Today I’m sharing my (spoiler-free!) thoughts on the found family sci-fi The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet. I have conflicting feelings about this book, so I want to justify my rating to you!
✿ 518 pages
✿ series (but follows different characters)
✿ content warnings: death, grief, threat of violence
Full synopsis on goodreads
The book follows Rosemary Harper, a new recruit to the wormhole tunnelling Wayfarer ship. The multi-species crew are offered a lucrative but dangerous new assignment, and they embark on a journey together, trying to understand themselves and humanity on the way.
So, you’ve all seen the 3.5 stars. Before anyone who’s read it gets their pitchforks out, I just want to say that I really enjoyed this book! It was not a bad book at all, but I felt like there was a lot missing from the story that stopped me from giving it 4 stars or more. I would still recommend it though, and I want to read the rest of the series.
Let’s start with what I liked. The world-building was excellent, from the descriptions of visiting planets to species’ history. The book features a diverse range of species, from cold-blooded Aandrisks to the endangered Grum to the unfamiliar Toremi, as well as humans and sentient AIs! Each species have intricate cultures, politics and histories that are explored in depth throughout the book, without getting overwhelming. The use of different media like letters and reports made the information easier to digest too. Don’t worry if you are not an avid sci-fi reader, because it is very accessible. While I did get lost at the wormhole explanations, the science is not too daunting, or completely vital to understand. At the heart of it, this story is about characters: exploring friendship, backstories and new cultures, as well as what it means to be human (often through non-human characters!). Becky Chambers executed this part really well.
Since the story is character-driven, I didn’t mind the slower pace, although it did take me a long time to get into the story. I did have some issues with the ending. After a long time travelling to the ‘small, angry planet’, the ending was lacklustre. It felt very rushed, and I wanted more perspectives from the Toremi, as well as more explanation for the decisions they made. For most of the story, I completely forgot what they were actually meant to be doing, and then they arrive and leave quickly. It just felt too sudden for me, and although there is time to react to the big event that happens, it didn’t impact me as much as it would have done if there was more build up.
While I can forgive the lack of plot, the characters were the focus of the story and I had some issues with them. In terms of our main character (or introductory character?) Rosemary, she was quite bland at first. Her secret wasn’t that shocking, but no one even reacted to it? There were two scenes about it and that’s it. I didn’t understand the point of the mystery of it, if it just meant nothing later on. Apart from that, she started to grow on me as the book developed. I enjoyed everyone’s perspectives, and they were short enough to not get bored of someone, but long enough to grow an attachment to them. I wish we could have got more perspective from characters like Sissix, Lovey, Jenks and Ohan. However, I had a bigger problem with the relationships. There was one couple who had a lot of build up to their relationship, and then when they decided to couple up, they were almost never mentioned again? That was really weird to me. I also loved the Wayfarer crew’s friendships, but some people didn’t even interact with each other, so it felt a bit disconnected and not quite whole.
Even with my criticisms, The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet is a fun and cozy read with an intriguing world and characters, and many important discussions.
Thanks for reading! Have you read The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, and what did you think of it?
I still haven’t read this but a lot of bloggers I love liked it. I think I might pick it up when I’m in the right mood to read sci-fi! Great review! 🙂
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Thank you, yes I still recommend it even if I didn’t rate is as highly as everyone else! 😊
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