100 books like Ancillary Justice

By Ann Leckie,

Here are 100 books that Ancillary Justice fans have personally recommended if you like Ancillary Justice. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Blade Itself

Ashton Macaulay Author Of Whiteout: A Nick Ventner Adventure

From my list on heroes you love to hate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about flawed characters as a reflex. I’m more interested in exploring the journey of an alcoholic monster hunter with literal and figurative demons than a white knight. Throughout my life, I’ve seen the effects of substance abuse up close, and while difficult, it helped me find the humanity in flaws. I choose to write about those flaws with a humorous bend, because life is far too long to go through without jokes. As a result, I gravitate towards pithy antiheroes and dark comedy. To feel a character’s pain is human, to laugh in the midst of their darkest moments is divine.

Ashton's book list on heroes you love to hate

Ashton Macaulay Why did Ashton love this book?

Here is yet another book where at first it seems as though there are no heroes.

Abercrombie writes a masterful world filled with magic, politics, swordfights, and bleak attitudes. One of the main POV characters is a torturer—I mean a full-on break your toes and laugh about it torturer—but even still, I found myself wanting more of his story. He’s certainly not a hero, but he was at one point, and that’s even more intriguing.

The characters drive this fantasy series, but the world is also a gorgeous setting that Abercrombie clearly spent many long nights thinking through. Every detail feels like it matters, and throughout this trilogy, the smallest specks of plot come back to matter.

On top of it all, I loved the audiobook narrator and his particular performances for each character brought the world to life.

By Joe Abercrombie,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Blade Itself as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.

Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.

And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior…


Book cover of Leviathan Wakes

Jean Gilbert Author Of Shifters

From my list on science fiction books that suck you into their world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have prosopagnosia, Face Blindness. I can’t recognize my face, let alone anyone else. Not being able to remember people makes for a lonely existence. Ever since I was little, I created worlds inside my head. These were places where I could control what happened when the real world felt lonely and out of control. Discovering books that created worlds I could immerse myself in was life-changing for me. It was like finding my lost tribe. Science fiction became a comfortable home, becoming a science fiction writer was a natural progression. I still get excited when I find a book that sucks me into its world.

Jean's book list on science fiction books that suck you into their world

Jean Gilbert Why did Jean love this book?

The possibility of terraforming Mars and mankind moving further away from Earth has always intrigued me. Besides the politics, how it affected humanity felt based on reality.

Human nature doesn’t change. We all know that. I am not big on reading mysteries. However, I fell in love with the idea behind the mystery that was the foundation for the whole series and how its discovery affected everyone. Would I make the same hard choices as they had to do? I still don’t have an answer to that.

By James S. A. Corey,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Leviathan Wakes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Humanity has colonized the planets - interstellar travel is still beyond our reach, but the solar system has become a dense network of colonies. But there are tensions - the mineral-rich outer planets resent their dependence on Earth and Mars and the political and military clout they wield over the Belt and beyond. Now, when Captain Jim Holden's ice miner stumbles across a derelict, abandoned ship, he uncovers a secret that threatens to throw the entire system into war. Attacked by a stealth ship belonging to the Mars fleet, Holden must find a way to uncover the motives behind the…


Book cover of All Systems Red

Julia Huni Author Of The Vacuum of Space

From my list on Science Fiction books to make you smile.

Why am I passionate about this?

My tagline is “sci-fi with heart and humor,” and that’s the core of who I am. Making others smile is my reason for being—whether that’s through the books I write, the silly things I say, or the crazy things I do. I’ve written twenty-eight books so far, and the purpose of every one of them is to make you giggle. I’ve written funny sci-fi, cheerful space opera, and a series of terrestrial romantic comedies set in a kitschy, over-the-top small town. 

Julia's book list on Science Fiction books to make you smile

Julia Huni Why did Julia love this book?

I heard so many people rave about the Murderbot Diaries (this is book 1) that I launched my own one-person boycott—until someone gave me a copy. Then, I wondered why I had resisted for so long. It’s fantastic! I love Murderbot’s dry delivery—very similar to my own style of humor. The story is fabulous—full of action, technology, and danger—and Murderbot slowly reveals its backstory and personality as it carries you through the story.

