Some point last year, @noodlenation said that she had read this book and it was good. At least I think it was her! I may be misremembering.
Anyway. It was so fucking good.
I don't even know how to explain it properly and for once I don't want to give spoilers because you should go buy this book, read it, give it to your friends for presents, badger everyone else to buy it.
The story takes plase across 2 time periods, about 25 years apart. It's at some very far distant future so that human culture isn't something we can remotely recognise. The main character is a 'corpse soldier' or ancillary. She, the human culture that is the Radch don't distinguish between gender so everyone in the book is she, is also a battle ship. Her individual 'segments' are corpse-soldiers and we mainly fallow one named One-Esk. She is thousands of years old.
There's a really cool, fascinating mission which I don't want to give away because READ THE DAMN BOOK ALREADY. There's death and betrayal and a leader/spiritual leader who has thousands of bodies. There's a hierarchy of 'Houses' which I guess is sort of like space-empire-y but not intrusive enough to annoy the crap out of me. Who is good, who is bad? WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING? OH MY GOD THIS AMAZING.
Oh man. I haven't been so fascinated by a new...universe like that for awhile. It's challenging but in a good way. The hierachy, the religion/not-religion, the military, the politics, the sheer-bat-shit-craziness of it all. I know there will be a sequel and I WILL BE ON THAT. Though, it will be tough to beat that book.
It has completely put in perspective (even more) how you don't need 500 flipping pages to make a story rich and engaging (this was 300). It was perfect. I loved it. It get's 5/5 for being one of the best books I've read in years.