The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Book Review

 


The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Space Opera

Book Series: Wayfarers #1

Released: 8/18/15 by Harper Voyager

Pages: 467  Price: $15.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book:  The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers)

Source: I borrowed this book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A rollicking space adventure with a lot of heart
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The patched-up ship has seen better days, but it offers her everything she could possibly want: a spot to call home, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and some distance from her past.
And nothing could be further from what she’s known than the crew of the Wayfarer.
From Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the chatty engineers who keep the ship running, to the noble captain Ashby, life aboard is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. That is until the crew is offered the job of a lifetime tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet. Sure, they’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years, but risking her life wasn’t part of the job description.
The journey through the galaxy is full of excitement, adventure, and mishaps for the Wayfarer team. And along the way, Rosemary comes to realize that a crew is a family, and that family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe… as long as you actually like them.

My Review:

Let me start off by saying this book is awesome.  It is also so what I needed in my life right now reading-wise.  This was the exact sort of book I was looking for.  A science fiction character-driven novel with subtle social commentary.  Ahhh, like putting on a warm fuzzy sweater on a chilly morning.

There is was so much that was great about this book that I’m not quite sure where to begin.  I want to share it all with you, spoiler free, of course.  Let’s start with what I enjoyed most about this story.  The characters.  Hands down the diversity and personality of characters in this book were out of this world (ha, ha, space pun). We have a bit of everything in this book same-sex relationships, aliens that are not carbon copies of humans, the excentric off-the-wall-wondering-if-she-is-crazy-but-want-them-as-your-BFF character, the sour-puss, and so much more.  The diversity of character and species is reason enough to read this book.  I loved them all and enjoyed getting to know them and their backgrounds.

The next aspect of this story that worked for me is that it was a space opera.  If you are looking for a dry technical heavily political serious piece look elsewhere, however.  While this is a space opera science fiction is much more a character-driven story.  We get some science but nothing too technical.  It felt a bit like an extended Star Trek mission but better.  The species and space had more diversity and didn’t feel like they were all based on humanity and Earth only tweaked.  The author did an excellent job of putting thought into creating these new worlds and cultures.  You can also tell she worked hard to make them feel authentic too.

Then there is the subtle social commentary.  Oh, how I love a book that makes us take a good hard look at our society and question just what the hell are we doing.  Why do we have the problems, political and social, that we have?  Most of all I love a story that shows us another way.

This was a fantastic story, not about a crew on the ship Wayfarer but about a family.  A group of vastly different ‘people’ that came together and built a family.  Where everyone has their role and are needed to be complete.  I absolutely loved this story!

My Rating: 5 Stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Diversity

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

 

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular blog meme, Top Ten Tuesday.  This week they ask us to share lists on:

July 21: Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters (example: features minority/religious minority, socioeconomic diversity, disabled MC,  neurotypical character, LGBTQ etc etc.)

 

This week’s list is being typed up with two bandaged fingers so I am not responsible for typos…  Damn newly sharpened knives.  Anyway.  This week I wasn’t sure I could pull off a list, and I am going to cheat a bit and include some non-fiction books, I was pleased to discover that I do upon occasion venture into books that promote diversity in one way or another.  Actually I think the paranormal and sci-fi genres do a pretty good job of including characters that are different from societal norms; you after all writing about different species or characters set in strange settings already.  To be honest though I usually don’t notice if a character’s ethnicity or cultural background when reading a story, unless of course the author feels the need to beat the reader over the head with it…  I do support diversity in characters though, and feel there should be more of them, after all we all want to be able to read about characters that we can identify with.

Ten books I’ve read that helped to expand my horizons.

  1. Into the Void (Star Trek: New Frontier, #2)  Star Trek has long been known for its support and portrayal of diverse characters, it was Roddenberry’s goal to show us a world where we had left behind all the problems society is currently facing.  In this series  I was surprised and intrigued to find my first gender neutral or combined character, Burgoyne 172.  I’m not sure exactly all the details yet, s/he has just been introduced in book two.
  2. Angel Bait (Angel Assassins, #0.5)  This paranormal author has done an excellent job of giving readers a diverse cast of characters in her world.  She also does it flawlessly. Natural and not like she is trying to force the issue.  She just gives us a paranormal romance that features characters of all sorts of different ethic backgrounds rather than just one token ethnic character.
  3. The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1)  This is a fun series or duo of reads.  The main character has a form of Autism and is a great example of how someone with a disorder may approach life differently, but in the end isn’t that different from you or I in our needs and wants.
  4. Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11)  This is another series that does a nice job of featuring a cast of characters that revel in their diversity.  She doesn’t sugar coat anything though.  Take this book for example, Ms. Ward shows us the struggle it can be to live differently from those around us.  This is also the first book I’ve read featuring a gay relationship, something I should probably do more of.
  5. Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1) Ms. Ward gets two spots on this week’s list as the first book in this series features a lead character that is physically handicapped.  Wrath is known as the Blind King, and we get to see his struggles throughout the series as he comes to terms with that and finds a way to overcome and adjust to limitations.
  6. Genesis  This book was an interesting look at artificial intelligence and society.
  7. A Thousand Splendid Suns  This book is not my favorite by this author.  None of his books are happy reads, but they do an excellent job of showing Westerners what it is like to live in a strict Islamic society.
  8. The Bastard of Istanbul  This book deals with a sensitive topic for most Turks, Armenian Genocide.  It also deals with other sensitive topics, rape and incest, but it has been a long time since I’ve read it to go much deeper than that.  I applaud the author for writing a book dealing with a topic that is so heavily disputed in her society.  It is the artists among us that hold up a mirror to show society what it truly is or could be.
  9. Same Soul, Many Bodies: Discover the Healing Power of Future Lives through Progression Therapy  Now to my two non-fiction selections.  I picked this book because it deals with the topic of reincarnation.  Something that I personally believe in, but tends to go against most people’s ideas of what happens after we die.
  10. Two Is Enough: A Couple's Guide to Living Childless by Choice I’m child-free by choice.  A choice that is often NOT represented in romance books.  It is also a choice that is questioned and criticized quite often by people whose business is none of.  I wish there were more characters in fiction that represented my choice to not have children, but the books featuring characters like that are often hard to find. (Hint: please suggest titles in comments if you know of them)

 

There you have my list this week.  I look forward to seeing what titles you all pick for your lists.