minor ploy to gain access to better space tunnels is very wide. The mystery was boring. The "heroics" were boring. By the end, I was just waiting for the damned thing to be done already.I'm beginning to wonder if Leckie is a one and done, that she only had one great novel in her. I hope not. And yes, I'll pre-order her next book too because Ancillary 1 was that good.

  • Alex
    2019-06-20 10:34

    This wasn't what I expected-- it's sort of Ann Leckie channeling Lois Bujold. But I found that I'm happy this (standalone?) lives in the same universe (after, for those wondering) as the Ancillary books. This one is possibly more charming human, if less effective-- if lacks the brutality of Justice.I want her to keep doing more here. I wouldn't be surprised if the next book was a new story in the events shortly after this one.**adding more to this, since it came out from a discussion;I realized this reminds me a lot of Scalzi's book from this year,The Collapsing Empire . Usually, I would put Ann Leckie in a much higher class of writer than Scalzi, whose work I enjoy even as i deride it. The fact that this book is so similar gives me a host of weird feelings. My 5 star rating here comes bundled with a whole bunch of feelings, in general.

  • Lata
    2019-06-13 11:31

    Not going to say much, other than I enjoyed this and was frequently amused by all the culture collisions of different aliens, and the vestiges, and following Ingray around as she starts on a plan that very quickly transforms into other plans, which intersect with treaty violations, a murder investigation, theft, family shenanigans, planetary and interplanetary intrigue, and new relationships. And spider mechs. Lighter in tone than the Ancillary series (the fallout from which is referenced in this book) the action in this book takes place outside Raadch space, primarily at Hwae. Hwae has a fascinating culture, multiple genders, interesting family dynamics and a passion for physical objects tied to events and other important instances. Provenance was fun and different from Leckie's other books, but definitely enjoyable.

  • Sherwood Smith
    2019-05-31 09:19

    Thoroughly enjoyed this space opera comedy of manners, set in the author's Radch universe.It kind of reminded me of Lois McMaster Bujold a bit; though I think the worldbuilding is a step more complex than Bujold's, the emotional grip isn't as strong. Even so, the story carried me along as Ingray, our main character, goes from an ambitious but fairly clueless young adult to someone just grasping competence, and beginning to think strategically.All the side characters were fun, and of course there was Leckie's trademark gender fluidity. I closed it with a smile, which is exactly what I demand of my entertainment reading these days.

  • Veronique
    2019-06-03 16:19

    Like many, I loved Leckie’s trilogy and looked forward to this new instalment. The novel is set in the same universe but focuses on new players that have nothing to do with the events of the other books. Additionally, the style is different too, which is perhaps due to the personality of our narrator, Ingray. Here we have an unassuming protagonist jostled about by ‘stronger’ characters, thrown into deep waters, some of her choosing. It took me a while to get into this book, but after getting accustomed to it, I actually enjoyed it very much. Leckie offers us a whole spectrum of genders and races, some recognisable, but dancing to a new tune. I kept thinking of the title, Provenance, and how well it is suited. Everything touches on this notion, on different levels.

  • Phrynne
    2019-05-20 12:23

    Similar in some ways to her excellent Ancillary series, but different in others. I liked it but less than I did the series.Provenance is certainly set in the same universe we are used to and comes with the same kinds of space travel, high tech communications and non gender characters. However this book is a much quieter read. It starts brilliantly with one of the main characters, Ingray, trying to smuggle a person between planets. Some of the situations experienced are comedic and some are tense and the characters involved are all well written and entertaining. The middle section of the book, back on the home planet of Hwae, is much more political and it sometimes gets a little bogged down in explanations and theories. This is followed by a more exciting but slightly nonsensical finale which actually goes out with a fizzle, not a bang.I am not deducting any stars for the narrator because that would not be fair to the book. However I do not recommend the audio. I did wonder why Ingray's brother had a Northern English accent and her Uncle sounded Indian. It was distracting:)Nevertheless a good book, entertaining, well written and certainly worth reading!

  • Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)
    2019-06-05 08:28

    You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.All rise as bestselling author Ann Leckie enters the court with her new novel Provenance! After 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.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.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!Yours truly,Lashaan | Blogger and Book ReviewerOfficial blog: https://bookidote.com/

  • Book Riot Community
    2019-06-20 15:14

    Eeeeeeeee! Leckie has followed up her record-breaking Imperial Radch series with a fun, fast novel of power and birthright! A young woman must regain status and power to save her world, but she needs the help of a thief to do it. INSERT CAPERS HERE. There’s a prison planet, priceless artifacts, political turmoil, heists, and interstellar conflict. It has all the ingredients needed to make this an amazing book! Not that you needed me to tell you Ann Leckie is amazing. Run, don’t walk, to pick it up!Backlist bump: Ancillary Justice by Ann LeckieTune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books: http://bookriot.com/listen/shows/allt...

  • Roy
    2019-05-25 14:32

    3.5*Loved exploring the new cultures and storylines in this scifi world that Leckie has created. I enjoyed the protagonist but probably not as much as Breq. Very cool buildup, with great small cast of characters. Very initmate in style and tale as compared to her previous trilogy. Funny, poignant and stimulating which was all contributed by her great writing. I did feel like around the 2/3 mark it just lost steam and plot. Became a little too dialogue centric without really contributing to the plot. Decent ending and I dont think we've seen the end of this world. If you havent read the 1st trilogy I'd probably start there. Book 1 of that series is still by far the best book shes ever written.

  • Suzanne
    2019-06-17 14:18

    It was neat seeing a new and entirely different culture in this universe. Leckie makes aliens so very alien - they always capture my interest. And this was a fun story - basically a heist caper/murder mystery in a complex setting.

  • Rachel (Kalanadi)
    2019-06-01 11:18

    How many of our vestiges in museums are fake??

  • Cathy (cathepsut)
    2019-05-23 08:10

    Some nice plot-twists early on. At first the story comes off as a heist story, then moves into a murder mystery with a conspiracy plot and... moves on. Leckie's world building is great. So complex and imaginative. And the plot just keeps making turns and twists and all of a sudden you are off into a totally different direction.A little spoilerish from here on out...I wonder if there will be a sequel? If so, I hope besides Ingray we will also see more of Tic and Garal. And the ambassador. She was a hoot. Spider or blob... The blob was awesome, by the way. She reminded me a little of one of the translators in the original trilogy. Comic relief, a bit scary, a lot weird and with deep insights. What great personalities Leckie creates!Did those hairpins have some deeper meaning? I mostly just found them annoying. Are they supposed to showcase Ingray's partial ineptitude at life? I am still trying to make up my mind about her. She's not a very homogenous character. So insecure on one side and so shrewd on the other. But maybe that does fit with her upbringing.Certainly a book with lots of food for thought. Only 4 stars though, as I got bored (a lot) in the middle. I want some Serbet, you can keep the Poik! Auto-buy for the next book, if there is one...

