Sunday, October 2, 2016

Book Review Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

This book, about a crew of misfits on an independent starship, could easily have fallen victim to that trope. However, Chambers' characterization and writing handily overcame that obstacle. I particularly like the way she handles alien cultures and alien individuals. They are realistic and don't seem like painted humans.She has invented four or five distinct alien species and really made them seem real. She has also created distinctly different individuals of some of these species. This is a rare and wonderful feat. "Angry Planet" is not like too many SF movies and TV shows, where aliens are introduced at the beginning, but then it's humans all the way down.

This is the first book in the series, so there is a lot about the characters getting to know each other as well as some personal growth for several of them. That is all done well and seems natural. The funny techie who is, most of the time, a very silly person could easily have become a caricature of herself. Instead, she comes across like a real person of this kind, someone you've known and liked.

The mission, to do a dangerous job in an even more dangerous war zone, is the backbone of the plot. However many things happen along the way and the book stays interesting from beginning to end. If you are prone to pulling all nighters while finishing novels, make a pot of coffee before you get to the middle of this book.

We will probably buy the sequel soon and, even though we are trying to downsize, will not give away this book. We both will need to read it again.

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