Title: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
Author: Becky Chambers
Published: July 2016, Harper Voyager
Blurb: 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.
I honestly don’t even know how to write this review, because I loved this book that fucking much.
I’d heard so many good things about it and it seemed to have some of my favorite tropes involved: found family and misfits coming together, only this time, it was in space (as opposed to the fantasy setting I’m used to seeing this trope in). It also had been claimed to be a feel good, fun story to read–and, if I ever needed to find a story that fit that description, it’s during a global pandemic.
Oh, friends. This book delivered so much more than what was promised.
I can’t describe how much I loved this book. It might be one of my favorite books of all time. It definitely made me feel good. It was so much fun to read. It was a wonderful example of the found family, misfit group trope and made me not only want to read more of it, but include that in one of my future novels.
But it was also so much more than that.
It was gloriously diverse and so naturally so as to be refreshing; the kind of book that makes reading books with less diversity feel boring, dull and outdated, in comparison. It had a wide range of characters who I adored and just want to read all of their adventures. It showed me how to masterfully pull off multiple POVs, yet making each of them incredibility distinct and purposeful. It did an incredible job with it’s worldbuilding. It gave me comfort, as a writer, that you can have a slower build-up to the climax of a story, yet still write an incredibly enchanting and engaging narrative.
And it did something I’m not used to seeing, where it continually set up moments of tension and I’d go, “Okay, now this is the part where it all goes down hill and it loses this fun, adventure feel that I am LIVING for right now and destroys my heart. This is it.” And then, it wouldn’t be. It’d be resolved and we’d continue on our way, learning about a new culture, laughing at new jokes and interactions, becoming enamored by new characters and places all over again.
That is, until the end.
At that point, I was sitting downstairs at my kitchen table, crying into my blueberry muffin I was having for breakfast. I can’t remember the last book where I truly, properly cried, but this book? Yeah, it was more than just a single tear.
It was incredible, deserving to be an entirely different tier, all on it’s own. I loved this book and immediately bought the next two–something I never do, especially considering we’re not exactly in a wonderful financial situation, at the moment. I just loved everything about this so much and I’m so excited to continue reading. And you’d better believe I’ll read anything that Chambers writes, going forward, without hesitation.