  • Sarah
    2019-06-06 15:09

    I'm giving this 3.5 stars. This is my first experience with Ann Leckie. I do wonder if I might have enjoyed it more if I had started with the Imperial Radch series. I have Ancillary Justice on my Kindle so I'll be starting that one soon anyway, but depending on how I like that one I may revisit this in the future.The premise is this: Ingray is a foster child of Prolocutor Netano who is forced to compete with her foster brother Danach for the right to be named heir. Danach is charismatic and conniving and a more skilled politician than she, so she doesn't think she has any real chance, but she wants to best him, just once. So she hatches a plan to break a thief out of a Maximum Security prison known as Compassionate Removal, so he can tell her where he once hid all the ultra valuable vestiges he stole and she can win mama's favor just once. But it isn't really that simple.The world building was good. This takes place in the Hwae System primarily. There are no info dumps, so it is up to the reader to put the pieces together as they come. There is a lot of focus on vestiges. As best I can tell these are bits of history or memorabilia and used to establish family history and prominence. It is noted that people and aliens outside the Hwae system think their obsession with vestiges is borderline ridiculous, and I have to say, I sort of agree. Nothing was done to convince me these were important or priceless in anyway except to establish dominance over other families.I loved the aliens here (though arguably there was really only one). They are the Geck, and they are an underwater people who use biomechs to move them about on dry land. The mechs and their abilities were really fascinating and stole every scene they were in. The Geck ambassador often had me laughing out loud (not because she was particularly funny, but more because of her mannerisms and appearance).Ingray was a fun heroine to follow if for no other reason than she is in absolutely no way your cookie cutter heroine. She can be slow to catch on sometimes, frequently flies by the seat of her pants, and doesn't always think her plans through to the end. She cries, she is not particularly strong, she is very fearful but also brave and her heart is usually in the right place. I did get a little tired of her self deprecation by the end of the book, as much as I tired of other characters telling her how clever and wonderful she was.The reason I didn't give this a full 4 or 5 stars was because the plot fell a little flat for me. Once you reach the conclusion, the whole purpose of it feels a little petty and ridiculous. Like I've been reading all this time just for that? Otherwise it was a fun read, and if I like the Ancillary Justice series I might come back to this with (hopefully) a better understanding of the world. Then perhaps the ending won't feel so petty.

  • Jeremy Szal
    2019-05-22 12:34

    A copy of this book was supplied by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.More of a 1.5, but I'd rather Radchaai fans not tear me to shreds, so it's a 2. It's not a terrible book. But it's hardly deserved of the mountains of praise that's been heaped on this thing. The novel starts slow, and doesn't do much to pick up the pace. This wouldn’t be a problem, were the characters half as compelling as they should be, given their backstory. Ingray, a woman raised in a cutthroat political climate and supposedly trained by her austere mother to use every opportunity to dominate those around her, is on the verge of bursting into tears a dozen too many times for anyone who could have conceivably survived in such an atmosphere. Worse, she’s blindly misled by a number of people around her, including Pahlad, who manages to convince her e is someone else entirely. Ingray gladly swallows this, only to discover, much to her bewilderment, Pahlad is actually Pahlad when someone else points it out...only to be misled again once she discovers not-Pahlad has another identity altogether. Ingray is also seemingly unaware of the bleeding obvious, least of all the fact that people around her have their own selfish interests at heart. This ignorance is even lampshaded by the characters around her. It’s difficult to believe that someone in her circumstances is allowed to be this stupid and lacking such self-esteem. The other characters don’t have much chemistry, or much interaction between them that indicates at more depth. This is especially clear with the non-existent relationship between Ingray and Pahlad, who she insists on sheltering and defending when it’s clear that e’s own agenda surpasses hers. We’re expected to buy Ingray’s politically-bound relationship with her mother, but we’re never given enough depth for it to feel genuine, and thus the relationship on-screen is unconvincing. What little growth we do see feels unearned and without any backbone to support its fragile arc. Other than the faintest hint of sibling rivalry between Ingray and her brother, there’s scarcely a sniff of any character conflict, or much of a reason to care what happens to them. In saying all this, the worldbuilding here is quite strong. Leckie’s universe consists of over half a dozen mini-empires and species and guilds tangled in political conflict with each other. Leckie manages to never make them feel overcrowded or confusing. In aid of that is their cultural divide, pronunciated by varying attitudes, gestures and beverages. The use of gender pronouns is an interesting one, and exists naturally within these cultures, rather than sticking out unnaturally. There’s careful planning and depth given to each of these worlds and the people that inhabit them, at least on a marco-scale. The politicking and world-changing events within these allegiances would have carried much more weight if the same depth was given to the characters stuck in the middle of it. Ingray itself only seems to care about her home on a superficial level. She was born on this planet, so she must protect it. There’s no emotional weight to give the tandem of character and world that extra polish, so it feels like surface material.The plot starts to escalate, once Pahlad’s father discovers that e has been broken out of prison. Once a foreign power arrives in the Hwae system and captures a space station, things do start get a little more interesting. Additional political players start to interfere, and there are a few cool interactions with aliens. But even when Ingray is under threat, it’s difficult to sympathize with her plight because we’re given so little reason to care for her. While she shows evidence of becoming a little more headstrong towards the end, I wished she’d exhibit more character agency.It’s frustrating to see the right ingredients of a tense political situation and empires in ruin, and never see them come to full fruition. It’s difficult to imagine that foreign invaders taking control over an entire space station could end up being dull, but this book manages it; a feat in of itself. It’d be easy to completely wipe Provenance off, but its smart world-building and realised cultures fails to balance out the lack of character depth, onion-thin relationships and bizarre plot. You could do worse for a cozy, light-hearted read, but if you’re after something with a bit more meat, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

