TITLE: The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet
AUTHOR: Becky Chambers
SERIES: Wayfarers (#1)
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBT+, Space Opera
RATING: 5/5 Stars
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.
What I Liked:
- Let's talk about my absolute favourite part of this book - the characters. This was very much a character-driven novel, focusing on relationships and interaction more than anything else. Chambers really delivers on this front, and I completely fell in love with the entire crew of The Wayfarer and their complexities. Each one had their own culture, motives and well-crafted personalities and they were all given a 'turn' to have the spotlight for a while.
- My other favourite part of this book? The rich world-building. Chambers has put so much into this novel and I can only begin to imagine the amount of fore-planning that went into this universe. I loved the intricate details of each culture and planet and species that the Wayfarer encountered, but the fantastical setting touched upon a lot of real-world themes too. So clever!
What I Disliked:
- I can honestly say that I didn't dislike anything about this book, but there a couple of points I should mention to potential readers. Firstly, there isn't a whole lot of plot. The book is set over a 'standard' (longer than a human year) and it's mostly just the crew heading to a 'final destination' and stopping to supply along the way. For me, this was not a problem at all because I was more fascinated by the characters, but if you love action-driven space operas then consider that when reading this. Secondly, the world-building is elaborate. And in this first book, that requires a lot of exposition, information and explanation. At odd moments it can feel a little tedious, but it didn't bother me too much.
This book was so wonderful, and a great read to really motivate me in a long January. I loved the epic scale of the world-building, the amount of imagination and planning that went into it, the gorgeous, diverse characters and the inclusive, familial nature of The Wayfarer's crew. Level-headed Captain Ashby, hilarious technicians Jenks and Kizzy, fiery Sissix, aloof Ohan, grumpy Corbin, the caring AI Lovelace, nurturing Dr Chef and well-meaning newbie Rosemary will all capture your hearts and each have a story to tell and lessons to learn. This is definitely a series going high on my to-finish priority list!