Monday, June 25, 2018

#BeattheBacklist Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
(Wayfarers #1)
Becky Chambers
Release: August 18, 2015
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Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

THIS BOOK! THIS BOOK, GUYS! I can't proclaim my love for it enough. It's an amazingly diverse, slice-of-life science fiction book about found family, friendship, and figuring out what you stand for. It is tied with The Martian as my favorite sci-fi book of all time which is some high praise coming from me.

This story focuses on the personal conflicts and relationships of the crew while having the larger narrative literally span the galaxy with the journey they make to build a space tunnel between a new species in the galactic alliance and the core planets. Life on the Wayfarer isn't all rainbows and sunshine but the narrative keeps this kind of positive and life-affirming tone throughout the book which is quite impressive when you think about it.  

The story has kind of a light overarching plot and is more like a mini series with each chapter focusing on one little story or setting. I loved it so much that that didn't bother me one bit. Each chapter usually focuses on one or two characters and always comes to satisfying conclusion while adding bits and pieces to the overall narrative. There's very little drama between the characters and I found it immensely enjoyable to read about a found family who are supportive and there for each other.

The characters are what made this book for me. I adored the whole crew including standoffish Ohan and Corbin, the socially awkward asshole scientist. I could read dozens of books about this crew! Kizzy and Jenks (as well as Ashby and Sissix) are friendship goals! Lovey is a sweetheart! Dr. Chef is like the hug six-handed uncle that I want to make me tea and be mothered by! I want to be best friends with Rosemary! I even want to see Corbin cultivating his algae! Also, I need to be best friends with Sissix. Someone just teleport me to the Wayfarer and let me be best friends with all of them!

What I loved the most about this book besides the character is that there's diversity. Like real true diversity among both the humans and among the alien species. The worldbuilding is absolutely fantastic! The aliens are actually alien with quirks and habits and unique needs and not just some kind of pseudo-humans with blue skin or tentacles. Becky Chambers is seriously a master at developing the known universe in this book both physically and culturally. I loved every odd custom, every strange alien appearance, and every idea, thought, and practice that humans considered weird and abnormal/culturally different about each species. There are mishaps and adventures galore and I loved every minute of it!

If you haven't read this book, you need to go fix that now! It's written by a queer woman and stars openly queer characters which makes it a fantastic book to read during Pride Month. Seriously, go get the ebook or borrow it from the library or a friend. You won't regret it. I promise!

Audiobook Note: The audiobook of this book is excellent! I highly recommend it if audiobooks are your thing!

  5 / 5 Stars

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