  • Ashley
    2019-05-22 09:09

    If you don't go in to this expecting to be challenged with brilliance, you'll probably enjoy it very much. Despite being set in the same story universe as her Imperial Radch trilogy, Provenance is of a much lighter tone, and is much more accessible. I struggled with massive confusion for about the first quarter of Ancillary Justice before I caught on, but not so here. I had fun with it, but it didn't knock my socks off (and I don't think it was supposed to).Our main character is Ingray Aughskold, whose adoptive mother is a politician on her homeworld of Hwae. Ingray has taken drastic steps to finally prove herself to her mother, who believed the best way for her (all adopted/fostered) children to thrive was to compete against one another. She would then choose one of them to be her heir, to pass along her name (and its benefits) to them. Ingray has always felt at a disadvantage compared with her older brother Danach, who is sneaky and conniving, and she feels, a much better player at the political game. So she spends her entire savings (quite a sum) plus borrows against future earnings (even more of a large sum) on a desperate ploy. She pays to have an infamous person, Pahlad Budrakim, released from a "prison" that no one has ever returned from so that he can help her recover valuable items which she can use as political leverage. Or, failing that, leverage his supposed knowledge of their location. She doesn't have a full plan yet. (It's a problem.)The book actually opens with Pahlad Budrakim supposedly being delivered to her in cold storage, but when she releases him, he says he's not Pahlad Budrakim at all, but after some events involving an ambassador and the ship that they've booked passage on, he agrees to help her anyway since it's better than going back to Compassionate Removal.So let's talk about Compassionate Removal, because I find it fascinating. Hwae refuses to admit that their version of crime punishment is a prison. Instead, they "remove" citizens from the planet and drop them on another one to make their own way. They do this with the rationale that it's not a punishment, and they are free to live and support themselves, just away from the society they harmed. Once you are compassionately removed, you are legally dead. Of course you can see the flaw in this. Drop a bunch of criminals in a place without any infrastructure at all and inequalities, hunger, and violence will abound. I won't say anymore about the plot because some of it is couched in twists and reveals, but this definitely felt like an Ann Leckie book, with her characteristic no-nonsense writing and characters who creep up on you in your feelings. It's got murder, trickery, political machinations, aliens (we meet another alien species called The Geck who play a big part). She also likes to play around with gender roles in society, as well as societal expectations in general--she's obviously fascinated by the idea of certain cultures taking things for granted as being obvious and natural, and other cultures seeing those things as socially constructed absurdities, but also being unable to see their own socially constructed absurdities for what they are. Hwaean culture allows for three genders (woman, man and the gender neutral neman) and has the pronouns to go with. I do confess that I'm not entirely sure I got all the rules for that, but it's really a surface detail. You can follow the plot and understand the character motivations without being too caught up in all the worldbuilding, which acts more like imaginative tapestry. There's a lot of stuff centering around where things come from and where they belong, and what that means (hence the title), but it's subtle and I ultimately enjoyed the little thematic backbone it lent to the story.All in all, Leckie continues to be a very interesting author, and I can't wait for her next book. Hopefully she dives back into the meatier stuff now. I enjoyed this little diversion, but I love when she goes deep.

