This may be my favorite science fiction book this year. It's that good. And it's only after repeatedly seeing positive reviews from bloggers I trust that I decided to get it. I mean, it has a nice cover but I have no idea what's it about, and it's got a weird title. And to be honest the plot is nothing to write home about. There's nothing wrong with it, but it's not super noteworthy either. The crew of the Wayfarer travel around the galaxy creating wormhole tunnels. That's it. They're pretty much working stiffs, not heroes, not fighting in a galactic rebellion or anything like that. They're just living their lives.
And that's the beauty of it. This is a book about a disparate crew- diversity is the rule here-living together and just trying to get through another day. The galaxy is populated with all manner of alien beings, and they mostly get along or at least coexist. This is a far future when interstellar travel is refreshingly common and people can enhance themselves with cybernetic implants, where imubots in your bloodstream keep you healthy from most things, and where the sky is the limit technology wise. And yet for all the tech, it still comes down to human beings- or in this case, beings (humanity is a relatively low tier member of the galactic community).
Becky Chambers has created a crew that have come to think of themselves as family- and as readers we get to tag along as they grow and change and live their lives aboard the Wayfarer. It's not a nice ship- it's cobbled together and a bit of a junker, really- but it's home for these people. The crew is a mixed species group- we start out with Rosemary, a girl from Mars who is running away from her secrets, but before long the perspective shifts to the other members of the crew, and Rosemary is just one of several. That surprised me a bit, I thought initially this was Rosemary's story- but it's the entire crews story, really. Standouts for me included Ashby, the captain of the ship, and Sissix, the reptilian pilot who steals a lot of scenes and seems to be a favorite among the reviewers I've talked to.
Chambers seems to effortlessly offer up tantalizing information about the galaxy, various races, background bits that make the story so rich. It's a very well realized setting, and there's just something about it- one reviewer said the story made them feel nostalgic for characters they had just met, or something to that effect, and I can see that. There's a family feel to the crew that just feels comfortable. There's not a lot of action here, but there is a lot of dialogue, character development and broadening of horizons as the crew all live together and learn more about each other.
There is an overarching plotline but along the way many of the chapters feel like vignettes, day in the life pieces, but through those we get to really know these characters- and by the end I was ready for a sequel so I could just keep reading! And the thing I like about SF is the sense of wonder- that's why I read SF. To imagine. With this book you get to imagine a lot.
This sounds like the author has done some wonderful worldbuilding and has some beautiful characterisation. Great review!ReplyDelete
It is great characterisation, I really enjoyed getting to know the characters. :)Delete
I loved this as well. Took me a while. Because I expected action and not much happens. As you said the plot is nothing to write home about. And so I started this with the wrong expectations... then it clicked and I fell in love. Great review, thank you for sharing :)ReplyDelete
I thought this was going to be all about Rosemary and her flight, and was surprised when she got onboard and the focus shifted to other characters! It worked for me though, she was just one of several with her own secrets and whatever.Delete
This sounds like a good character-driven novel with a great setting. And it looks like the author did a fantastic job with the characters. I think both my hubby and I would like it.ReplyDelete
It's great, so character- driven but at the same time space opera-ish enough that it doesn't get bogged down in hard scifi or anything like that. I would highly recommend!!!Delete
I completely agree, The Long Way...is one of my favourite sci-fi books this year too, despite its admittedly sort of ho-hum plot. Chambers does such a good job making her characters feel real, especially ones like Sissix and Ohan who're such unique characters (at least they are based on what I've read).ReplyDelete
I'll definitely be reading the second book soon!
Yeah it's probably my favorite this year.Delete
I don't read much scifi but this definitely has me interested. I have heard nothing but great things. Glad you enjoyed it too. Great review!ReplyDelete
It is really good, and if you're not a SF fan it still might be a decent read as the character stuff takes precedence over the tech and all that.Delete
I grabbed a copy of this earlier this year and keep meaning to read it. I know tons of people love it and I enjoyed reading your review. I know book 2 is out but I don't know if it's just in the UK (the first one released much earlier there) or if it's out in the US as well. Either way, I need to get a copy!ReplyDelete
I can't wait to see what you think of it when you get to it! It's a book you want to discuss lol. And yes I think book 2 is out, I plan on getting is this weekend. Book 3 is next year I believe...Delete
I'm reading the sequel now and I'm enjoying it a lot. I liked this first book too, but I have to say I struggled a little with the ensemble cast format/vignette format; I prefer when things a little more focused.ReplyDelete
~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum
I can't wait to get into the sequel. I understand it's different characters (or Lovey and Peppers I guess) but I'm looking forward to it.Delete
I still haven't read this but saw it everywhere during scifi month. So I definitely need to add this one soon!ReplyDelete
I highly recommend it- the most fun I've had w/ SF this year.Delete
This was on sale the other day for $1.99 and I bought it (I think I already told you that, heh). I love this review! I am even more excited to read it now than before. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)ReplyDelete
I'm glad you got this one. Can't wait to see what you thinkDelete
Oh man, this does sound like an amazing sci-fi! Yay for diversity and a very interesting crew! Glad you enjoyed this, great review Greg!ReplyDelete
It really is a fun crew and a great read. Thank you!Delete
I've been seeing this everywhere, but I haven't stopped to see what it was all about until now. It sounds like something worth checking out!ReplyDelete
You know I sat on it for the longest time not really motivated to read it. I was pleasantly surprised!Delete
Huh, that does sound unique that it's not so much of a plot but more just about the people (relative term) and their lives. I'm not sure if I would like that or not since I tend to get annoyed when plots meander, but I can see how it could make for a great character development kinda story. And the family-like aspect is the best!ReplyDelete
Yeah it's more like day in the life stuff, I mean they have a mission and there's background stuff but stuff comes up they have to deal with, and it just seems very- I don't know- realistic? The character development is great!Delete
Like you, I had no clue about this book until my blog feed got flooded by positive reviews for it - I wouldn't have paid attention otherwise and I had NO idea what it was about! I'm thrilled that it delivered for you too! Now I want to read it even more :D I believe I'll get it for myself after the Holidays! GREAT review^^ReplyDelete
Great review. Sounds like an interesting read. I agree with you, the title is rather strange, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Thank you for linking up to #TalkoftheTownReplyDelete
Great review! I keep seeing positive reviews for this one. This is one I would have ignored if it wasn't for all the popular reviews, but I'm definitely curious about it due to so many good reviews. I need to read it for sure! :DReplyDelete
Not sure I'd like this if the plot line is a bit weak but then it sounds like Firefly and I loved that show so maybe I'll give it a go.ReplyDelete
The cover is gorgeous and I love the title.
This one is new to me, but it sounds really fantastic! I don't read as much sci-fi as I should. I usually enjoy books without a ton of plot. I'm adding this one to my TBR!ReplyDelete
Thanks for linking up on Saturday Situation!
Yes, so glad you enjoyed this one too - definitely one of my faves of 2016 :DReplyDelete