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REVIEW: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

We enter the world that Becky Chambers has created by introducing Rosemary Harper to the gang upon the wayfarer ship as it had a job opening. Rosemary wanting to get away from her life runs away and onto the wayfarer where she meets Ashby, Sissix, Dr. Chef, Ohan, Artis Corbin, Kizzy and Jenks. These characters all play a role on this ship like Ashby is the captain and Kizzy and Jenks are the two techs, that if anything were to go wrong on the ship, the will fix it. And then last but not least, we have Lovelace, the ships AI who is most commonly and affectionately known as Lovey.

Rosemary fleeing her old life as the daughter of a wealthy but corrupt businessman, uses fake id and qualifications to get her job as a clerk upon the ship. Despite this, she settles in but fears that her true nature and lack of experience on the job will expose her. During majority of the book, the gang are just travelling through space and Rosemary starts to know each of the crew better in order to understand their needs as she is their clerk but finds herself closer to some than others.

When a job posting is put up looking for a ship to do a job but this assignment is high risk, Ashby jumps at the chance to show his value to the committee. The Wayfarer lands the contract and they accept. Before they make this long journey though, they decide to stock up on all of their wants and needs at port but once they leave, find themselves attacked by Akarak raiders. Rosemary explains to the crew that Akaraks are an avian race that survive on plunder. Trying to prove herself, she negotiates with the Akaraks and they agree on a compromise, the Akaraks will take what they need from the ship but also allowing the wayfarer to make it to the next port. They do so and depart.

Along the way, we meet up with Pei, Ashby’s Aeluon lover whose ship is putting out a distress call. The wayfarer hears this call and goes to help them only to find that their ship is laced with mines. Fearing this, Kizzy is hesitant but musters up the courage to disarm them. On our next stop, we stop at Sissix’s home world Hashkath. Sissix is an Aandrisk and whilst there, Sissix realises that she misses the companionship of people of her race, because of the social and emotional aspect. She bonds again with her family by doing something that most would appear weird and abnormal but is normal in her race. Once upon the ship, Rosemary admits that she has feeling for Sissix, though she is not of her race, she will try to be there in whatever way Sissix needs her to be. They begin a relationship.

Whilst in space, in a piece of space that is occupied by the Quelin’s, the ship is boarded. During this time, we find out that Corbin is a clone and clones are not permitted in this part of space. He is taken into custody. Corbin didn’t even know that he was a clone up and until this moment and is shocked to find this out. Due to Rosemary being on board the ship, she tries to jump through legal loop holes and luckily finds one.

At the same time as this happening, Lovey and Jenks are falling for each other. They explore the idea of putting Lovey’s consciousness into a body kit. They love the sound of this idea so they could be together, but there is one snag in their plans, using body kits are illegal. Seeing the treatment that Corbin has experienced puts a halt into the plan and forces them to reconsider.

Heading to the ships destination, Hedra Kar, the crew hear of rumours about the world turning in on its leaders for opening up their world to the GC. They decide to carry onwards to the world and carry out their mission but find their ship attacked when it’s beginning to punch it’s way through the wormhole to the world. The ship is damaged and barely makes it out alive and Lovey’s memory is destroyed. Distraught at this news, Jenks flees into an escape pod. A friend of Jenk’s who was getting the body kit for him, offers it to the newly reborn Lovey and offers her to come work for her. She agrees.

After the attack, the GC hears from Ashby about what truly happened when they were attacked and gives them a full report on it. From then on, the GC decide to cut ties with the Toremi. Luckily, after a few fixes here and there from Jenks and Kizzy, the ship is up and running again and we leave the crew whilst Rosemary and Sissix take a space walk.

I had heard so many things about Becky Chambers and her book and I’m glad to say they were wonderful things. I was lucky enough to meet her once before I read the books and she was to kind. This book was an adventure through space that had you gripped to its pages with its warmth in one moment, and the twists and turns in the next. The characters are a diverse bunch with many aliens and clones, which makes it even better. The characters bond so easily to each other and makes you the reader feel welcome through the introduction of Rosemary to the crew. Chambers truly delivers great writing to her audience and I can’t wait to read her next book.

4 out of 5 stars.


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