Book Review: A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2) by Becky Chambers

by @edent | #

People looking out into a galaxy of stars.

Beginning during the final events of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, this standalone sequel branches out to explore new characters and new corners of the galaxy.

Once, Lovelace had eyes and ears everywhere. She was a ship’s artificial intelligence system, tasked with caring for the health and well-being of her crew, possessing a distinct personality and very human emotions. Now, reactivated and reset, Lovelace finds herself in a synthetic body. She’s gone from being virtually omniscient to a limited physical existence, in a community where her kind are illegal. She’s never felt so isolated.

But Lovelace is not alone. Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall her program, has remained by her side and is determined to help her adjust to her new world.

Because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – and this is… more of the same!

It’s rather comfortable being back in the same universe. This is rather reduced in scope though. Rather than a galaxy wide adventure, this is more an exploration of two specific characters. So it feels a little claustrophobic. It also suffers from an over-abundance of exposition. Much like the previous book, it sometimes feels like you’re watching someone play a video game and laboriously go through all the dialogue options.

I found the novel to be unexpectedly emotionally moving – in amongst the zeitgeisty discussion of gender, colonialism, human-rights, and coping with neurodiversity – is an incredibly sad and haunting story.

Without wishing to spoil things for you, it asks big questions about how far we’re willing to change ourselves to fit into a cruel society.

A great book, and I’m looking forward to the sequels.

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