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?