REVIEW: Record of a Spaceborn Few By Becky Chambers
To be honest, Record of a space born few was my least favourite out of the Wayfarer series. I had grown attached to these characters and yet again we are thrust upon some new ones. This is what made it hard for me. I like anthology series yes, but this lot of characters, are the ones that I did not vibe with very well.
This book takes place centuries after the last humans left earth. They left earth for other planets such as Mars but some boarded the Exodus Fleet. The exodus fleet was welcomed into the Galactic Commons, the government that looks after the solar system and those species within it. Though many have seen the upside of this and have begun exploring other worlds, many have not as they fear that their way of life is under threat. Tessa’s brother Ashby (who we met in Long way) seems to have taken the choice to leave for the stars leaving Tessa behind but now her position in the fleet is threatened.
Tessa is only one of many characters we follow in this novel. There are four other points of views that we follow including Isabel, Eyas, Sawyer and Kip. Isabel is the Asteria’s (a ship part of the exodus fleets) archivist. She struggles with coming to terms with the Exodus’ new way of life as they enter the GC. She is so used to the way life was, reciting the daily mantra of the exodus fleet and now her life is all in jeopardy because they entered the GC.
Eyas, is a voluntary caretaker upon the fleet but starts to get a feeling that there may be something more for her out there than just cleaning up the Asteria and helping people with their lives. She feels like she is no longer living hers and only serves the community. I understand that is a good thing, serving the community and all but when you realise you have no time for yourself and to do what you actually want to do, you start to question everything about your life choices. Kip, is a young apprentice who wants change but doesn’t know what exactly he wants from it. He is eager for the necessary changes but wants more from them.
The last point of view, and definitely the more interesting case would be that of Sawyer. Knowing that the Asteria has joined the GC he chooses to join them. So, he is the only point of view to not actually come from the Asteria, but to join them instead. He wanted to try something new but soon finds that the Asteria can be pretty boring until he decides to work as a code monkey but soon finds his life and the change, he made might be worth it all in the end.
This book like Chamber’s others is not about the plot; it’s about the characters. She likes to put them into different situations have them express themselves about it. She likes to have a character driven plot rather than a plot driven plot. This is something that she excels in. Unlike her other books in the series, this one is not really an ensemble task. Yes, characters do intertwine and met each other but they all have their individual story and plot to follow. Being on a ship like the Asteria would mean of course, people know each other but they aren’t crewmates and close like the crew of the Wayfarer. These guys are more of a mere acquaintance to each other rather than a close-knit family. This is something that I really enjoyed and as such gave a different perspective of Becky Chamber’s writing.
Overall, 4 out of 5 stars.