Hello, people of the internet!
One of my holiday reads was this book. I was particularly excited about reading this because I have been after a story set in space for a long time. I thought the cover was amazing and it always holds my attention whenever I look at it.
But did the story hold my attention like the cover did?
Don’t worry – I won’t be discussing spoilers, so it’s safe to proceed!
Title: The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet
Author: Becky Chambers
Publication date: 31st December 2015
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.
But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptilian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants.
Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years…if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.
But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.
The first thing I want to point out about this book is that it isn’t entirely action packed – there’s a lot of talking about how this universe works, its different alien species, how they live and interact with other species, etc. If you’re after a book with a lot of action and suspense, I don’t think this book will be for you. However, if you’re like me and you adore stories that explore characterisation and world-building, then this book will keep your attention.
I simply adore these characters. I think they’re well thought out and developed enough to really get a grip onto what their personalities, hopes and fears are. I will admit that some of the descriptions of the alien species were difficult to visualise at first and I had to reread a few sections to fully imagine what these aliens look like. Whether or not these descriptions are original, I can’t say because I don’t read a lot of science fiction with space travel and aliens in it. But what really makes these characters stand out is the fact that they stand out (get it? haha). I was worried that because there would be a lot of characters and descriptions that I would be confused as to who was who or, even worse, are so underdeveloped that it would be hard to tell them apart. But I didn’t have that problem with The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet. I remember each character and their backstories and cultures. They were funny, serious, sweet, scary and endearing!
To be honest, I didn’t expect so many social issues to be addressed in this book. I did expect some racial tension between the different alien species, but the book also addresses ethical issues, such as what counts as someone being alive, different sexualities, different family upbringings, etc. I was surprised how many times I thought about real life issues when I was reading this book. There is even a disorder reminiscent to autism in one scene, which I didn’t expect at all!
Even though there were some incredibly tense scenes, I would have liked more action to speed up the pace. There is a lot of talking, characters’ secrets being revealed (some weren’t that shocking, but others were) and planets being visited. And with all the talking is the explanation of space travel – there were times when I lost track of what was being said and was like, “…you what?”, and I had to reread, but thanks to the lovable characters talking about how it all works, it didn’t take long for me to get back on track.
I am still very happy with the book itself. To have such a character driven book, it can easily be boring if done incorrectly – which definitely didn’t happen for me with this book! Let me tell you, I’m definitely getting my hands on the sequel!
I will give The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet 4 stars out of 5. I can’t wait to see these characters again in the sequel!
Thank you for reading!
I LOVE SPACE!!!