A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Summary:
It’s been centuries since the robots of Earth gained self-awareness and laid down their tools.
Centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again.
Centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.
One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.
But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They’re going to need to ask it a lot.
Becky Chambers’ new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for an early copy of this book, here is my honest review. A Psalm for the Wild-Built follows a tea monk, Sibling Dex, who is traveling through Panga to all the towns and villages. Tea monks are there to lend an ear, to be a comfort to people. I loved the concept of this world. Years and years ago, robots gained consciousness and left the world of humans. They decided they wanted to go live in nature, not to be disturbed, and that’s what they did. Many people in the present time think of robots as more legend than actual history. This is also a super diverse world. The monks are referred to as Brother, Sister, and Sibling depending on whether they are male, female or non-binary. The monk we follow, Dex, is non-binary. Dex changed careers early in the story. We see them work really hard to be an excellent tea monk and they really succeed. But being a tea monk doesn’t make them happy. So, in pursuit to feel better, Dex goes on a journey to find a lost monastery in hopes that it will give them the feeling of satisfaction that they’re craving. But as they start their journey, Dex is met by Mosscap, a robot. The two end up traveling together to the monastery and learning about one another on the journey.
I loved this book. I loved Sibling Dex. I adored Mosscap. I loved everything about it. The concept of robots fleeing the human world to live free in the woods is such an excellent one. I loved learning about how the robots have been living since leaving. Mosscap always had the most insightful things to say. I loved all of the wisdom it shared with Dex. Dex was a compelling character too. They are doing something they’re really good at, and yet, they’re still not satisfied with their life. I totally relate to this and I loved following Dex’s emotional journey.
Overall, this was a beautiful slice of life story that followed two characters that will hold a place in my heart for a long time. I absolutely cannot wait for the second book in the series and I hope that we will get more from this series. I definitely recommend this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers

Summary:
With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.
At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through.
When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers—all different species with different aims—are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio—an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes—are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other.

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within (Wayfarers, #4)

Review:
I received The Galaxy, and the Ground Within from NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review. I have loved all three of the previous installments of the Wayfarer series. This one was no different. I think The Galaxy, and the Ground Within was more of a slice of life story that the previous three books and I actually really enjoyed that.
The story follows five characters, Speaker, Pei, Roveg, and Ouloo and her child, Tupo. They are all different species. I had a bit of a hard time picturing what they each looked like. But I really liked each of their stories. I really enjoyed them spending time together and learning more about each other’s cultures and lives. I thought there were some really fascinating conversations. The dynamics of the characters and their lack of any kind of relationship is what made this book so good. Five strangers are stuck on Gora, their travel plans delayed when technology fails and communication and travel becomes impossible. So, they hunker down together.
Ouloo and Tupo are the owners of the Five-Hop and they do their best to keep the guests happy. I really liked learning about the Laru species. I think Ouloo was my favorite of the characters. She just wants to create a space that will accommodate the many different species of the galaxy. I think the Five-Hop was a place I would absolutely love to visit.
Then there’s Pei, who we sort of know from a previous book. She’s dating Ashby, who we know from a previous book. She’s dealing with a lot of emotions because she is keeping the secret of her romance with Ashby. Then, her shimmer starts. She needs to find a male of her species or she will likely never have another chance to have a child. But she’s not sure she even wants a child.
Roveg’s story was an interesting one. He’s exiled from his homeworld. While he doesn’t regret what he did to get exiled, he does regret being away from his family. He has a very important appointment that he needs to make. And all of the delays on Gora might just cause him to miss this appointment. I really enjoyed learning about the Quelin culture from someone that doesn’t agree with most of it, but also still values bits and pieces.
Then there’s Speaker. Speaker is an Akarak. This is an alien species that little is known of. I thought it was really interesting seeing Roveg take the time to learn about the Akarak history and develop a friendship. I think Speaker was a fascinating character. She’s outside of what we already know from this series and getting to learn about her species and their struggles was one of the more interesting aspects of this book.
Overall, I really enjoyed the slice of life aspect of the book. I think the development of the relationships was really well done. I think it was a slow and enjoyable progression. As always, this book was diverse and unique with the pronouns of the different species and I really appreciate that aspect of this series. I thought this book was a compelling depiction of people with differing lives and differing opinions coming together in an unavoidable way. I would absolutely recommend this book and this series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

