I’m so happy I picked this up! I heard about it on one of the Book Riot podcasts, and grabbed the trade copy from The Strand when I was in NYC last weekend because ‘fun space opera” stuck in my head. And that’s exactly what it is! Rosemary is (kind of) the main character, and since she’s running from some family stuff she gets a job as a clerk on a ship whose main function is getting work making wormholes through space. I know! They punch through the sublayer of space to connect distant locations, so cool.
I say Rosemary’s “kind of” a main character because though the book definitely starts with a focus on her, it ends up being about ALL of the crew, and man what a varied crew they are. There’s Ashby, the black pacifist captain of the ship who may or may not be in a taboo romance with an alien woman who he hardly ever gets to see. There’s Kizzy and Jenks, the off-the-wall talented mechanics of the ship (Kizzy reminds me a lot of Gaige from Borderlands 2). There’s Corbin, the annoying, abrasive algae specialist whose function is to basically fuel the ship. Sissix is the reptile-ish alien who pilots the ship. Dr. Chef is an big alien with 6 limbs and several throats whose function is being the doctor and the chef (hoho, bet you didn’t see that coming!) Ohan is the furry alien infected with a virus that allows them to view space in ways that humans can’t, hence making them the navigator. And, last but not least, Lovey is the ship’s AI who oversees everything in and about the ship. The group lives mostly on the Wayfarer, and generally part they get along swimmingly (except Corbin, that ass) until Ashby takes a contract job that’s bigger than anything they’ve ever done, and puts them in direct contact with the most hostile group of aliens known.
I’ll give a fair bit of warning here – this book is not super action-packed. Don’t get me wrong, some stuff goes down on more than one occasion, but it’s very much focused on getting to know the characters and for me, that was fun enough in of itself. I love the diversity among the different species. Some are gender and sexuality -fluid, some are very devout, some just want to cuddle, some can’t stand to be touched – they’re all so different and yet for the most part, seem used to functioning in a universe with each other. Technology is (of course) a huge aspect of life both in space and planetside, and that’s always fun to see, to imagine what those kinds of advances in technology would look like in our lives.
This is a crazy and fun ride through space, and I can’t wait to see what else Becky Chambers does for this world (universe?) she’s created. It looks like there’s already a new book slated for March – not necessarily a sequel, but a follow-up to one of the characters so don’t go reading the description for the second book because it will definitely ruin a piece of the first book for you. Anyways, I’ll be getting my hands on the second book as soon as I can.