Thursday, August 9, 2018

#BeattheBacklist Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

A Closed and Common Orbit
(Wayfarers #2)
Becky Chambers
Release: October 20, 2016
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Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who's determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for - and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.

A Closed and Common Orbit
is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers' beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.

You all know how much I adored Becky Chambers' first book, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Her companion sequel, A Closed and Common Orbit, is just as amazing! It's set in the same universe as Long Way and follows directly after the events of that book. While this book is the second book in the series, it's a companion novel so you don't need to have read the first one to enjoy this one. It has a couple of shared characters, but it’s entirely a standalone. I do think that you'd get more out of it if you read Long Way first though.

When I sat down to read this book, I was a bit nervous. I loved the first book so much so I was so afraid that this sequel was going to let me down. But I loved this book just as much as the first one! It was so good but in a different way than Long Way was.

With Becky Chambers' books, I've found that I come for the space opera, but I keep reading for the characters in whatever form they take. And with each book we get to actively take part in conversations about important topics. For A Closed and Common Orbit that conversation is all about what it means to be a person, to be part of a family, and to have purpose. I loved how it touched on how being a "manufactured" person affects how one emerges as a person. I finished this awhile ago and haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

Just like the first book, this one has that same hopefulness and positivity that feels like a hug in book form and leaves you feeling strangely optimistic when you finish. That doesn't mean that there isn't any high stakes or conflict in this book. In fact, there is some disturbing stuff in here and all of the characters have some difficult things to deal with. But as harsh as the world Chamber's has created here can be, it's also filled with hope and kindness and compassion.

Becky Chambers is a master at developing her known universe both physically and culturally and it just continues to grow. I loved that we got to see more of Port Coriol in this book! While the worldbuilding is absolutely fantastic, what Chambers really excels at is writing characters. They all just fit the story. Each character feels fully realized and their relationships with the other characters feels true to life. Plus, she writes some truly excellent dialogue.

I loved learning more about the tech head, Pepper, and her struggles and how her experiences growing up contribute to her ability to help Lovelace as she navigates her new reality. Actually, I adored so many of the new characters in this book. I just want to keep Blue safe from everything! The diversity in this universe is so completely wonderful and is what makes this series stand out from the rest. The Wayfarers Verse shows us a universe in which empathy is the default expectation and where chauvinism is almost universally condemned, and it does so without ever being preachy or overbearing.

All in all I found this book to very uplifting. I can't even begin to tell you how happy this book made me. Add to that wonderful characters and a deeply engaging plot and it made a thoroughly enjoyable addition to the Wayfarer series. I just need you all to go and buy Becky's books so we can keep getting more stories set in this excellent universe!

Audiobook Note: I actually listened to this whole book on audio and it was amazing! The narrator does an excellent job! I'd highly recommend it if you're into audiobooks!

  5 / 5 Stars!

My reviews of other books in this series:
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

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