The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

By: Becky Chambers

The Wayfarer is a modest space-tunneling vessel contracted for the dangerous purpose of creating gateways between distant planets. The ragtag human/alien crew has always been content to take the less challenging and less lucrative work of Level 1 jobs. However, when Captain Ashby Santoso makes the decision to bring in Rosemary, a trained clerk, they become open to an opportunity that could change all future prospects.

The only problem is that the new job will force them into the territory of the hostile and violent Toremi Ka, a warring species widely mistrusted in the galactic government. While on their flight through deep space, the crew must manage internal struggles with outside threats or risk perishing in the black void where no one would have time to save them.

I went into this book not really in the mood for science fiction. As you may have noticed, I’ve been riding that Stephen King train pretty hard lately, but I decided it would probably be good for me to read something light rather than continue on the grim path forever.

I was hoping The Long Way would be a decent story and a book I could at least give 4 stars. That’s usually my hope for a book: to be more than mediocre. However, I am ecstatic to say that this book blew my expectations out of the water.

This novel is a truly fun read. This is the kind of book that didn’t make me tired when I sat down for a binge session. It emotionally boosted me and raised my spirits, and I fell head-over-heels in love with the characters. Becky Chamber’s debut novel is a work of art, and I am so excited to have found another beloved author. I’m even more excited to have found a female science fiction writer who stole the spotlight with her works and made a name for herself. That gives me life and hope beyond measure.

It’s true that some of the reveals in the story were predictable and didn’t always have a huge impact, but I wasn’t staying for some big reveal. I stayed for the connections and relationships between the crewmembers. They felt so alive and real to me. Each distinct in his/her/their own special way and true to themselves always. I loved their hearts, minds, and spirits. They were well fleshed out and behaved like people. It was truly refreshing, and they meant so much to me.

Each chapter is like starting a separate mini-story that either focuses on a problem caused by the outside galaxy or revolved around one of the crewmember’s lives. Readers get to learn about everyone and see plot points from different perspectives. All the personalities are unique and the alien races are so detailed with distinct cultures and appearances that I felt like I was reading a Mass Effect game script. If you have been following me for a while, then you know how I feel about Mass Effect and I don’t need to say anymore. If you haven’t, just know it’s in my Top 2 favorite fictional universes.

I now have a Top 3 and that blows my mind.

I went on a mad hunt like none other I’ve ever gone on to try to find the second book in this series. I went to the library, I called different bookstores, and I physically went to my local B&N only to discover that there were 35 copies scattered across the US between all of the B&N locations. There wasn’t a single copy for sales in Indiana. Incredible. Sadly I had to turn to Amazon, and the book finally arrived today. I postponed finishing the first novel because I was afraid of the depression that would come from having to (not so) patiently wait to get my hands on A Closed and Common Orbit. I now have all 3 books in the Wayfarer Trilogy. I can’t wait to read them.

You may also note if you have been here before that I don’t always read books in order. Most of the time, I take breaks in between series in favor of reading something else that’s a different genre or has a different tone. I have decided to read all three books in this trilogy back-to-back because I need to know what happens.

I want to revel in this universe a little while longer.

Overall Rating 5 stars

PS: Sissix is my favorite character but Dr. Chef is a very close second.

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