Book Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Posted November 23, 2020 by lomeraniel in Audiobooks, Hopepunk, LGBT, Review, Science-Fiction, Space Opera / 0 Comments

Book Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky ChambersA Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers
Narrator: Rachel Dulude
Series: Wayfarers #2
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on 10-20-16
Genres: Hopepunk, LGBT, Science-Fiction
Length: 13 hrs and 4 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Libby
Buy on Amazon/Audible
Overal Rating: five-stars

Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an 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.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for - and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.
A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers' beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.

I enjoyed the cast of characters in book one, so I was looking forward to the sequel. First of all, this does not feel like part of the same series. I would say it is a clever spin-off that is even more engaging than the previous book.

While book one was was about the Wayfarer crew and their trip to a specific planet, the present book deals with what happens to Lovelace, the ship’s AI, after she had to be rebooted at the end of the first book. The main characters this time are her and Pepper, a secondary character from book one. I think the task of creating a second good book was not an easy one, I think it was cleverly done by giving Pepper a chance to make a place for herself in our hearts. There are two stories told in parallel in the book: on one hand, we have Lovelace’s struggles with her new situation, and on the other hand, we are told Pepper’s story from when she was a child on her home planet and how she survived by doing the unimaginable.

Lovelace’s story would have made an enjoyable book by itself, but Pepper’s past interlaced with it made this book sublime. Becky Chambers does know how to create real and imperfect characters, how to show their motivations, and then stab you on the stomach and leave your crying like a baby because life is just so unfair! A great exploration of not only intelligent minds but also how relationships are built and strengthened over time, about promises, love, and despair. If you love highly developed and round characters, this book is for you.

Rachel Dulude’s narration does justice to this wonder of a book. There are five main characters in this book and they all have their distinctive voice and style. The AI’s and characters with voice boxes are interpreted in a very subtle robotic way that made perfectly clear who they were but it was at the same time not distracting.

One of those books that would get more than five stars if possible.

Story (Plot)
Overall: five-stars