The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers – A Review

Hi. As promised, I’m here to post the last reviews of the Wayfarer’s series and then we’re done and I have maaaany books to talk about. So bear with me, please.

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers
  • Publication date: February 18th 2021
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Sci-fi

With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.

At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through.

When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers—all different species with different aims—are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio—an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes—are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I am so very sad this series is over. And I think it ended the best way possible.

I’m not going to give it all 5 stars for a simple reason… although once again, I got super invested into the characters we followed in this one (especially Pei), I will forever love the Wayfarer’s crew the most – Lovey included. Those will have my heart for the eternity.

But… saying that, I think this one is only half a step behind the second installment for me (the first being the best one, still) because I really loved everything about it. I know it makes no sense, but my ratings are really based on my feelings, rather than a rating made up of different, smaller aspects – like, CAWPILE. I might read a book that is perfectly written and has a riveting plot and vivid characters, but still rate it 4 stars, because it didn’t evoke a certain feeling in me. But I digress…

I think there are still places, characters and situations this series could explore, but I respect Chambers’ decision to end it here. It was a lovely ending. One that made a full circle, of sorts, with Pei going to visit Ashby in the end.

This book focused a lot on family and it was once again a very cosy read, even though many things that happened in it were not cosy by definition. It spoke of mother-child, father-child and sibling relationships and did it in a lovely way, once again showing the “humanity” in each species and how no matter where we come from, there are so many things we can relate to and agree on.

I see myself rereading this series in the future. After marathoning all 4 books in a short period of time, Chambers became one of my favourite authors, and I will be picking up everything by her. So, even if you’re not a big sci fi fan, I think this series could be for you, and I know I’m repeating myself at this point, but I really mean it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thank you for sticking around! I hope you’re doing well, and I’ll speak to you soon!

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers – A Review

Hi! I decided to continue with my Wayfarers’ reviews today, as I basically marathoned the series. So here’s what I thought about the Record of a Spaceborn Few!

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
  • Publication date: July 24th 2018
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Sci-fi

Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.

Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.

Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it.

Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.

When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question:

What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?

I’ve gushed about this series in my previous two reviews just to be slightly disappointed by this book. I think it did a lot of great things, but ultimately, I didn’t care as much about the characters in this one, as in the first two.

I think my enjoyment of this series stems from the cosiness of it and the emotional attachment, which this one was lacking. Tessa, even though she’s Ashby’s sister, wasn’t someone I cared about before, and so I wasn’t much invested in her story line. Kip was probably the most interesting, as we got a perspective into a life of a normal teenager, which none of the other books explored. As for Sawyer… I wanted to enjoy his POV more but before I did, it was cut short. The book definitely did get better in the last third, but it was too late for me to connect and care – by the time I sort of did, it ended.

Becky Chambers’ writing was immaculate, as always, and the story itself was engaging enough for me to still enjoy the read. Like I mentioned before, it explores a lot of perspectives we haven’t gotten before. Sawyer is an immigrant and an outsider and the way he’s treated reflects a lot how we humans treat people we think “don’t belong”/ I think Chambers’ ideas are stellar and the way she approached each book was quite unique, and the fact I am rating it lower than other ones is down to personal preference.

I think Record of a Spaceborn Few is the weakest book in the Wayfarers’ series, but still a good read. Maybe upon rereading it I’ll think differently and be able to take more out of it. But for now…

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I have one more review left and then I swear I’ll talk about other books. As always, thank you for reading/ It means the world to me. Talk soon, stay safe!

February 2021 Wrap Up

Hi! How is it March already? I can’t believe it we’re almost through a QUARTER of 2021. Madness.

February, although short, was a great reading month volume wise. I’ve read 10 books. Let’s look at stats!

  • Number of books read: 10
  • Number of pages read: 3241
  • Average star rating: 3.6
  • Physical TBR at the start of the month: 46
  • Books read: 3
  • Physical TBR: 43
  • DNF: 1

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Full review here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Blake Crouch’s books always make me feel stupid. It’s not a bad thing. They’re just so well thought out and complex, it takes all my brain power to understand them. Recursion was no different. I enjoyed it a lot, as it deals with time travel, and we know how I feel about that! It was the right amount of mind bendy and confusing, but still engaging.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson

Full review to come soon. The idea was better than the execution which I find to be a thing for me a lot when it comes to thrillers. Still quite enjoyed the read.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

In my opinion the weakest book in the Wayfarers’ series. Full review to come in a few days!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

A quite enjoyable Cinderella retelling. I appreciated the representation, though I think it read quite young and was predictable. One thing that definitely brought the rating down for me was the unnecessary “love triangle”.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

