The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet
Author: Becky Chambers
Genre: Space Epic
Grade: B +
Rosemary is escaping her life when she signs on to be a clerk on the Wayfarer, a ship that punches holes through the galaxy so people can get where they need to go quicker. Near the start of her journey Ashby, Captain of the Ship, sees a chance to make a lot of money and a name for themselves when the government makes a treaty with a former enemy. A group of people who no one knows a great deal about except they generally fight with everyone.
I didn’t find that that part of the plot was a big deal. This is really more of a character journey. You don’t even see it completely through Rosemary’s eyes but every member of the crew gets their moment to shine. There’s Ashby along with two engineers Jenxs and Keezy, space pilot Sissix, unpleasant Corbin, Doctor Chef, Ohan (who is actually two- long story) and the AI Lovey.
Despite the jumping around and the side trips and meeting their families in some cases, friends and loved ones in the other I really enjoyed this. It moved quickly. All the characters were well-written they stood on their own in terms of personalities and voices. Jenx and Keezy were probably the closest but then they were meant to be.
There is some talk about alien sex, alien/human relations and in general wars and all the ways species can manage to kill themselves and each other. There’s even a bit about war profiteering and cloning. Because it’s so much nothing ever really goes to in-depth. It really felt like watching episodes of Firefly or Farscape like this ones going to be about this character, now this character and so on and so forth.
It’s weird to say but that took some getting used to as I’ve been reading a lot of main character type books recently. All the information and exposition on the world was a little tough to keep track of too but it’s the characters that count.
The good thing is that when you do get to the crux of the story toward the end I more than gave a damned about them.
Recommend: Yes. If you like a good character book that’s really more about the journey than the destination. I’m not sure if this is a series (which honestly is a good thing these days) but if there’s ever a second book it’s a world full of characters I would want to hang out with again.