Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: The Galaxy and the Ground Within (Wayfarers 4) by Becky Chambers
Release Date: February 18th 2021
Tags: Sci-Fi | Space Opera | Aliens | Family | Friendship | Alien Culture | LGBTQ+
Trigger/Content Warnings: Near Death Child
Other books in this series I reviewed
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet | A Closed and Common Orbit | Record of a Spaceborn Few
With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.
At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through.
When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers—all different species with different aims—are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio—an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes—are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other.
If there is one series that I will always praise highly it has to be the Wayfarers series. Becky Chambers has found a unique way to look at people’s lifes in a science-fiction setting and manages to play with your heartstrings.
The Galaxy, and the Ground Within does this well. I’ll be honest and say that I was somewhat hesitant about this book as I started. All the main characters were aliens and I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into. But I should not have worried. Becky Chambers effortly weaves a story where all the main characters find piecies of themselves and the others as they are stuck at the Five-Hop One-Stop. There is a way in which these characters come together that makes you feel so incredibly attached to them. Except when they were dissing cheese. You cannot diss cheese, aliens.
Where books 2 and 3 differ a bit from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by plot and setting, this book 4 retains the same feeling as the first book. While it is always about the characters with Becky Chambers, it is most prominent in book 1 and book 4 of this series. The backdrop of being stuck in one place with one another, where one has to deal with the negative and the positive of each person (and even judgemental views) creates a great way to dive into these characters. How can you come from such different places and still come together? The host who has turned her back on her own species to teach her son how to live within a multispecies galaxy, the rule following soldier who is breaking a cultural rule, one part of a twin who has to deal with all the stares as her species is so widely judged without being known, and one exile who is desperate to make his appointment.
So yes The Galaxy, and the Ground Within is another spectacular read. Not for the plot but for the characters that find each other.