I loved that the built-to-work-tirelessly Murderbot is instinctively lazy, prefers to watch soap operas over doing its job, and cleverly hides those “failings” from the people it is supposed to be serving. The satisfying ending made me pick up book 2 almost immediately. 

By Martha Wells,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked All Systems Red as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All Systems Red by Martha Wells begins The Murderbot Diaries, a new science fiction action and adventure series that tackles questions of the ethics of sentient robotics. It appeals to fans of Westworld, Ex Machina, Ann Leckie's Imperial Raadch series, or lain M. Banks' Culture novels. The main character is a deadly security droid that has bucked its restrictive programming and is balanced between contemplative self discovery and an idle instinct to kill all humans. In a corporate dominated s pa cef a ring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by…


Book cover of Dawn

Anna McFarlane Author Of Cyberpunk Culture and Psychology: Seeing through the Mirrorshades

From my list on body horror birth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lecturer in medical humanities at the University of Leeds in England and I’m currently writing a book about the portrayal of traumatic pregnancy in fantastic literature (science fiction, horror, fantasy…). ‘Medical humanities’ is a field of study that looks at medical issues using the tools of the humanities, so it encompasses things like history of medicine, bioethics, and (my specialty) literature and medicine. Thinking about literature through the lens of traumatic pregnancy has led me to some fascinating, gory, and philosophical books, some of which I’m including on this list. 

Anna's book list on body horror birth

Anna McFarlane Why did Anna love this book?

I couldn’t finish this list without including one of the most famous examples of pregnancy in science fiction.

Humanity comes face-to-face with an alien species, the Oankali, who use gene editing, cloning, and mating to refresh their gene pools. The focus is on Lilith, a black woman taken hostage by the aliens who must learn about their plans for her and strategize her responses.

I really appreciate the way Butler’s work manages to speak to the legacy of slavery, particularly through a scene where the aliens create the circumstances for Lilith to breed with a human man in aid of their experiments. Lilith’s refusal to succumb to this animalistic treatment confronts the legacy of breeding humans during slavery.

I find Lilith (like many of Butler’s other characters) a driven character who deals with outlandish situations and the potential invasion of her own body with a pragmatic determination that invites me,…

By Octavia E. Butler,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Dawn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of the most significant literary artists of the twentieth century' JUNOT DIAZ

'Octavia Butler was playing out our very real possibilities as humans. I think she can help each of us to do the same' GLORIA STEINEM

One woman is called upon to reconstruct humanity in this hopeful, thought-provoking novel by the bestselling, award-winning author. For readers of Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison and Ursula K. Le Guin.

When Lilith lyapo wakes in a small white room with no doors or windows, she remembers a devastating war, and a husband and child long lost to her.

She finds herself living…


Book cover of The Traitor Baru Cormorant

Hadeer Elsbai Author Of The Daughters of Izdihar

From my list on epic fantasies with "unlikable" female characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, many of the female characters in the media I engaged with were thin stereotypes (and some still are). Slowly, culture shifted towards the “strong female character, which quickly became a stereotype of its own. As culture shifts again to more nuanced female characters, many of them are slapped with the label of “unlikeable.” The label usually means that the character isn’t a tired stereotype and is complex, multifaceted, and interesting. Also, nearly all the time, the same traits admired in a male character are despised in a female character (think of Alicent Hightower, whose moral complexity would certainly be celebrated in a man). 

Hadeer's book list on epic fantasies with "unlikable" female characters

Hadeer Elsbai Why did Hadeer love this book?

It's difficult to discuss what might make Baru unlikable without delving into spoilers, but that's fine because you must see this book through to appreciate it fully.

Baru, an accountant, finds herself caught in the jaws of empire when her homeland is colonized and one of her fathers is killed. Cold and calculating, Baru desperately claws her way to power in an attempt to fight empire from within, and along the way, must reckon with how much of herself she is willing to sacrifice for her goals. I can’t emphasize how bleak this book is, and part of that comes from watching Baru eat herself alive and be awful to other people.

