Book Review: A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Title: The Long Way To a Small, Angry Planet

Author: Becky Chambers

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Published: August 13, 2015

Page Amount: 404 pages

Goodreads Summary: 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. 

Why Read: Despite having a number of books on my TBR, this book was not on it. I had seen  the cover, been tempted – and ignored adding it to my ever increasing list. Then I found myself in the American Book Center in the Hague, and upon looking at their “Bookseller Recommends” section – I was intrigued. Spontaneity ruled. I bought the book. And here we are.

Review: Space operas tend not to catch my attention as much as I’d like, and yet this book had a way of drawing me in, catching my attention quickly and not letting go. Who knew that such a cast of characters could be so intriguing and force me, as a reader, to ask so many questions of myself?

There’s not truly one protagonist, which may e one of the reasons I so enjoy this book. Sure, the book begins with one focus on the new Martian woman, putting space between herself and her eerie past (that I will not spoil). But, as I read further,  I found myself more intrigued by the clash of cultures, or rather the mixing pot of how different alien races interacted with one another and built a family on the ragtag crew. It reminded me of the “multi kulti” approach that Angela Merkel adopted in Berlin and has (somewhat) worked in bringing together all the disparate parts of German society.

Forgive me, I’m trying to be as circumspect as possible. This book surprised me in its thoughtfulness and I want it to do the same to you, dear reader. I found myself thinking about immigration, about what it means to prevent one race of practicing the way they live because the dominating one finds it displeasurable. This is one of those books that you don’t expect to love until you do. Space operas might not be my cup of tea, but each person, each individual was so incredibly tempting to learn more about that I had to resist immediately buying the sequel. So recommend value is extremely high.

Now my favourite part

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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