Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.
But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.
Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.
Thoughts : I just turned off the audiobook (when I say just I mean last night) and I can’t express how much I want to go out and buy the physical book as well. Granted, the audio book was absolutely lovely but I still feel like I somehow don’t own a real book. I feel like I’ve purchased a print of an art piece instead of the actual art. And I want the actual art.
So let me give you a small outline, Humanity has sort of destroyed their planet (no surprises there) and have, after nomading and wandering, joined the GC (Galactic Commons) and are now part of the huge wonderland that is the actual universe. Now there is a sort of unity in diversity among the different races, species and planets and people are just a small percentage of them. Forgive me if my spellings are wrong since I did listen to the audiobook, but we start with the arrival of Rosemary who is hiding from her previous life and has paid through the nose to start a new one for herself. Captain Ashby (the captain of the wayfarer) has accepted her based on her remarkable recommendations and she is on her way to start life as a tunneler. Got it? Not let’s get on with my rave review.
The audiobook was narrated by Patricia Rodreguez, the sample online doesn’t do this woman justice so i suggest trying it out from audible (if you don’t like it you can return it) and seeing for yourself what a wonderful job she’s done. I didn’t really like Kizzy’s voice though, but then it’s not like we like every voice we hear in real life.
Becky Chambers has created a complex yet easy to understand world and build up each species in a way that you can perfectly imagine them. The characters are diverse and NOT for the sake of being diverse but because the world is finally accepting (almost). We have Humans, Andresks, Grums, Sentient A.Is and a whole bunch of others that I’m not even going to try to spell. The characters aren’t all straight and that is a refreshing change. There are characters who switch sexes in the middle of their lives, cojoined twins sort of species that are called pairs(?), bisexuals and inter species sexuals. I can’t even talk about how wonderfully enriching the reading (listening) experience was for me. The “Look I’m writing diversely” aspect wasn’t thrust in your face like authors who write diversity for the sake of sales. It was so beautifully done, so classy. I can’t stop gushing.
I know I sound like a blithering idiot. So let me talk about why you should read this. I
- It is the best debut I’ve read so far and in a genre i normally stay away from.
- If you want something more than boring middle aged Caucasian men as characters you will adore this book.
- If you like books that showcase possibilities and are about love and friendship and overcoming most odds you will love this book.
- If you like forbidden romances you will love this book.
- If you like fun and mixed characters you will love this book.
- If you don’t like reading books, you will still love this book.
Becky Chambers has made me fall for SciFi and I think I’ll continue with her next book, physical copy this time, whenever it releases in India. I know I’ve blabbered on a bit so I suggest reading these reviews from TheBookSatchel and my favourite Booksandpieces (I got this based on her recommendation) if you want a more coherent review.