It's not often that the third book of a trilogy makes me reassess my opinion of an earlier volume, but
Ancillary Mercy does just that.
My complaint with the second book was that the story was small and didn't advance the overall trilogy story arc. The third book resolves that and resolves it in a surprising and delightful fashion. The smallness of the second book was necessary. I don't want to give away anything, so I won't go into more detail on this, just that it's handled expertly.
On the other hand, Leckie's writing itself is as clunky as ever. It's difficult to parse, but not because it's explaining complex topics. It's just not clear writing. I think part of it is that she jams things together, textually. Too many lines of dialogue mixed with explanatory text.
So a big thumbs up on the book and the trilogy as a whole. I should have had more faith after finishing the second book.
Meanwhile, an editor somewhere is not upholding their end of the deal. (Andy Weir's editor is also guilty of not putting a strong enough hand on the shoulder of a novice author.)
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