  • Francesca Forrest
    2019-05-24 13:16

    The book's called Provenance, and it's a perfect title, because where things--or people--come from and what (who) they really are is a central theme. The main character, Ingray, is the daughter of a powerful politician from the Hwae system--only actually she's a child from a public crèche, and that sense of her own insignificant roots weighs heavily on her and affects her actions. Hwae society is very wrapped up in what they call vestiges, a term that indicates everything from historical artifacts to personal mementos and souvenirs (one thing that Ann Leckie is excellent at is strange-ifying things--like museums or the importance of artifacts--to reveal stuff about human nature), but what if foundational vestiges are false? The two people Ingray first interacts with are also of mysterious provenance, and their claimed identities change.In terms of story, there are multiple plots and schemes interacting, from the very personal (Ingray's competition with her brother) to the statewide (Ingray's family is in competition with another family for influence) to the regional planetary (a neighboring federacy wants to manipulate or pressure Hwae into granting it certain concessions that will work to its advantage in the region) to the galactic (the treaty with alien species, which *no* one wants broken, but which is at constant risk).Ingray is a **very** different protagonist from Breq (from the Imperial Radch trilogy--Ancillary Justice etc.): she's not superhuman in the least, and that makes her bravery extra-impressive ... and very persuasive. When you see her doing things she's terrified of doing but that she feels she has to do to for the sake of people she cares about, it's inspiring! Makes you believe maybe you could too. Not that that's what the book's aiming for, but it's a great side benefit.And there's humor threaded through the book, whether it's the fact that "compassionate removal" is the Hwaen euphemism for prison or the fact that the Radchaai ambassador to the Presger just can't keep pronouns straight. There are also some uproarious examples of insufficient machine translation.And some really marvelous aliens. Folks, you will love the Geck ambassador. She's just wonderful.I'll mention a couple of things I was less enthusiastic about just to acknowledge that they were present: there was a budding romance for Ingray that felt unnecessary and a bit shoehorned in: the object of affection was an interesting person who did bring out the best in Ingray at some key moments, and I could see how *in time* affection/romance might bloom, but Ingray's attention--rightly--was completely elsewhere most of the time, so.There's also a lot of explaining that goes on. I didn't mind this exactly--I think it's good to make stuff clear to your readers--But sometimes I felt that the level and wide-rangingness of the discussion wasn't credible for a situation. In the end, though, I decided to accept it as an artistic choice, like accepting in a detective story when the detective gathers all the suspects in a room at the end to go over what happened. It was a conscious decision, though.But let me get back to my main point. This is an excellent, immersive, surprising, fun, thought-provoking, and moving book. Highly recommended.

  • Emily (BellaGrace)
    2019-06-04 08:12

    I'm a bit disappointed in this one. It definitely doesn't measure up to the Ancillary trilogy. I started off really liking this book - until about half way through, and then things took a completely different turn into tedious politics and a long, drawn out, and contrived resolution to situation at the end of the book. I did not like the main character. I wish I had a dollar every time she cried or mentioned her hairpins (I'd have $500 at least). The hairpins were mentioned so often that I thought they would have some kind of importance in the story - like maybe they had some kind of tech built into them or could be used as weapons, but they didn't. There was no importance to them whatsoever except to annoy the reader. I did like Garal and Tic, and the part of the book that involved them - maybe there will be another novel that follows them and gives more information into what happened when Garal was in compassionate release.PS - the pronoun situation drove me crazy. Sometimes they would use "E" and then in the next sentence they would use "he" - I never figured out why sometimes the gender neutral pronoun was being used to reference a person and why that same person would sometimes be called he/she

