Title: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date: 13 August 2015
Genre: Science fiction | Adult
Page count: 404 pages
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis: 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.
Oh my gosh I cannot even begin to put into words how much I adored this book and every single character in it. I didn’t think I could ever read another sci-fi book I loved as much as Do You Dream of Terra-Two, let alone read one just a few weeks later which is just as good, if not better.
I’m sure most of you reading this are probably already aware of Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series. Becky first self-published and was then picked up by a traditional publisher, with A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet being republished in 2015. This was another book I picked up during my time in the UK and since I’ve really been enjoying sci-fi recently, I definitely wanted something like this to pick me back up after finishing the not-so-lighthearted Rosewater.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet follows the spaceship Wayfarer, a tunnelling ship which travels space and ‘punches’ holes to create tunnels for other ships to travel along. ALWTOSAP is set in the future, after humans have had to leave Earth and take to the skies. As they travelled across the universe to find a place to live, they met other species living in the universe, joining the Galactic Commons.
The crew of the Wayfarer are a mixed-species group of indviduals who create ‘tunnels’ between one point in space and another, allowing for quick travel between two locations. The ship has been hired to go into a warzone to create a tunnel near a planet belonging to the newly-allied species, the Toremi. And so begins the journey.
Whilst there is action and twists and unbearbly heartbreaking scenes, what really shines in this book are the characters. I love each and every one of them, from Ashby, the human captain, to Rosemary, the young, inexperienced clerk escaping from her past on Mars, to Corbin, the grumpy and kind-of-a-jerk human who ended up being one of my favourites as you see him change and grow across the series. This crew is a family, and there is so much love for each other, and it is at no point clearer than when we see Corbin’s actions at the end of the novel. I did of course have my favourites – SISSIX. Oh I could talk about her for hours. She was such a beautifully written character, and as an Aandrisk, a reptilian-like species, it was so interesting to read about the different social interactions she had compared to the humans. It really broke my heart when it was revealed how much she hurt when she held herself back from interacting with the crew as she wanted to, for fear of alienating them with her different social behaviours. She was such a loving and caring character and she was my favourite from the very first time she’s introduced.
I was also a huge fan of Lovey, the ship’s AI, and their relationship with Jenks, one of the ships techs. Without giving too much away, it was very clear how much they meant to each other and it was so realistic to me, as I can really see this happening in the future once our current AI technology develops.
Seeing all the different species described was definitely a highlight for me, I loved hearing about Dr Chef and his homeworld, as well as seeing the Sianat Pairs. This book was just a brilliant mesh of characters and species and was such a heartwarming tale about how a group of hugely different individuals become a family. It was so much fun to read and I cannot wait to continue the series!
Rach + Draco
One thought on “Book review: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers”
[…] If The Library of the Unwritten is the most fun fantasy novel I’ve read, then The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is the most fun sci-fi I’ve ever read. This book follows the spaceship Wayfarer, a tunnelling ship which travels space and ‘punches’ holes to create tunnels for other ships to travel along. It’s set in the future, after humans have had to leave Earth and take to the skies. As they travelled across the universe to find a place to live, they met other species living in the universe, joining the Galactic Commons. The Wayfarer crew is therefore filled with different, unique alien species, similar to TV series like Star Trek. The characters really shine in this book, from Ashby, the human captain, to Rosemary, the young, inexperienced clerk escaping from her past on Mars, to Corbin, the grumpy and kind-of-a-jerk human who ended up being one of my favourites, to Sissix, an Aandrisk, a reptilian-like species with different social language compared to the humans. This book is just an absolute joy to read! You can read my full review here. […]