By Seth Dickinson,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Traitor Baru Cormorant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

[Published as The Traitor Baru Cormorant in the US]

Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people - even her soul.

When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her Fathers, Baru vows to hide her hate, join the Empire's civil service, and claw her way up enough rungs of power to put a stop to the Emperor's influence and set her people free.

As a natural savant, she is sent as an imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn - a post she worries will never get her the…


Book cover of Ender's Game

Jean Gilbert Author Of Shifters

From my list on science fiction books that suck you into their world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have prosopagnosia, Face Blindness. I can’t recognize my face, let alone anyone else. Not being able to remember people makes for a lonely existence. Ever since I was little, I created worlds inside my head. These were places where I could control what happened when the real world felt lonely and out of control. Discovering books that created worlds I could immerse myself in was life-changing for me. It was like finding my lost tribe. Science fiction became a comfortable home, becoming a science fiction writer was a natural progression. I still get excited when I find a book that sucks me into its world.

Jean's book list on science fiction books that suck you into their world

Jean Gilbert Why did Jean love this book?

This story broke my heart. To make a young person do what Ender did without revealing the truth until it was too late still stirs strong feelings in me. It makes me reflect on our history where genocide was attempted. Are we that cruel a species?

I think that’s why this story is special. Although it’s set in a future Earth, the underlying morals of what is right and wrong remain the same. What makes it hard to swallow is that I can understand both points of view. It truly is a moral dilemma. I think that’s why this story sits uncomfortably with me. That is good writing. 

By Orson Scott Card,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Ender's Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Orson Scott Card's science fiction classic Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut―young Ender is the Wiggin drafted…


Book cover of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

John R. Dougherty Author Of Holy Terror

From my list on Christian action books allegorical references.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have felt a spiritual call in my life from as early as I can remember having memories as a young child. Being a life-long Christian has always drawn me to try to see God in everything around me, from people I encounter, to creation itself, to songs, to movies, etc. So, reading books which contain Christian allegory – symbols, meanings, underlying Biblical references – is very exciting for me. I enjoy trying to decipher that symbolism and try to understand the undertones that the book’s author is trying to communicate indirectly. I find that to be a personal challenge as I read, but also I find it very inspiring as well!

John's book list on Christian action books allegorical references

John R. Dougherty Why did John love this book?

Honestly, I love any book written by C.S. Lewis, but this is probably the first book of his I remember ever reading–and I have read it many times throughout my life. It’s a great story, as part of the 6-book series from Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia collection, with all kinds of Christian symbolism buried throughout the storyline.

And even without considering the Christian references, it is simply storytelling at its best. I never get tired of reading this book (nor the entire collection), and the movie recreations from the mid-to-late 2000s do a good job of bringing the books to life on the big screen.

By C. S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

30 authors picked The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Lucy steps into the Professor's wardrobe - but steps out again into a snowy forest. She's stumbled upon the magical world of Narnia, land of unicorns, centaurs, fauns... and the wicked White Witch, who terrorises all. Lucy soon realises that Narnia, and in particular Aslan, the great Lion, needs her help if the country's creatures are ever going to be free again...


Book cover of Our Lady of the Islands

Jak Koke Author Of Liferock

From my list on debut sci-fi and fantasy with immersive worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been a book doctor and acquiring editor for almost twenty years. I've read hundreds of debut novels, both published and not. I've always been amazed and impressed when an author is able to create a unique and internally consistent universe for their story. I also know—as a writer of ten fantasy and science fiction novels—that building a vivid, alternate world is a very difficult thing to do well. In the best stories the fictional world defines the characters in it, shapes them, and gives their struggle meaning. It's why we relate to their journey and make their success our own. 

Jak's book list on debut sci-fi and fantasy with immersive worlds

Jak Koke Why did Jak love this book?

