The Red Scholar’s Wake, by Aliette de Bodard

Second paragraph of third chapter:

Everything was dancing and wavering, her thoughs saturated with too much information, too many people, too many grievances and old records. What steadied her was the job: the analysis of the data so she could find the proof Rice Fish needed. It might not be something she’d ever thought she’d do for pirates, but it was a familiar job: a steadying task she could keep focused on.

A space opera romance, where the extra wrinkle is that the central relationship is between a human woman and the AI of a pirate spaceship. The setup is clear and the emotional perspective of the characters totally convincing. Also the economic and political basis for pirate spaceships controlled by artificial intelligence is pulled off with assurance. Not a book you could imagine Arthur C. Clarke writing, but one you could well imagine him enjoying. Recommended, like all the Clarke finalists. You can get it here.