  • Marlene
    2019-06-18 10:34

    Originally published at Reading RealityProvenance was awesome. I mean like stay up half the night, read in the bathroom at work awesome. I’m not sure it matches the blurb AT ALL, but I loved every minute of it.It also reminded me more than a bit of John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire, but I’m absolutely not sure why. It just did. And since I loved that too, it’s a good thing.Although it was a bit hard to tell from the promos, Provenance is part of the Imperial Radch of Ancillary Justice. Well, it is in the sorta/kinda sense. This is the same universe that was created for that series. The Radchaii are a presence. But not a big one. Or a particularly well-liked one. Provenance, instead, takes place outside of the Imperial Radch, in a system that acknowledges the existence of the Radch and resents the way that the Radchaii act as though they speak for all of humanity – which they don’t. Except when they kind of do.Politics is always fascinating. And makes for the kind of large-scale conflict that can drive a book series into the stars.The conflict in Provenance is a bit smaller scale. The story here takes place on Hwae, and involves a kind of cold war turned lukewarm over the control of the gates that make interstellar travel both possible and reasonable.It’s also about what a society believes about itself, and what it values.And strangely enough, it really is about provenance, in its dictionary definition. The Hwae give great weight and reverence to what they call “vestiges”. In their culture, “vestiges” are certified artifacts of important, or not so important events. To make it clearer, the Hwae would consider a signed, original U.S. Constitution, or a signed, original Magna Carta, for example, as a “vestige”. These are artifacts of important events that were present at the event itself.What’s at issue in Provenance is that the Hwae veneration of “vestiges” has extended to anything that might have been tangentially present at an important event or in the proximity of an important personage. And material at that remove is all too easy to fake. After all, how does one determine if a specific floor tile was or was not ever trod upon by one our “Founding Fathers”? Or one of theirs?So this is Ingray’s story. She attempts, through some rather underhanded means, to gain access to a treasure trove of stolen “vestiges”. She’s trying to impress her mother and gain a much needed advantage over her brother. She’s certain that she needs to do both if she’s to keep her place in the family, and keep her home.And she might be right.But what she discovers instead is part of the vast and rather stinking underbelly of her own culture, and the even nastier ways that their enemies are attempting to exploit that stink for their own nefarious ends.Caught in the literal cross-fire, Ingray can only do what she does best – indulge in five minutes of panic and then think her way out. Even if her exit is, as it often is, out of the frying pan into the fire.Even if that fire is gunfire.Escape Rating A: If you are searching for an excellent piece of science fiction, particularly space opera of the “diplomacy is war waged by quieter means” type, Provenance is a winner from beginning to end.It starts out small, and keeps growing bigger and bigger as the story goes on. We start with Ingray and her rather ingenious but extremely foolhardy plan. She just wants to get back at her brother, who is a douche. And she does it because she’s just tired of him being smug and superior. She hopes to embarrass him, she does not expect to gain actual permanent ascension.And yes, there’s an element of be careful what you wish for, because you might get it, woven into the story.What makes this story work is the way that the complexities are introduced. While this is not told in the first-person, Ingray is still our point of view character. As her view expands, we learn more about her world and what moves and shakes it. As does she.So we start with an uncertain young woman in the midst of a not terribly well thought out scheme that has just gone awry. While parts of the scheme might have had large implications, her purpose was relatively small – putting one over on her brother.But as her rather rudimentary plans go further and further out the airlock, more people, more situations, and more politics get involved. All seen from Ingray’s perspective, as she has to cope with more and more crap being thrown at her. And always feels, as most of us do at least some of the time, that she’s in WAY over her head while the crap is continuing to rise.Our perspective and understanding grow. As does hers. And we feel for her as it does. So in the end, we stand with her as all her choices come full-circle. And she leaps out.

