Review – The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Posted 29 January, 2017 by Nikki in Reviews / 4 Comments

Cover of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky ChambersThe Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, Becky Chambers

I picked up The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet after much urging, expecting to read a chapter or two and then find time to do something else. Then I read the whole thing through. People who liken it to Firefly are right (only with more diversity). People who mention the loveable characters and LGBT relationships are also right. People who say it’s a feel-good sci-fi are right. And yeah, people who complain that it’s definitely soft SF are also right: this is about people who happen to be in space, not about people in space, if that makes sense.

It depends what you’re looking for. For me, all of that is exactly my cup of tea. Not that I drink tea. My cup of hot chocolate, perhaps.

Not all the characters are loveable, or faultless: that would be the wrong impression to take from this. Instead, they’re all understandable, and even the alien ones have, well, you can’t call it humanity… but compassion, decency. Sissix and Rosemary’s relationship is just lovely: negotiating around the fact of their differences, while finding common ground. The same goes for Jenks and Lovelace. I love the differences of the aliens, the fact that they do have different sensibilities to the humans. I’d happily read more of the adventures of almost every single character here (long may they fly together).

The only complaint I have about this book is that all the tensions, all the plot entanglements, seem to dissolve very easily. Things turn out more or less how you’d hope, every single time, and with barely time to get worried about it. It reads more like a serial in that sense — a burst of tension to make you read the next installment, with the overall arc being somewhat backgrounded for most of it. It makes things seem a little too easy at times.

All the same, I found it very enjoyable, and I’m eager to pick up A Closed and Common Orbit. Thankfully, I did get it on one of my trips through London, since the bookshop I usually go to in Belgium has no plans to stock or even order it.

Rating: 4/5

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4 Responses to “Review – The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet”

  1. I think that’s a fair criticism – it is very episodic, and every challenge does get resolved pretty easily, however high the stakes seem at the time. But I loved it; I’m happy to have some unabashedly feel-good space opera on my shelf 🙂

  2. The “serial” feel of it was why I didn’t go full on 5 stars with this one, I had a good time but I generally prefer stories that feel more cohesive. I think that’s why I liked the sequel more.

    • Yeah, same reason for me. And I’m really looking forward to the sequel! I’ve got it, just need to get round to it. (Story of my life.)

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