Published: August 13, 2015
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Wayfarers #1
Pages: 404 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
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.
Can I just say that this book was shockingly awesome? It really was. Since its release in 2015 I’ve seen lots of buzz and mostly favorable reviews so I decided it was high time to check it out for myself. I decided to pick up the audio version, which had great narration and is definitely worth checking out if you’re also an audiobook listener.
The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet is a wild, fun, character driven sci-fi roadtrip. The crew of the Wayfarer is vibrant and kind, plus it’s a multi-species crew which means ample opportunity to learn about the different alien (and human) cultures. Kizzy, the zany mechanic, was one of my most favorite characters. She always had a snack in hand and her tight friendship with Jenks was great. Doctor Chef came in at a near tie for Kizzy, because who couldn’t love a giant caterpillar-esque person that loved all things cuisine and served as ship’s doctor too?
The plot of the story, though not so thoroughly detailed as the characters, was engaging as well. The Wayfarer is a ship outfitted to punch holes in space, which means shorter travel time between distant planets. The Wayfarer has recently picked up a new crewmember and has a brand new job lined up that could mean moving into a whole new league once complete. This job means going into the potential hostile territory of the Tauremi, an alien species that has interest in joining a sort of space confederation. This is exciting, but it’s not the endpoint but the journey here that’s important. There are tons of pit stops- family visits, part pick-ups, rescues, and rendezvous- and each is a brand new adventure.
The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet was a tremendously fun read that provided a little something for everyone. The characters were lovable, the action was memorable, and best of all it had a great ending. You can leave this as a standalone or continue on with A Closed and Common Orbit, which features a few familiar characters, but from the synopsis it seems to branch off in a different direction. I look forward to reading more from Becky Chambers in the future!