  • Nikki
    2019-05-25 14:08

    Provenance is not Ancillary Provenance, for sure. The main character is very different from Breq — human, for one thing, and rather less capable, for another. She’s immature and she doesn’t yet know herself, her own capabilities or her own strength. I can sort of understand some reviews who found her a bit of a wet blanket, especially if you know Breq already. But I enjoyed the, well, more human character, in this context. Admittedly, though, Ingray is not my favourite thing about this novel. That would be Garal, by far, and Tic in second place.But really, what I enjoyed was the societies built up for the story to take place in: the fact that children aren’t gendered, but choose their permanent name and declare their gender as young adults, once they feel comfortable and sure. I enjoyed the handling of that, the care people gave to getting the right pronouns and respecting people’s choice — and the odd moment where someone changes their name as an adult and most people ignore eir preference, which gets called out by the narrative because the people who matter do respect it and just… As a queer person, all this acceptance just goes straight to my heart, and makes me feel like Leckie knows she’s writing for an audience that includes me and the people I know.For that reason, I feel really weird about the reviews which complain about the “made-up” pronouns (they’re not made-up, they’re in use in the queer community already) or the lesbian relationship and say there’s no “point” in the relationship between Ingray and Teucris, or in Garal being a neman (gender neutral). I think the point is just that these are relationships that happen, identities people already claim, and the way we do things now in the mainstream isn’t the only way to do things. The point is, there are and can be worlds where everyone belongs.But I don’t think it’s Leckie’s intention to use the story to make a point: the characters’ identities aren’t important to the overall shape of the plot. Perhaps part of the point is just you’re not in Kansas anymore.The story itself was fun, though not as strong as the Ancillary books. To me this was more about the characters and the world, and I enjoyed it that way. If you want to see the Radch toppling, though, you’ll be disappointed. Though set in the same world, it has little to do with the Radch and is not directly related to the events set off by Breq. Still, Ancillary Sword should probably have clued you into that aspect of Leckie’s interests, focused mostly on the local events and how they affect characters we’ve come to know and love.I can see why people won’t love this, especially if they’re looking for hard SF.Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

  • Peter Tillman
    2019-05-25 10:07

    Here's NK Jemisin's NYT review:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/bo..." ... the book [is] a perfect follow-up to the trilogy, because it is effectively a comedy of manners. ... It does get convoluted ... “Provenance” feels clumsier than the Radch novels in many ways, possibly because there are fewer galaxy- or character-transforming moments to pull the reader along. ... Still, the novel stands well as a sort of thematic coda to the Radch trilogy ...."Washington Post's Everdeen Mason has similar remarks, https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...

  • Allison
    2019-06-02 14:17

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing. I'll be posting a chunkier review later!Thanks so so much to Orbit for the review copy.

