Wow this book is incredible! There’s so much to say that I’m afraid I don’t have the words to convey it all. Becky Chambers’ book gave me so many FEELINGS. Each new page revealed some unexpected delight or curiosity that kept me hooked right to the end.
I love science fiction, but especially stories that involve both the minutia of the daily lives of spacefarers or colonists and the sweeping grand scale of interstellar travel and galactic politics. Combine this with a healthy dose of chunky, tangible tech, sentient AIs and a variety of different races and cultures and I’m in my happy place.
The Long Way delivers on all of this and so much more. The multi-species crew of the Wayfarer are all fleshed out as distinct individuals, each with their own personalities, belief systems, desires and struggles. It was thrilling to discover little snippets of their backstories and how this influences their relationships with each other. I also really enjoyed that our window into their world was initially that of an outsider, Rosemary, and that as I grew more accustomed to the crew, so did she.
(Kizzy is my absolute favourite❤️ Jenks asking “are you making them hats?” absolutely killed me😂)
Becky makes expert use of the interpersonal relationships between this small cast of quirky characters living in tight quarters to explore themes of identity, family, gender and sexuality effortlessly. It never feels heavy handed and the variety of species only made it more natural. It was refreshing to discover a universe where multiple gender pronouns, sexual orientations and found families are the norm.
All this set against the backdrop of the Galactic Commons and the political concerns of different planets and species. The destination, Hedra Ka - the small angry planet of the title - is only found after a long and meandering journey, but what a journey. This is a story that’s all about what happens when you take the long way round and it’s SO worth it. I adored this book.
I’m really sad that it’s over - a little stunned to be honest - but I’m so grateful for the heartwarming, emotional story that now lives rent free in my brain. Better still, I am delighted to discover that, not only is there a sequel, this is the first book of four in the Wayfarer series. The little preview of the second book was a nice teaser and I’m looking forward to what comes next. Highly recommended.