Review: The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet or an amazing new universe to explore!

Hello everybody! I hope you all are safe and good! Lately I am not really feeling like writing reviews, even if I have read some pretty good books. So today I would try my best to talk about at least one of them!

Title: The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet
Series: Wayfarers #1
Author: Becky Chambers
Page count: 518

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 was my first Becky Chambers’ book and I have to admit I was a bit scared because of the hype. I was expecting so much from this one, and it is not always good but… but I shouldn’t have feared! It was clear from the first pages that I was in for a treat, and the more I read the more I appreciate it all.

The main features of this book, for me, are a positive atmosphere, it is all quite good and sweet and there is optimism to go around, quite pleasant and refreshing. I may not want all of my reading to have it, but it was something I appreciated. And the episodic nature of the story.
Maddalena, in her review, compared this book to a TV Show and I think that she is absolutely right about it! Yes, we have a main plot, but for the most part, this is just an excuse to show us the universe the author creates for us, and to let us get acquainted with her characters. And even if, again, I won’t be expecting this from all the books (and usually it won’t be a really good thing) in this case it was interesting and enjoyable. Quite a lot.
The main plot is there to move us around, and it became relevant only in the last part of the book. But I have to say that even there it is not the strongest feature of this book. I wasn’t really so satisfied with the part about Lovey, to be honest, and I think that all was a tad rushed. So even when we finally see the main plot emerge and do, finally, its work, it is not really so satisfying. I am not saying that it was bad, but it wasn’t good either.

But I have to say that, all things considered, this was just a minor thing. I know it can sound strange, because usually if the plot is not relevant or not so good, it is a major thing. But sometimes we get to read books that pull this off. And I have read two of these books in a short amount of time (because Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente is like that too. It is really different from Chambers book, and the main plot has more weight in there, but not much more), so I count myself fortunate.
But if the main plot is not so important, what is there to keep you reading? Well, that’s easy! We have the most interesting and sweet crew ever, and an entire universe to explore.
Characters and world-building are the best! We have a sweet motley crew, with humans and aliens, and all of them are unique and lovable (ok, almost all of them!). My favorites were Sissix and Dr. Chef. Sissix because she is so full of life, and because her culture is extremely fascinating. And Dr. Chef because he is just a big cinnamon roll. You just have to love him! But Kizzy and Jenks are pretty amazing too, they are just so fun!! And Ashby is quite a good captain. He really cares for his crew, for every one of them. And he is not moved from revenge, or because he needs a lot of money fast. He is just a man who is quite satisfied with his life (sure, his life is not perfect, and he hopes for something more, but it is not an urging pulling him) that when discover a way to make more money for everyone and improve their work, he goes for it. I think that this was quite refreshing. He is just a normal person! And this is pretty unique.

But let’s not forget about the world-building. The author creates for us a lively and colorful universe to explore. She populates this new world with a ton of different races and cultures and societies and she lets us explore it at a leisurely pace. I loved how different and full of life this universe is. We see a lot of races, and I really mean a lot, and we see some different ways to communicate or to see life, family and other things. It was also a really inclusive world, and I loved it. It is not that there is no conflict, but it is not so important for the story. And you have the feeling that almost nothing bad could really happen.
To be honest bad things happen, too, and I had a bit of a hard time believe that they were possible, because it all seems peaceful out there. When we get to the part of the story concerning Corbin I was shocked by it, because, honestly, I wasn’t expecting it. At all. But it helps make this universe more real, even if it is in a sad way.

I really appreciated the ride, and I enjoyed my time with this book. It was an unique experience, and it is a book with a lot of surprise and things going on, even if we don’t have plots and twists. And now I just have to find the time to go on with this series!

And what about you? Have you read it? Or have you read other books by this author? Let me know!

Happy reading!
S.

27 thoughts on “Review: The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet or an amazing new universe to explore!

  1. maddalena@spaceandsorcery says:

    I’m so happy you enjoyed this one so much! There is always some kind of trepidation when you recommend a book to someone, hoping they will like it as much as you did… 🙂
    As for the “Lovey thread” I believe you will find more in the second book of the series: I have not read it yet but looking at the synopsis I saw that Lovey is front and center there, so it will be a change of scenery from this one.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. honestavocado says:

    The premise of this sounds fun! I’ll have to give it a try, that’s interesting comparing it to a TV show. Does each part of the book have it’s own little “mini-plot” or is there still a larger plot running through the entire thing?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lashaan Balasingam @ Bookidote says:

    I like the idea of exploring a world through an episodic adventure rather than just a story that goes from A to B! I’m glad to read another excellent review for this one. I’ll definitely have to make time for this one and finally see what Becky Chambers is all about. Thanks for sharing! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jeanne says:

    This is the first novel by Chambers I read, and now I’ve read everything she writes and love all of it. Her collection of related short stories, To Be Taught, If Fortunate, is one of her most fabulous ventures in fiction. I’m not sure if I think she’s such a great hand at titles; she seems to like the kind that make sense after you’ve read the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susy's Cozy World says:

      I am looking forward to her other works! I really hope to continue this series soon, and To Be Taught, If Fortunate is waiting its turn on my eReader! And I have to admit I love titles that makes sense after you have read them, even if they may not be the best to just catch the interest at first sight!

      Like

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