I loved the premise of this one more than the execution. It’s about a pair of siblings with super powers. I think it’s best to go into it not knowing anything else. Sadly, the transitions made it hard for me to follow and took me out of the story a lot.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

I don’t understand anyone who says this is Sanderson’s worst book. Ahem… Warbreaker? I found Elantris really enjoyable and I really grew to love all of the characters. And! Hoid!!!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers

A full review to come. I found this to be a great and satisfying ending to an overall fantastic series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

I don’t have much to say about this one at all. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. I think it was perfectly fine for what it was, a whimsical story about magical forest creatures and it’s definitely to many people’s taste, just not exactly my thing. I don’t regret picking it up, I just really don’t have anything to say about it.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Marly’s Ghost by David Levithan

I jinxed myself when I said Levithan can do no wrong. Everything I picked up by him since was not at all what I expected and I’ve been disappointed. Marly’s Ghost was predictable and had nothing that set it apart. Yes, I still do like Levithan’s writing, so I gave it 3 stars, even though objectively I think it deserves 2.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

How was your February? What’s the best book you read last month?

Thank you for reading. Talk soon!

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers – A Review

Hi! Let’s skip the introduction. I’ve a review for you for the second book in the Wayfarers series today!

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
  • Publication date: 2016
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Sci-fi

Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

I didn’t realise this book wasn’t following the exact same characters as book one and I must admit, at the start I was bummed out. Just when I really fell in love with the crew of the Wayfarer, I had to leave them? Ahhh… My disappointment didn’t last for long, though.

I think I still love the first book a tad bit more, but this one is so close behind it’s incredible. Once again, even though it’s not necessarily a happy story, it’s one that is cosy and inviting. Chambers really lets us get to know Lovelace and Pepper and shows us what it is that make them tick, while still building onto the already rich world set up in the first book. We learn so much so effortlessly. And yes, there is a plot to it, but it takes the back burner while we really delve deep into the characters and their lives.

Lovey is a character I found incredibly fascinating in the first book, as she’s a sentient AI, with a personality and feelings, and I appreciated the way Chambers approached the subject. Lovey/Sidra really grows into herself throughout the book, and I was very invested in her journey.

Similarly, Pepper’s story is also really well done, and follows the character from childhood to when we know her, which inadvertently shows off more of the galaxy, laws, customs and all the good world building stuff that’s super intriguing.

Overall, A Closed and Common Orbit is a fantastic, engaging and warm story that I’m sure non sci-fi fans would also enjoy!

Thank you so much for reading! I’ll be back with a review for the 3rd and 4th book soon!

Take care!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – A Review

Hi there! We’re nearing a year of the pandemic in Ireland and I’ve gotten so fed up and uninspired, hence the lack of posts. Thankfully, I’m reading a fair bit, still. I thought to try and combat the bad feelings, I’ll post about a book I’ve read recently and LOVED, and spread the good vibes instead. Also – a new book in this series is out tomorrow (and I’m currently in the middle of it)! What better time to do this?

If you couldn’t tell from the title, this is for The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Let’s go!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • Publication date: 2014
  • Published: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Sci-fi

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past. But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants. Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years…if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful. But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

I wish I could give this book all the stars in the world! 2021 barely started and I know for sure that this book will end up in my top 10 reads.

I loved every second of this book, every character and all that happened in it. I shed a tear at the end. If that doesn’t describe my feelings enough, I don’t know how to do it better.

I’ve read Chambers before, although only one book, so I knew I liked her style, or what I’ve seen of it. But this was something else. She managed to write the cosiest, warmest sci-fi book I’ve ever read. Found family trope is my absolute favourite, and it’s a big part of this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but there’s something about it that makes it a great comfort read.

It’s definitely a more character than plot driven story. Chambers describes different species and their culture with such ease you believe they really exist. She mentiones their struggles, differences, politics and by it creates such vivid, multidimensional (no pun intended), real characters that feel both human and alien. They’re effortlessly diverse. I fell a bit in love with every crew member of the Wayfarer and I cared about them so deeply, and this might be weird to say but they almost felt like friends.

I was not once bored, not once disappointed. There’s nothing I would change about this book. I think it’s a story that would be approachable for non sci-fi readers, because it’s about so much more than space, aliens etc. You don’t have to like and understand these things, because they’re not the main focus. Anything that is alien to the reader, Chambers describes beautifully, and all the other aspects of it focus on the relationships and lives of the characters, which is something all readers look for regardless of the genre.

I’m so glad I finally picked up the series, it was a really special read. I would definitely recommend it to everyone who enjoys beautiful writing and well crafted characters.

Have you read this one? Let me know what you thought, I’d love to know!

As always, thank you so much for reading! Talk soon.