Sunday, April 23, 2017

SciFi/Fantasy Book Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Long Review after the Jump:

A Closed and Common Orbit is a "sequel" to Chambers' excellent "A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet."  It's a sequel however only in that the story picks up in time right from where ALWtaSMP ended off and takes place in the same universe.  Otherwise, this book works perfectly as a stand alone and you can start with this book in the series without any trouble.  (I wouldn't advise doing so only because the first book is EXCELLENT and because this book contains minor spoilers for how that book ended - it won't ruin your enjoyment of ALWtaSMP much if you start here and go back to it, but again, that book is so good you should start there just because there's no reason to spoil yourself when that book is so good).

This book doesn't follow the characters from the first book at all, instead following two characters: Sidra the AI, as she tries to adapt to her new life inside a human-shaped shell; and Pepper, the mechanic and seller of illicit equipment and upgrades who took Sidra in and tries to help her adapt .  The Story bounces between telling the present tale of Sidra and the tale of Pepper's past (and of course the two tales intertwine at the end), focusing on how Sidra can find an identity when her purpose seems to been stripped from her.

Like the first book, this is a masterpiece of character work - Sidra, Pepper, and to lesser extents two new characters: Blue and Tak, are great characters and their stories, while once again small in scale, are a joy to read.  This isn't as delightful a book as the first book - it's a more focused and slightly deeper story, though it's again small scale and not dark - without as many great moments, but it's still generally fantastic.  Recommended.

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