  • The Captain
    2019-06-13 10:29

    Ahoy there mateys! I have been a fan of Ann Leckie ever since I read her debut novel. And what a doozy that one was. It still be one of me all-time favourites ever. In fact, I featured and gushed about this author in me Broadside No. 16 due to provenance coming out. And now I finally read her newest book. Hooray!!I must start by saying that I loved it. The characters, writing, plot, and world are so well done. While the story about Ingray was fabulous and plot-twisty and stellar and just plain fun, what I really took from the book was not the story at all but the juxtaposition between the society of the Hwaeans in this book and the Radchaai in her imperial radch trilogy. This was not me intention but, well, this aspect provided me myriad entertainments.Ye see this novel is technically a standalone that is set in the same world as the trilogy. I absolutely love what I would consider companion books that exist in a world but showcase other aspects and cultures of said world - like in me reviews of the Culture books or the Craftworld books. So this was a mind-puzzle gift that I found fascinating. If ye haven't read the first book in the trilogy, ancillary justice, then the next section will likely not make sense to ye. And I suggest ye read that novel before reading this one because of said paragraphs below. So while there are no plot spoilers ahead, I will be doing some mild comparisons and random thoughts so if ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .- I adored that the Radchaai were the protagonists of the trilogy and of course considered themselves the highest-cultured beings of the universe. And in this book we showcase the Hwaean culture who believes they are superior. Both cultures spend time pointing out how certain habits of other societies proved they were uncouth. That being said, both cultures also like to see themselves as being open-minded, which I found to be hysterical.- For example there is a Radchaai diplomat in this novel. Though a very minor character, the diplomat was used perfectly. The author highlights the hypocrisy of the Radchaai in terms of the person appointed for the diplomatic job and also in the diplomat's attitude towards her job. Yet in certain situations the diplomat takes her tasks extremely seriously and is an important component to how the plot progresses and is resolved. It was awesome!- We get to see multiple cultures in all the books. Geck, Radchaai, Rrrrr, Omken, and others. So very different and complex and fun. In particular the use (or non-use) of terms of gender vary by culture and language and the complexities rock! The mistakes are sometimes very funny and yet somehow also insightful into how gender is dealt with in this day and age.- I also adore the different types of justice systems portrayed and the intricacies in how twisted interplanetary law can be. In Tyr Siilas there is a fine based system. Hwae seems slightly more like the British judicial system. Also how all of the cultures deal with the treaty with the Presger is portrayed so well in all of the novels. Citizenship was never such an interesting conundrum.- I loved how the Radchaai have their memorial pins and the Hwae have their vestiges. I have to admit that I am more partial to a memorial pin. However the use of the vestiges in this book were central to the story and a hoot besides. I kinda want the Radchaai pins and the tourist vestiges.- Speaking of tourism, Ann Leckie is awesome about writing about tourist places that are normal for the regular population but that I would totally visit. From bridges in the trilogy to Eswae Parkland in this book, I am fascinating and wish I could visit. I would sail the stars just to see the ruin glass hills. If only . . .Me writing skills are not good enough to get into more particulars and I certainly don't want to give away spoilers. But this novel has been lingering in me head and heart and thoughts. I suggest if ye haven't read Ann Leckie's work then ye should witness for yerself the magic of her writing.Check out me other reviews at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...

  • Amanda
    2019-06-11 09:26

    I really enjoyed being back in the world of the Imperial Radch trilogy. I'm worried that because this is a stand alone, many will want to read this to try out Leckie's work. This would be a huge mistake. Not only does this stand alone pick up, timeline-wise, right after the events of the IR trilogy, but the political climate in this book is, in my opinion, more complicated than in the trilogy. I foresee many people being put off by the complicated politics in Provenance, not having the background provided by the trilogy.That being said, as someone who read and loved the trilogy, Provenance was a nice follow up to a beloved series. I liked how this book was more emotionally involved. Ingray's culture is not as prim as the Radchaai, and Ingray is a more emotionally available character than Breq. However, I was annoyed with myself that I was annoyed with Ingray for her emotional reactions to traumatic situations. Not everyone needs to be a stone-cold hero, I know, but after a while I became annoyed. I also lost interest in the political machinations toward the 3/4 mark of the book, which ultimately dropped my rating down to 3 stars.There were a number of things I really enjoyed, though. I loved how, yet again, Leckie forces the reader to reconsider the gender binary. I love how Leckie's cultures challenge my upbringing and assumptions. I liked how this book is mostly about three people with parent issues trying to figure out who they are and what they truly want. I like how Leckie handled the bit of romance in this book, as I didn't see much of that in the trilogy. I loved how surprised I was to discover the Geck ambassador to be one of my favorite characters. At the start, I would never have thought so. And I also loved learning more about Leckie's world. She's an author to whom I will always be excited to return.If you're considering picking this up after you've read the trilogy, please do, just don't expect it to be like Breq's adventures. If you're considering reading this before the trilogy, please don't. You'll probably regret it.