Book Review: The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers

Posted July 4, 2021 by lomeraniel in Audiobooks, Hopepunk, LGBT, Review, Science-Fiction / 0 Comments

Book Review: The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky ChambersThe Galaxy, and the Ground Within (Wayfarers, #4) by Becky Chambers
Narrator: Rachel Dulude
Series: Wayfarers #4
Published by Harper Audio on April 20, 2021
Genres: LGBT, Science-Fiction, Hopepunk
Length: 10 hrs
Format: Audiobook
Source: Libby
Overal Rating: five-stars

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.

Three different sapiens get stranded on a small planet while traveling to different destinations. Their host and her child will try to make things more pleasant for them while they are under their care. This is the whole plot of this book, but it’s also so much more. It reminded me a lot of the previous book in the series, as it’s centered on several different characters and their personal stories and “baggage”. Becky Chambers writes realistic and nuanced characters, with their flaws, their worries, and their defining moments. Their species or gender don’t matter, as the subjects in this book are universal and transcendent. This is what makes Chambers’ characters so easy to relate to, and it’s impossible not to see oneself in one or several of them at certain points of the book.

I was especially touched by Speaker’s limitations. She does not only belong to one of the very few races who don’t breathe oxygen, but she’s also kind of disabled and needs to wear a special suit whenever she goes out. This makes it impossible for her to enjoy social gatherings around food, as trying to eat outside will kill her. The other individuals don’t realize this at first, and we can feel Speaker’s loneliness when she has to go to her ship to get some nourishment and ends up eating something quick to be able to be with the rest of the party. This is, basically, the life of any person with complex food allergies, and Speaker’s story touched me deeply because it’s been my life for the past seven years.

Like Speaker, the other members have their stories and circumstances that seem invisible to the rest of the world but are strongly affecting their lives. Pei and her vital decision about how to live her life and her future, and the social constrictions that seem to decide for her were also touching. This book was about how different people learn to share and see beyond their own noses. How small gestures can mean a lot to others. The characters grow and evolve, and they are so greatly human and relatable that one wants to spend more time with them.  I wanted this audiobook to last forever, even though there wasn’t much action or adventure.

I think Rachel Dulude is the perfect narrator for this series. Her pleasant tone and excellent interpretation skills make me want to listen to her all day. She brought the very different characters to life making each one of them unique in a subtle but clear way that perfectly complemented the story without being intrusive. This is an audiobook that I would definitely recommend to everyone and that I will listen to again someday.


Story (Plot)
Overall: five-stars