Diversity, Loved-it, Scifi, Women's

A Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet Or the sweetest and most fangirl-provoking scifi read I've enjoyed this year

So I’ve been putting this one off for quite a while. Because sometimes, when you read a really, and I mean REALLY good book, you’re just afraid your review will not do it justice.

I still think that.

 

But, despite that, I have decided to finally get to it and write the best review I can muster, because I just loved that book so much, I have to respect it in some way.

So this might be a long one.

Why did I love this book so much? Oh, I wish it was easy to answer that. There are just too many answers to this question. First of all, it’s just such a non-typical scifi book. It does not concentrate on plots, plans and big angry sciencey words.

(Sciencey is totally a word.)

It focuses on the characters, on their development and their dynamics. It also looks many societal problems deep in the eye and shows it to all be resolvable, if not in the most popular, but perhaps the most compassionate way. And the part that I love about it the most – it’s such a feminine scifi book. Let’s start with the fact that females don’t write scifi as often as males, and therefore more often than not scifi leans into the rational, cold direction (not necessarily always a bad thing). But this is such a personal take on scifi that you can see each character come alive, live and breathe, basically. It focuses on the individual rather than the whole big picture, which tends to be the case in a lot of scifi. I don’t know what some hardcore readers would say, but for me, as a female scifi fan, this is something I’ve wanted to see in the genre for so long, and I didn’t even consciously know that THIS was what I was longing for.

Other than that, let me just sum up why I loved it and why you should check it out in list form:

  • It’s one of the most diverse books I’ve read (in general). In terms of race, LGBTQ and even general individual sentience. The things you will see here WILL expand your horizons. Even if some people might be uncomfortable with it, it’s such a great and healthy take on it. Personally, I loved the way Becky Chambers built her universe. It’s how I see mine.
  • The author has made up so many new words for technology, societal things and even food! Not even mentioning all the races and even the vocab from some of them. I absolutely LOVED this. It just makes you so immersed in the book, it’s like it’s unfolding in front of your eyes for real. It’s such a great experience.
  • It has so many races, some of which are VERY ingenuos. THIS is real scifi. Not just humanoids in blue and green. These are actual aliens, some of which think in very different ways or look and communicate in ways you couldn’t imagine.
  • The character development is SPECTACULAR. I don’t think I can name a book which guides us so much through the personal paths of the characters. You actually see them changing, making progress. Deciding things. It’s what makes them really come alive. So alive you want to draw fanart. That never happens to me.
  • The book just makes you so comfortable. Like you’re living with them on the ship. And when you’re snuggled in and safe, it plunges you ever so deep. And brings you up and down again. You will not be able to take your nose out of the book starting at about 50% and upwards that you will not even put it down to cross the street or get some sleep. Seriously. I read it while walking outside. Don’t do that, kids. JUST CANCEL ALL APPOINTMENTS TO READ IT.
  • The ending. It leaves you absolutely craving for the next one, cause you just love the characters so much. And you care about what will happen next. The ending is somewhat satisfying, although not for everyone. Which is why you worry so much you can’t wait for the next installment.

To sum up… You should give yourself a gift and read this. Even if you’re not a scifi fan. I could compare it to “The girl with all the gifts” – if they say that is a zombie book for people who don’t like zombie stories, so this could also be said to be a scifi book for people who don’t like scifi. And yet, I think scifi fans will also love it.

I would really love to hear your opinion. Especially if you’re scifi fan and you read this, what did you think?

Also, I am planning to maybe write up another post in the future with character descriptions and a little more about them. I am curious if you are interested in that, so if you are, please comment and tell me!

Love to you all, and I hope we all stumble into books like this a little more often.

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.

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Danya @ Fine Print
Guest
Yay! This review came at the perfect time. I’ve just started reading A Long Way… and I really like it so far — you’re right, it’s light on those big angry sciencey words! Which is good, because those intimidate me a bit, haha. Diversity and inclusivity is so important for me when I’m reading/recommending books, and I’ve heard from lots of people that this book is one of the best for that. I’m so glad that it’s not just one kind of diversity or token diversity, because that’d be so disappointing. I hope I love this book as much as… Read more »
Greg
Guest

I’ve been really curious about this one after seeing some rave reviews. And I just bought it last week after it went on sale- yay! I love character development and sounds like this is chock full of it. I want to read it for that alone! And it sounds like it brings the sci fi part of sci fi with all the aliens and the well thought out world. I’m even more enthusiastic about this now. Fantastic review!

Oh and I think your character post sounds great!

Prabhleen
Guest

Hey great review! I totally love diversity since I am not white myself (I am Indian) so really, if a book features a character who is not white, I feel really happy. Will definitely check it out!

Cait @ Paper Fury
Guest

I OFFICIALLY AM CONVINCED!! I’ve seen people flailing over this for quite a while but I didn’t know all the whys. And omggg exceptionally great character development? Diversity? Female sci-fi author? *signs self up immediately* I don’t even read a lot of sci-fi BUT I HAVE A NEED FOR THIS BOOK. I FEEL IT.

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews
Guest

OK, Evelina, you have convinced me! Diversity, great characters, sciencey stuff… I need this book in my life for sure! I really love books that manage to make me expand my horizons and see things slightly differently. And it’s really not something that happens all that often 🙂
Great review!

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[…] finally started A Close And Common Orbit, sequel of A Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet! So far it’s not as instantly engrossing as the first book was, but I’m sure it will […]

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[…] Next week we have a funny review of a bad book called Le Chateau (I always try to make those bad reviews enjoyable for you!) and a review for A Closed And Common Orbit which I liked, but not as much as I loved A Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet. […]

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[…] 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 […]

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[…] A list about hopeful scifis would be incomplete without this one! A Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet has been one of my best reads of 2016. Deemed “space for non-space readers”, or “space-lite”, it’s just as representative of the scifi genre as anything, in my opinion. This here, I should say, is the female take on space. Not centered on politics, technology or machinations – A Long Way is a completely character driven story, and believe me, you will weep when something happens to at least one of them. Praised for the incredible diversity it can boast, as well as simple… Read more »
Isabel
Guest
Ha! “JUST CANCEL ALL APPOINTMENTS TO READ IT.” is so accurate. I’ve been reading this anywhere and everywhere and I’m bloody all over the place. I remember starting this at our local social security service queue and ended up 2 months later in front of our stove while cooking dried shrimp along with a whole host of other places and positions in between. Also, this was my first sci-fi book and there are no words to describe how delighted I am by it. I guess as a reader, you develop an instinct for knowing you’d love a book by just… Read more »
Isabel
Guest

I think I just want to buy all the books just so I know what happens especially since the ending of Planet seemed kinda hurried for me. Don’t tell me but I wish Lovey and Jenks will meet again.

Do tell me your recommendations! 🙂

Isabel
Guest

THANK YOU! It’s fine! I have a reading list and if it gets too many, there’s always next year. 🙂 We never stop reading.

I’ll follow you on IG, too. 🙂 Since I don’t have a blog…

Isabel
Guest

@ihaveonebell 🙂 It took me a month to reply! Adding you now (couldn’t reply to your last comment)