Unlike many fantasy novels, the protagonist, Sian Katte isn't an adolescent. When I read this book in my 40s, I identified with the main characters. They've already come of age, but their lives are nonetheless turned upside when Sian gains an unexpected and unwanted magical ability. She is forced out of her routine and becomes a lynchpin in the political turnings of the tropical island nation of Alizar – a fantasy setting that resonates with the familiar while maintaining its uniqueness and rich history. 

By Shannon Page, Jay Lake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our Lady of the Islands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in the lush and dangerous world of Jay Lake's Green, Our Lady of the Islands is a vibrant, enchanting tale of political intrigue and divine mystery."Our Lady, heal us ..."Sian Katte is a successful middle-aged businesswoman in the tropical island nation of Alizar. Her life seems comfortable and well-arranged...until a violent encounter one evening leaves her with an unwanted magical power.Arian des Chances is the wife of Alizar's ruler, with vast wealth and political influence. Yet for all her resources, she can only watch helplessly as her son draws nearer to death.When crisis thrusts these two women together, they…


Book cover of Bridge of Dreams

Shannon Page Author Of Our Lady of the Islands

From my list on authors who care passionately about food and drink.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love food and drink! I am an avid cook and kitchen creator. Since moving to an island five years ago, far from mainland stores, I’ve learned to craft much more myself. I make limoncello, fresh ice creams, shrub (sipping vinegar); I roast and saute and barbecue and preserve; and I belong to a “bean club” which sends me a box of interesting dried beans every quarter. (No, really.) Combine this with my love of imaginative literature, and you end up with Arouf’s “spicy sweetprawn stew” in Our Lady of the Islands…a recipe I’ll have to actually invent someday.

Shannon's book list on authors who care passionately about food and drink

Shannon Page Why did Shannon love this book?

Chaz is my favorite foodie; many of his books (and other writings) display his vast and enthusiastic expertise on the universe of foods and how to enjoy them. But the description of the preparation and consumption of the ortolan in Bridge of Dreams is epic: it takes six dense, rich, gorgeous, deeply revealing pages…for one bite.

By Chaz Brenchley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bridge of Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For a thousand years, the great city of Sund stood impregnable while its enemy, Maras, remained outside the walls. Then the Marasi harnessed the powers of magic. Erecting an otherworldly bridge whose foundations were rooted in sorcery, the Marasi overran the walls of Sund and threw them down...

Now, in the city known as Maras-Sund, magic has been outlawed. Yet there are hcildren being born with raw mahical talent—and there are those who would rally behind them to rebel against their hated overlords. Issel, a young  water-seller from the poorest part of the city, possesses the gift for magic. And…


Book cover of Flesh and Fire: Book One of the Vineart War

Shannon Page Author Of Our Lady of the Islands

From my list on authors who care passionately about food and drink.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love food and drink! I am an avid cook and kitchen creator. Since moving to an island five years ago, far from mainland stores, I’ve learned to craft much more myself. I make limoncello, fresh ice creams, shrub (sipping vinegar); I roast and saute and barbecue and preserve; and I belong to a “bean club” which sends me a box of interesting dried beans every quarter. (No, really.) Combine this with my love of imaginative literature, and you end up with Arouf’s “spicy sweetprawn stew” in Our Lady of the Islands…a recipe I’ll have to actually invent someday.

Shannon's book list on authors who care passionately about food and drink

Shannon Page Why did Shannon love this book?

Wine and magic. Need I say more? No, but I shall anyway: I love wine, complex and delicious and delightful; and I love magic, mysterious and powerful. Laura Anne combines these elements to great effect in her Vineart War series, where spells are crafted from wines—the only source of magic in the world. It was hard to read this without wanting a glass of pinot noir by my side!

By Laura Anne Gilman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flesh and Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed as "something wholly new" and "extraordinary" in starred reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, Laura Anne Gilman’s Flesh and Fire is as intoxicating as the finest of wines—and as powerful as magic itself.

Once, all power in the Vin Lands was held by the prince-mages, who alone could craft spellwines, and who selfishly used them to their own gain. Now, fourteen centuries after a demigod shattered the Vine, it is the humble Vinearts who know the secret of crafting spells from wines, the source of magic, and they are prohibited from holding power.

But a new darkness is…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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