The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet


Title: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Author: Becky Chambers

Series: Wayfarers, #1

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Release Date: July 15th 2014


Four Stars

Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there.

But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war.

Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

In the space beyond was Hedra Ka. A cracking scab of a planet, choked with storms and veins of lava. A mist of rocks floated in orbit, a reminder of its recent formation. It was a young world, unwelcoming, resentful of its existence.
“That is the angriest looking thing I’ve ever seen,” Ashby said.

I’d heard a lot of things about The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet before picking it up, everyone seemed to love it so of course I added it to my to-read as soon as I finished reading the first five-star review I saw. This book ended up being nothing like I expected it to be, but it was still a brilliant read which I’d recommend it to any and all fans of the sci-fi genre.

After the mistakes her father made, mistakes which turned her into a pariah and drove her off her planet, Rosemary has taken a job as the Wayfarer’s clerk under a new name and with a new identity chip. The Wayfarer build wormholes which isn’t glamorous but brings in the money they need. However the captain is thinking bigger, Ashby wants to start taking on jobs which bring more money but without the equipment on their ship to handle those jobs it’s just a pipe dream. Until the Galactic Commons, GC, announce an alliance with the Toremi Ka people.

“Ninety percent of all problems are caused by people being assholes.”
“What causes the other ten percent?” asked Kizzy.
“Natural disasters,” said Nib.

The Wayfarer crew have a chance to make history and create a wormhole connecting Central space to Hedra Ka, the capital planet in Toremi Ka territory, a job which will earn them enough money to take on the higher level jobs Ashby has started looking at. However they soon discover the road they are travelling is not going to be an easy one. Travelling across space for months on end to reach Hedra Ka is dangerous on its own and that saying nothing of the troubles which find them along the way.

The new alliance is still on rocky ground; and travelling towards the territory of a species that have been fighting a war amongst themselves for years can the Wayfarer crew really trust that they will be safe when they reach Hedra Ka?

The plot of this book is about the journey but it doesn’t take centre stage in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet; instead the characters do. In terms of diversity I’ve never read a sci-fi book that has as much as this one does. There are many different breeds of aliens we meet along the way; aliens who identify as two people instead of one, aliens that change from female to male halfway through their lifecycle, aliens who are discriminated against and aliens who discriminate against humans.

…The Characters

“The truth is, Rosemary, that you are capable of anything. Good or bad. You always have been, and you always will be. Given the right push, you, too, could do horrible things. That darkness exists within all of us.”

We spend most of this novel with the crew of the Wayfarer, all of the characters have such wonderful development. Rosemary is running from her past, and this takes her to the Wayfarer where she discovers a new way of life and new family. Rosemary’s journey is much like the readers; she doesn’t have any experience with being outside her home planet, or being in space for extended periods of time, or even dealing with all the alien species she comes across outside of the classroom.

Ashby is the captain of the Wayfarer, part of a pacifist race who is forced to evaluate his ideals when his crew is put at risk and when his lover, who is fighting a war, arrives on his doorstep. Sissix is an Aandrisk who has created a family aboard the Wayfarer but has very different family values and relationship ideals to those humans do. Kizzy and Jenks are the mech techs aboard who are both a little wild and a little crazy but who have become closer than siblings in the time they’ve spent aboard the Wayfarer.

“Brothers you can’t get rid of. They get who you are, and what you like, and they don’t care who you sleep with or what mistakes you make, because brothers aren’t mixed up in that part of your life. They see you at your worst, and they don’t care.”

The best part about this story was the relationships the crew had with one another. When they are forced to face their past, or deal with some kind of devastating consequence from their actions they lean on each other as needed. Even the characters like Ohan or Corbin, who seem to hold themselves apart from the rest of the crew, still value the family they have found aboard the Wayfarer.

There are a lot of themes explored in this book and the way they are dealt with was wonderfully written. From the war on Dr Chef’s home world which has pretty much wiped out his people to the discrimination against AI’s and clones which cause issues aboard the Wayfarer, especially when it comes to the ships AI, Lovey.

…The Setting

“They were out in the open, for real this time, as spacers should be. And all around them, black, black, black, full of jewelled stars and coloured clouds. It was a sight she knew well, a sight she lived alongside, but in that moment, she was seeing it for the first time. Everything had changed.”

