Book: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers 1) by Becky Chambers
Release Date: August 13th 2015
Tags: Sci-Fi / Adult / Space Opera / Space Ships / Character Driven
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.
But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.
Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.
This book, with a long title that I somehow always forget the order of, has been hyped and recommended to me for the last year and a half or so. I’ve been told that I would love it. If that isn’t an insane expectation to live up to, I don’t know what is. But you know what, I loved it.
The single biggest thing that struck me from the start of this book is that I by chapter 2 I felt I was settling into something familiar and warm. Like I was returning to something yet I had never read about these characters before. Maybe it is because I love these kind of space settings. Firefly is one of my favorite series. But also the way Becky Chambers wrote these characters. It felt like settling into one big family.
All the characters are so diverse, unique and have their own flaws. A great mash up. The newcomer, burned from being to trusting in her own family. The alien pilot who is used to more liberal social norms. The captain who has to herd this mash up from killing each other and actually get some work done along the way. And so much more. It is a large group but it doesn’t feel like that. I think that is one of the greatest strengths of the book. Becky Chambers effortly juggles them all. I just want to hold them all. Though if I have one complaint, I would have liked from Colton and Ohan. There is a lot left to discover there. With all of them really.
As you might have gathered by now this book is fairly character driven. The plot is more pushed to the background and is fairly low in stakes. There is no real idea that their life is in danger with the exception of a small moment. The characters shape everything as they go on their long trip through space. It is about their personal development but also their development as a group.
While there could have been slightly more world building in places it didn’t bother me so much. Had the plot been more important or a bigger risk than it would have been a problem. There is already so much richness throughout this book of different alien species, cultures and what happened to our Earth. And it isn’t so much about that. These things are all a part of our characters, helping us to tell their stories.
All in all I fell in love with this book by the end of chapter two and I would highly recommend any sci-fi lover or those that enjoy character driven books to read this right away.