Might Be A Closed Orbit, But Possibly Too Common For Me A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

I have this complicated relationship with sequels somehow. I don’t know why it’s always like this. I mean, I’m not saying that all sequels are bad. Of course not!

I’m not even saying this one is.

But I was just kind of hoping it would be better.

That is to say, it’s still a solid three stars. But after A Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, I just… don’t know what I expected. I mean, I knew I wouldn’t really be reading another book about the wonderful crew of the Wayfarer that just runs away with your entire heart and soul. No, those hopes have been crushed ever since I heard about this one properly coming out (I mean, upon finding out that it’s not about the Wayfarer), but… you know. One stupidly keeps hoping.

Viewed as a standalone, this is not a bad book at all. We get to hear about the new Lovelace (Sidra, I love that name, by the way) and how her life is turning out. The struggles she goes through being something she wasn’t meant to be. and all her soul-searching. Another great thing is hearing about Pepper’s childhood! Sidra and Pepper’s stories are told separately and eventually brought together, and the ending is just adorable!

But. I still could not grasp the spark. There were a few things I wasn’t too happy about, and since I’m such a nerd, I’ll just give you a list.

First: where are all the species?

If you remember the first book… It was plain swarming with Aandrisks, Aeluons, Sianat pairs and all the like. This one? Mostly humans. We have one Aeluon secondary character. A few cameos by the other people. Honestly, Sianat pairs are not even mentioned once throughout the book (I retain my right to have missed it! Although I doubt it.)
…Where is everyone?

Second: I didn’t love the characters.

The charm of the first book mostly lay in the characters. In this one though? I can’t say I really loved any of them. Sidra, the main character, seemed cold and offhand, at times just childish. Maybe she was meant to come across like that because she’s an AI, and one fresh out of the box? But neither Owl nor Lovey ever was like that, although they’re also AI. I also felt Pepper’s character to be sort of flat. She was annoyed with someone for half the book. I know she’s had it tough. But she didn’t appear quite like that in the first book.

Third: plot =/= spark?

I will admit that this book had actually more plot than A Long Way! But even so, it just.. didn’t do it for me. It’s still a three stars for sure, but it just sort of passed me by. Comparing it to the blazing trail the first book left, like a comet passing through, this one would just qualify as a blink and a whimper.

All in all, I don’t regret reading it, and I will probably read the third one, as I hear it’s coming up. But I know I won’t read quite another book like A Long Way anytime soon. Some masterpieces are impossible to repeat.

Have you read A Long Way To A Small,
Angry Planet and maybe even A Closed And Common Orbit? Will you be waiting for the third book?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

27 thoughts on “Might Be A Closed Orbit, But Possibly Too Common For Me A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

  1. Some authors try too hard so it’s a stinker and then come back strong on the third… also must be hard to go to hard and fast deadlines if the first was a debut!

    What a great review though! I felt like you gave me all the problems without telling me anything if I still want to read it

    1. Aww, thank you so much <3 yes, I was also thinking about the middle book crisis, so maybe it's that? And yep, my idea of a review is conveying the feelings, cause ultimately, that's why we read books at all :) so glad you approve!

    1. Yeah, meh, right? Or maybe it’s the syndrome of the second book and the third one is going to be better. Sure hope so 🙂

  2. I didn’t like this one nearly as much as Long Way either. It was still good science fiction but just didn’t have the same magic. I didn’t love the characters either, Pepper seemed grouchy to me I don’t know. I did love the whole hacking shop thing and how they had to take that underwater high speed tunnel to get home- it was little worldbuilding things like that that reminded me of fist book- but other than that I ws underwhelmed. Compared to first book anyway. I think you’re right- sometimes lightning in a bottle can’t be captured again.

    I will be chomping for the third book though
    Greg recently posted…Brave New GirlMy Profile

    1. Yes, spot on! I actually didn’t realize it before you said, but she was so grouchy. I mean, I can see where she’s coming from – with her backstory and all, but that doesn’t mean I will adore her 😀
      And spot on again – I did miss the sci-fi-ness in this book too. There are sort of spaceships. But you know. Grounded ones, very non-spaceshipey 😀

  3. ah, sequels are always tough. After I’ve read the first book, my expectations are generally molded from how much I enjoyed the first book. I haven’t read either of these, but they have super interesting premises! It would be disappointing though if you didn’t know beforehand that the sequel doesn’t follow the same characters as the first book.
    kris @ lemon-notes recently posted…The Waking Land by Callie Bates | EPIC TREE ARMIES + OVERALL BLEH FEELINGMy Profile

    1. I did know! Didn’t make it better 😀 but yes, I recommend the first one A LOT. It has been around the blogs a lot as well, but I guess that was before you started blogging, so you might have not seen in. But the first book is PERFECT.

    1. Hi! Thanks for visiting, and I think nothing is wrong with you 😀 I think this is normal… it’s just that the second in the series is usually weaker, and the third one either saves it, or kills it 😀 you haven’t read these books, or at least the first one though, have you?

        1. I do really recommend the first one. It’s very character driven and a wonderful read. Hope you enjoy it if you get to it one day.

  4. Maybe it’s a trilogy in the sense that the bold are set in the same world, like a lot of fantasy novels, but they don’t have to go one after the other because they are not connected.

  5. Dang. I loved the first book and I was really excited to read the sequel. Maybe I’ll put it off a bit longer. The species and the cool cultures were one of the best parts of the first book, so if this one doesn’t have that, then I’m not too motivated to read it yet…thanks for the honest review.

  6. Hi Evelina,

    I saw you tweeting about blogging and I thought I’d check out your website. I really like it. Looks like Evelina has come a long way!

    You should consider installing an SEO plugin like Yoast or something, theres loads of good free ones.

    Keep making great stuff!

    1. Thank you 🙂 yeah, I was thinking about a SEO plugin! It’s just one of those things I never get to. Or rather, keep putting away. Thanks for recommending, I shall check it out 🙂

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