{Audiobook} Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

A Closed and Common Orbit

Becky Chambers

Wayfarers #2

Narrator: Rachel Dulude

Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for – and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.

A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers’ beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effectand Star Wars.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Published: October 20th 2016

Ableism, Abuse, Animal Death, Grief, Mention of Drug Use, Slavery, Violence, Diaspora, Blood and Child/Death Depiction

As alway, Dulude is amazing. She is able to convey emotion diversely within each character, whether it be comforting, sad, happy, conflicted– you just feel the characters come to life. At this point I can’t imagine anyone else more perfect for this series.

This is probably going to be a short review because I had read it a month ago and I was too busy enjoying my listen and not taking adequate notes. Shame is me. Clearly, I really liked this read. I made it a point to make this my first listen of the year, I needed to start off 2022 with good vibes and this delivered.

This story starts minutes after the first book, so I appreciate how it was integrated into the story and caught up in such a seamless way. We are following Lovelace after she has just made the decision to leave her Wayfarer crew in a new synthetic body and go with Pepper to start a new life. Changing her name to Sidra, we follow her as she goes through the struggle of discovering who she is, what her purpose is and how she is to adjust to her new life.

Considering I’m not big on setting, I really appreciate the bigger picture here. Sure, staying in one place may become boring, but reading this series I can see the vision of exploring the galaxy one book at a time. I enjoy it and honestly I enjoyed our new setting. Pepper’s little shop, the crowed marketplace, the clubs– it felt like a community in a place where outsiders reside.

“The planet was beautiful. The planet was horrible. The planet was full of people, and they were beautiful and horrible, too.” 

As for our characters, from page one something about Sidra was likable. It’s how someone’s energy just draws you in even in their unflattering moments– you understood her frustration in being in a body that felt complicated to her, in a setting that was foreign to her. And her journey on consent, autonomy, self reflection and finding a purpose spoke to me and I feel will speak to many. As someone who had to take a similar journey- it’s messy and as I’d mentioned above, Sidra’s journey was one that struck a little too close to home in all of the right ways.

However, I have to say Pepper may have stolen my heart. Her POV, from both the past and present, learning where she came from and how her grief stuck with her. The way she coped and eventually found herself. From the start she was so capable and strong and daring and I just loved her so much. In all of her messy phases… I loved her. The way she had enforced Sidra have free will and understand that she is her own person, even in their disagreements, her views of consumerism– she’s just a joy.

“Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we’re doing here. So, the easiest way to stare reality in the face and not utterly lose your shit is to believe that you have control over it.” 

This series as a whole has a way of being gentle with the topics it handles. Not only the tougher matters, but even the way motherhood is discussed is done in such a subtle way. It was something I’d deeply appreciated in not only subject matter but in conjunction with sentient rights and what makes a person.

Despite the aforementioned comfy vibe this book gave, the middle did have a way of… losing it steam? It became monotonous sadly: Sidra going along her day, doing the same things. I get this is a quiet sort of book, but it’s inevitable that pacing will suffer along the way. However, I cannot recommend this book enough– it’s a sit down with some tea and unwind your bones sort of read and it’s lovely.

3 thoughts on “{Audiobook} Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers”

  1. You’ve written a great review here! tbh I picked up A Closed and Common Orbit over half a year ago, really liked the beginning… and then got distracted during the quiet middle part and drifted away. Whoops. But your review made me remember how much I enjoyed at least the beginning, so thank you so much for a reminder to go back and finish it! (Also, I shall definitely keep my ears open for the audiobook version now; I’m always on the prowl for good audiobook narrators).

    Liked by 1 person

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