Summary:
Hundreds of years ago, the last humans left Earth. After centuries wandering empty space, humanity was welcomes—mostly—by the species that govern the Milky Way, and their generational journey came to an end.
But this is old history. Today the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who have not yet left for alien cities struggle to find their way in an uncertain future. Among them are a mother, a young apprentice, an alien academic, a caretaker for the dead, a man searching for a place to belong, and an archivist, who ensures no one’s story is forgotten. Each has their own voice, but all seek answers to inescapable questions:
Why remain among the stars when there are habitable worlds within reach? And what is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?
Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, #3)Review:
I’ve been living for science fiction lately. This series has been so fun to read these past few months. Check out my review for the first book here and the second HERE. I hadn’t heard of this series until the BookTube SFF Awards but I’m glad to have found them because they’re so fun and interesting and I don’t know why people don’t talk more about this series.
Record of a Spaceborn Few follows a handful of characters that all live on the Exodus. I thought it was so interesting to finally get a view into the spacecraft that has been vaguely talked about in the previous books. I thought it was fascinating to learn about the culture and the day to day life within the Exodus. I loved learning about the different characters. There was one character that was a visiting alien and was learning about life on the Exodus and I adored them. They asked such good questions and I appreciated it.
The characters are the life of this book. We follow a few different perspectives which was a little annoying at first because it didn’t seem like they were going to come together. They did eventually, but not in the way I expected.
One of my favorite things about this series is the diversity. This book (and the previous two) have such a variety of characters that’s done in such a unique way. The author has come up with gender neutral pronouns. There are so many sexualities and species and genders and species. This series is probably the most diverse that I’ve ever read and I love every part of it.
Overall, I don’t think I liked this book as much as the first two, but I still really enjoyed it. I’d recommend this book to anyone that loves character driven stories because this series has minimal plot and focuses mainly on the characters and their development.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

GoodReads Summary:
Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.
Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for – and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.
A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers’ beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.
A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2)Review:
Who knew that I loved character-based stories so much? Becky Chambers did apparently. This is a story that has minimal plot, but I still found that I just couldn’t put it down. I read more than half of it in one sitting last night because I was so invested in these characters.

“It’s not comfortable realizing you’ve been wrong about something, but I suppose it’s a good thing to do from time to time.”

The world that Chambers has created is so interesting and compelling that I don’t care that nothing is happening. I just want to learn more about the worked and the characters. We get such an interesting view into the minds of these characters that I just come to adore them so much.

“Just because someone goes away doesn’t mean you stop loving them.”

The first character is Lovelace. She’s an AI that has found herself in an illegal body kit. I thought she was so interesting. Her struggle of not fitting into her body and finding her purpose. I really liked seeing the world through her eyes because she was new and learning and had this insatiable curiosity. She brings a new perspective into the conversation about AI rights and how they qualify at “people.”

“All the things made better for some people. Nobody has ever figured out how to make things better for everybody.

Then there’s Pepper who was honestly fascinating. I feel like I didn’t get to learn enough about her though we followed most of her life. I would have liked to have gotten more insight into the planet she came from and why that planet was the way it was. I didn’t quite understand what was going on with ‘The Enhanced.’ I think maybe it was explained in the previous book, but this was marketed as a stand-alone sequel so I think it should have been better explained. Aside from that, I really was fascinated by Pepper’s childhood and her relationship with Owl. I loved her chapters.

“Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we’re doing here. So, the easiest way to stare reality inn the face and not utterly lose your shit is to belive that you have control over it.”

Overall, I will definitively be reading the next book in this series. I cannot wait to get back to the Wayfarer Crew. This is not a book for plot-driven​ readers. This book has little to no plot and I loved every page of it. Get ready for a deep dive into these characters brains. I loved the diversity and acceptance in these books. There is all kinds ofgender-neutral​l pronouns and an emphasis on making sure to use the correct pronoun. There’s such a diverse cast of characters (gender, sexuality, and species) I think this series is doing great things and having all the right conversations.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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

GoodReads Summary:
Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.
Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.
Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)Review:
I borrowed this book from my library because I’m trying to read all of the books nominated for the BookTube SFF Awards hosted by a handful of people (check it out here). I love science fiction but have realized that I don’t read enough of it. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers was not what I expected at all. I thought I was going to get an action-packed space adventure, but really, I got a story about a found family. This story tells of a group of people that are so completely different from one another, but somehow still manage to be all the right pieces. I was not expecting such a character-driven story, but it was a pleasant surprise.

“It was hard  to feel weird in a place where everybody was weird.”

The plot took a back seat to the characters and world-building of this book. It was there, it just wasn’t the highlight. It was interesting and political and I’m excited to see if/what part it plays in the next book. I thought it was incredibly interesting how Chambers brought the world building and plot together. We’re reading about all of the different alien species and the worlds they come from all while working toward the climax of the story with an alien species that is mostly unknown to the rest of the universe.

“We cannot blame ourselves for the wars our parents start. Sometimes the very best thing we can do is walk away.”

The bread and butter of the story were the characters. They really were the best part of the story. We first meet Rosemary who is the most relatable, she’s a human from Mars. Running from her past, she joins a tunneling crew that travels all over space. We see the story mostly through her eyes which was a great choice because she’s so new to space travel, so the other characters were constantly explaining and teaching her about the cultures of the other crew members. Rosemary was naive but learned quickly and was good at her job. Then there’s Sissex, the navigator. She was the more interesting of the aliens. Learning about her species and culture was my favorite. She was just full of love and friendship. She made my heart warm. Kizzy and Jenks were the techs. They kept the ship running. Kizzy was interesting and entertaining. She was full of nonsense and silliness. She made me smile and laugh. Her relationship with Jenks was the best. They are a great example of found families. He’s the brother she always wanted and that was so clear. Ashby is our fearless captain. He’s smart and a great leader. He was complex and a little mysterious. I wish we learned a bit more about him. It was clear he was loyal and really cared about his crew. Dr. Chef was probably the most interesting to me. The most difficult to picture, but also the one I want to meet the most. He’s so full of wisdom and love and all the good things. He looks out for everyone and just wants to enjoy life. That brings us to Corbin, the opposite of Dr. Chef. The crew member that’s mean and grumpy and is just there to do his job and not make any friends. I think he had the best character development. I didn’t hate him by the end of the book. Finally, Ohan. He was intrigued but also strange. I thought his whole culture was fascinating. I hope he gets his own book later on.

“Feelings are relative. And at the root, they’re all the same, even if they grow from different experiences and exist on different scales.”

I also have to mention the things this book discusses. I’m not sure if it was intentional or if I’m seeing it because of the amount that diversity is talked about and brought to the forefront. But this book has so many metaphors for diversity. With the alien races, relationships and all of that I think it really brings good conversations to the table. There are some interspecies relationships, some female/female relationships, characters with gender-neutral pronouns. I think this story talks about relationships and racism and how everyone should just love one another in all the right ways.

“I never thought of fear as something that can go away. It just is. It reminds me that I want to stay alive. That doesn’t strike me as a bad thing.”

I really cannot explain why or how much I enjoyed this story. The found-family, the world building, the politics, in space. It’s everything I could have ever wanted and didn’t even know it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.