Can I just say, when requesting a book for review you should always employ your eyeballs for the purpose to which they evolved and actually, properly, READ the description of the book you’re requesting a copy of. Especially that bit that says the book is a sequel to another book. Which is itself a sequel to another book. Meaning the book you just requested is actually the third book in a series. So there’s a pro tip for you: read.
Brilliantly, however, Record of a Spaceborn Few was even better than I had suspected it would be based on the publisher’s blurb, and astonishingly it made absolutely no difference at all that I haven’t read the preceding two books (yet). And it was also completely different a story than I had been expecting based on that same blurb. Unlike most titles these days, the one Becky Chambers chose for this book is the most precise description of a book I have yet seen an author offer: a record of a spaceborn few is exactly what this book is. It follows a cast of a limited number of characters during a short period of their lives on a homesteader (a city-sized spaceship) called Asteria, as they orbit a star granted them by the Galactic Commons.
Now, this is all sounding a bit Star-Trek, I know, but despite the occasional alien character this is one of the best examples of writing humans I have seen in a long, long time. The complex relationships and morals that this book manages to convey while still being simple enough for me to read in less than a week of one hour per day (because I have commitments, people!) is actually astonishing. I have no experience with Ms. Chambers’ writing previous to this book, so I don’t know if this is just the way that she writes or if it is an evolution of a previous writing style or something entirely new for her, but it was fantastic. The way themes such as life, death, love, and betrayal are casually and yet meaningfully treated in Record of a Spaceborn Few made the entire reading experience an absolute pleasure and I cannot recommend this book enough. I have little room on my bookshelves at the moment but as soon as that changes, I’m going to be acquiring hard copies of the Wayfarers series and starting the whole thing from the beginning. I may have found a new favourite author.
Five star read, people.
Image credits: inset image by me, of my phone. Feature image is from the publisher’s web page for this title.
Disclaimer: I requested and was granted a review copy of this title through Netgalley, but as always the provenance of a title in no way affects my honest opinion of the content.
Categories: Science Fiction