This book read like a TV series – and I loved it! The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended

Escaping secrets and horrors of her past, human Rosemary joins the crew of the Wayfarer, punching holes through space. But she’s not the only one with a secret or a back story – from the Captain’s illicit love affair with another species, the slug-like cook’s mourning for his species to the technician’s love for an AI system every crew member’s life is complex and unique. As we journey through space each crew member faces challenges and decisions that shake them to their core, exploring modes of relationship, love and friendship all the way.

From the title of this book I somehow expected it to be thoughtful and literary – but instead was pleasantly surprised to find myself in the middle of a book that read mostly like a novel of Firefly! The structure is almost episodic as we focus on the different characters stories and various incidents. We’re given worlds with new species, customs and cultures to explore, and our own bizarre but wonderful cast of characters to enjoy it with. Parts of the story were a bit too sex focussed for my liking so I may not re-read for that reason – but as a whole relationships and love and the different forms thereof were a theme, so it wasn’t completely gratuitous at least.

This book was really about the characters. The plot meandered, but we gradually got to know each of the characters through the story lines and their interactions with each other. And they were fantastic. Though at first bemused that Rosemary is not, as suggested, the main character as such, I soon jumped into exploring the weird and wonderful worlds of the different species presented.

I felt we were given the perfect amount of information on each character; enough to understand and care for them, but not an overload of species specific information. Each character was allowed to be an individual too. I found myself involved and interested in each story line – and sad when I had to say good bye to all the characters.

This did mean that the overall plot was not a gripping or compelling one – but again, once I’d worked that out (and it did take a while) I found that I didn’t mind. I was perfectly content to spend time with the crew in their various adventures.

And the light that the book cast on relationships and conventions was interesting too. The alien cultures and norms highlighted the way we do things – and called them not into question but into discussion, in a way I found interesting.

Overall, once I’d worked out what this book was going to be like, I really, really enjoyed it.

Thanks to Bookbridgr and Hodder and Stoughton, who sent me a copy of this book in order that I might write this honest review.

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