A Review of: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: (Wayfarers 1) by Becky Chambers

The Original book in the series is set primarily on a small space craft, and revolved around the crew within; along with their adventure and journey.

*mild spoilers ahead*

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This is a fun, action packed space travel adventure, brimming with many sentient peoples of the universe, The story of a ship crew, hired to create a new ‘wormhole’ to a new galaxy in the universe, to connect a sentient race which has formerly been unwilling to communicate with the rest of the people. Connecting them will set for the path of this race of beings becoming part of the ‘Galactic Commons’, and thus open to trading resources, technology, etc. Naturally things are not that simple. The Wayfarer crew must navigate the big secret of their new crew member, the discover that another crew member is a clone – this is highly illegal; the loss of a valued crew member, forbidden relationships, multi species relationships; and more! The story will have you on the edge of your seat, as there isn’t a moment of down time here. But in terms of reading – it’s an enjoyable, easy, entertaining, read. The book is a nice length, where you get to spend a nice amount of tie with the crew, and learn so much about this fictional universe.

The owner and captain of said ship, is Ashby, a human, originating from the generational space ships that left the broken Earth, many decades before, in search of continuing life among the stars (and hopefully a new planet system at some point.)

Fast forward to now. Humans have met several other sentient beings, ‘people’, who are out there. The human race has been accepted into the ‘Galactic Commons’, despite the fact that they are more of a refugee. Typically the Other sentient beings there have crossed certain hurdles of advanced society. They have mastered leaving their own planet, mastered inter-star system travel, have been able to successfully travel to other star systems. Hence, finding others organically. They are generally peaceful, and have become a part of the Collective, which is essentially a large group of different beings, who have rules and guidelines for trade, travel, space port functions, like entering/exiting the wormhole type passages they use for long distance travel. Humans however, were found wandering space, by other Beings, and ‘taken in.’ They were given many technological tools and advancements by other races, that they did not discover on their own. From immunobots, to space travel engines, to trade routes, and more.

Ashby’s ship crew includes several different Sentient being races. This is our introduction to getting to know the details of each of the species, along with enough about their home worlds, cultural differences, environments, social structures, etc.

In this aspect, the book is well detailed, and gives enough information that it is easy to imagine each of the species, and why they are the way they are. Without being boring and long winded exposition. A pretty great feat, since this is all imagined territory to us mere humans. A lot of well planned world building or the series.

I can tell you – I really loved this book. The amount of detail and care that went into designing the several different alien species; from their appearances, cultures, histories, languages, and mannerisms – was exceptional. All while not bogging the reader down with hefty info dumps, or making the reader feel overwhelmed with the amount data. It’s presented in an organic manner that rolls with the story. Very well done. You feel like you know these beings, and all that matters about them. They’re very real. As well as encompassing a variety of life forms, thoughts, histories, communication types, home world environments, etc. Very interesting and fun to read. I really want to visit them all!

I can also tell you – when I began reading this book, I was excited, because I knew there were 4 books currently in the series. So, if I liked it, there would be many more to devour. Which is excellent, because it’s like having one very very very big book to enjoy. A world you can settle into and spend a lot of time exploring around. I love it. (Or is it 5? One feels like it really doesn’t belong. And will not be included in my reviews of the series – also I really didn’t like it much, in comparison.)

But I can also tell you, friends; the utter disappointment I had, when I began book 2 in the series to discover to my crushing disappointment; that it’s not Actually a series. The Story in book 1 does not continue. And having read all 4(5?) books, I can tell you this is true for each book. The Wayfarer Series is a set of 4 books, that happen to be set in the same story universe. With only the tiniest strings attaching them to each other, otherwise. Sure, you know the worlds, generally, and the alien species, history of this worldbuilding set. But each book is it’s own contained story. Period. Occasional name dropping to another character from another book, or an event in one of the others happens, but that is about the limit of it’s connectedness. I was so so so disappointed. Sure, I enjoyed each book. But what I Really wanted (and anticipated); was a multi – book series to settle into. This is not that. So prepare yourself for all the books, that have 98% nothing to do with each other, aside from a shared make believe universe, with the same alien cultures. If you’re good with that, and prepared, you should enjoy it.


• Story pacing?
Nonstop, but not in a can’t keep it all straight kind of way. 9/10

• Story character arcs? Most of the characters have significant arcs that are easy to follow. Others are more subtle, but they all have growth, learning, change. 9/10

• Story arc?

The plot is a nice, contained story, with a good feel for the ‘end’. Definitely an arc. 7/10

• Story writing quality?

I quite enjoyed reading this series – it’s set in the distant future, so all of it is ‘imagined’. But much of the technology is based on things we are exploring today. Others are pure fiction, and from other alien races, so that works out fine. It’s all grounded and believable, has enough description to satisfy the scifi nerds out there, without bogging down in being a science textbook. There’s enough explanation. 9/10

• Story wokeness? (tolerable / gag me)

Nothing to make me gag! Yay! We have aliens. Inter-species friction. A lot of moment of ‘racism‘ type things – which we are also shown are not acceptable. The different aliens have different cultures, some quite different from us in terms of sexual behavior, mating behaviours, child rearing behaviors, interspecies mingling behaviors, and more. It’s very well thought out, and ‘inclusive’ in that sense, while being open and accepting. Whatever your thing is, is ok, even if it’s different from mine. 10/10

• Grates against my annoyances?

Nothing stood out 10/10

• Grates against my annoyances? (fictional words)

Obviously, the different alien races each have a fictional name. And a certain grammatical building style. Some are harder to sound out, but nothing too over the top ridiculous hard. I could the names of planets, races, people in this book better then most to keep straight, feel like I was pronouncing them right, etc. 8/10

• Story romance level?

We have some here. There is a relationship between Ashby and Pei, who is an Auleon. A casual sex thing between Rosemary and the Anderisk Sissix. A romantic connection between Jenks – the human mechanic, and the AI that is in the ship. Some mentions of ‘orgy style sex groups the Anderisks partake in openly, and often. But, none was in and romance novel style detail. They add to and are part of the story, without being a sex scene for the sake of having a sex scene. The details are left to the readers own imagination to fill in. Which is perfect for this kind of story. 8/10

• Story readability?

Very readable. Not like reading a complicated technical science textbook. Additionally the character and stories will pull you in. Each character has a distinct ‘voice’ which is well done. An excellent job. 10/10

• Story Completeness (did it end on a cliff hanger, or a see my next book!)?

No cliff hangers! All the plots tied up with a nice finish. 9/10

• Did the story cover familiar ground, or go new places?

Definitely new places 10/10

• Was there anything I wanted to know that was left unanswered?

In this case.. not really. I was satisfied overall with the story threads all being wrapped up neatly. 9/10

• Things I really liked / or didn’t like?

Nothing that stands out. 10/10

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