The world building in this book was incredibly written, probably in part due to the amazing character development. Every species we came across was given their own history, their own culture their own language and gestures, and their own look which made them so different from humans. There wasn’t just one world created in this book, instead there were many for all the different species we were introduced to. From the Tokath who have been at war with each other for years now, to Ohan, a Sianat Pair, who can navigate through the space between space, and to Dr. Chef who’s story about the war his people fought was heartbreaking but so real. We learn a little about each of the characters, each of the species, more and more as the plot progresses and it all comes together to create an unforgettable story.

By the end I was so attached to each of these characters that the last few chapters were heartbreaking. The journey the Wayfarer crew went on was a long and hard one but it was an unforgettable adventure reading it. There is a second book, a companion novel, that was released a few days ago and it has shot to the top of my to-read list after finishing this book.

What did you think of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

19 thoughts on “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

  1. Great review! 🙂 I’m really looking forward to reading this book. It sounds like something I would absolutely love. Plus it’s been a long time since I have read a character oriented novel, so it’s about time I rectify that! I really hope to read it some time soon-ish. (Though I say that with every book I want to read, so who knows when I’ll actually get around to it.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Anna. It’s an amazing book, and if you enjoy sci-fi I would highly highly recommend it (honestly even if you don’t enjoy sci-fi I’d recommend it!)
      In terms of character orientated books this is one of the best I’ve read so you definitely won’t be disappointed if it’s what you go into this book looking for.
      I say that with every book I want to read as well. I’m a mood reader so really who knows when I’ll get round to the many books on my to-read list at this point! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do enjoy sci-fi and I need to read a lot more of it! (I tend to gravitate towards fantasy more than sci-fi.) And this book will, most likely, be my next sci-fi read.
        Haha, I’m a mood reader as well so I understand perfectly! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m the same; my sci-fi read list is very pitiful when compared to my fantasy read list! I can’t wait to see what you think of this book Anna, it’s definitely one of my favourite sci-fi books now.
        Yeah, I guess you could say that’s one of the downfalls of being a mood reader! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG! I’m so happy that one of us has finally read this amazing book! what an EPIC review Beth! I love that this book is described as character driven since those are my favorite reads. The fact that this is paired with a well developed world, diversity, and all sorts of goodies makes me kick myself for not just picking this up already. it’s going to happen though, I’ve never wanted something so bad to happen than me sitting down to read this book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Better late than never right! 🙂 It’s definitely an awesome book so I hope you enjoy it as well when you get around it, in terms of character based books this is a favourite of mine, and I’m glad you enjoyed my review so much too! 😀
      There is nothing I can really fault about this book, every chapter I read was better than the last and I’d recommend you pick it up as soon as possible! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved your review! I’m adding this to my wish list. I’m trying to branch out and give a try to stories I would not normally pick. Sci-fi is not a genre I read that much, so I’m curious about this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie! Oh in terms of sci-fi novels it’s like nothing I’ve read before and it was just a brilliant story. Plenty of diversity, and plenty of amazing character you will fall in love with. 🙂
      If you do pick this book up I hope you enjoy it! 😀


  4. I like the sound of this one. I’ve actually been looking for more books that deal with aliens to add to my TBR lately and I’ve also seen a lot of people talking about this. And I love the diverseness you described in the different species of aliens and how some even change genders halfway through their life. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like that before. I’ll definitely have to check this one out one of these days. It’s seems like a unique read. Great review, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a really good book, and if you’re looking for more books that deal with aliens this is one that I would highly highly recommend you add to your to-read list. In terms of the diverseness and the different species there’s nothing I’ve read that even comes close to this one.
      Thanks Melissa, I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Funnily enough I already had it on my TBR. I think I saw it on twitter one day and thought the cover looked awesome so I looked it up and added it 🙈. I keep adding books to my TBR and then forgetting that I did. You’re welcome, Beth! I hope I do too. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The cover is amazing. And a big part of why I added this book to my to-read list after reading the review for it!
        Oh I’ve done that loads recently as well, and then someone mentions them and I’m like ‘oh yeah, I added that to my TBR list ages ago!’ 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Jill. I’d recommend it if you’re looking to branch out into the sci-fi genre a little but yeah it isn’t for everyone. I hope you do enjoy it, it’s a brilliantly written book with some of the most amazing characters I’ve read so far! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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