Here I am, once again, with mini reviews. This time, I am here with a few books that I read last month, I absolutely loved and enjoyed these books and I hope that if you haven’t picked them up yet, you would want to after reading the synopsis or my review. I mean, the latter part is hoping for a bit much but let’s ignore that and move onto the couple of books that stole my heart.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Wayfarers #1)
Title: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
Author: Becky Chambers
Published Date: December 31st 2015
Length: 404 pages
Genre: Fiction, Science fiction, LGBTQIA+, Adult fiction, Space Opera
Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space-and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe-in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.
Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.
Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.
There’s so much I want to say about this book and how much I loved it but I don’t think I can do it any justice whatsoever. This is the sort of book that truly reminded me how much I truly loved reading. Reading about characters that made their lives better despite the hardships they regularly faced. If you want to read an action packed book, this is not the book for you, if you are in for a truly plot-centered book then this isn’t the book for you. It is a book where a reader is just reminded how much common people matter and that their stories are just as worthy of being told. There needn’t be any grand old quest for the truth or glory (although they are on a quest of sorts, it is totally a secondary if not a tertiary plot point), there just needs to be people who are complex, who are not always great at things but people who are also living their lives.
There’s colonialism, xenophobia and so many other themes addressed in this book and they are all deftly handled too. One of the biggest points of its awesomeness is the fact that it stays so very human despite the fact that there aren’t many humans in the story. It just gives a sentient species at its most natural/normal. It has found family, it has morally misfits who have made themselves into a family, it has some truly great character interactions in that they are subtle and yet they are obvious. There’s great representation, there’s inter-species relationships that never take the front stage but still remain important and valid.
Overall, I just truly loved the long drive that was this book. It gave me a great reminder as to why I really loved reading about characters and their very flawed existence.
Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
Title: Miss Benson’s Beetle
Author: Rachel Joyce
Publisher: Random House UK, Transworld Publishers
Published Date: July 23rd, 2020
Length: 400 pages
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Adventure, Adult fiction, Literary fiction
Margery Benson’s life ended the day her father walked out of his study and never came back. Forty years later, abandoning a dull job, she advertises for an assistant. The successful candidate is to accompany Margery on an expedition to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist. Enid Pretty is not who she had in mind. But together they will find themselves drawn into an adventure that exceeds all Margery’s expectations, eventually finding new life at the top of a red mountain.
This is a story that is less about what can be found than the belief it might be found; it is an intoxicating adventure story and it is also a tender exploration of a friendship between two unforgettable women that defies all boundaries.
This book is so good! I am so glad that I requested it on NetGalley and was approved for the same. It is not at all my regular genre and I needed something different but good for my reading to come back to me. It’s a story of a woman who is just trying her best to live in a post World War Britain of shortage of things and rationing. On top of that, the school she teaches at has girls who find her to be a funny looking teacher. Worthy of being mocked for her appearance. After an incident wherein she finally loses her patience with her students, the teaching body and the school in general, she’s left to pick up the pieces of her temper. In optimism, she decides to go back to her basics. The things she had truly been interested in and for that, she puts out an ad for a companion/assistant for the journey. Margery Benson is going to find the beetle that nobody has been able to.
In all her interviews, she finds that there aren’t really people who are eligible or even interested in this and she ends up with her least favourite candidate. Enid Pretty. She’s not at all what Benson wanted and yet she’s the only one who would stick around. Margery is friendless and awkward, she’s middle aged and very large in comparison to her peers and in a complete opposite direction, Enid Pretty is illiterate, chatty and traditionally very pretty and attractive. She’s not what Margery wanted in an assistant. It’s their journey towards something more that made this whole book. They both have their own reasons as to why they want to leave the country and why it feels like an important journey. The friendship that blooms between them is so good!
Overall, it’s just a story of two women who are trying to find if there’s more in their life, if there could be more. In doing so, they find joy, tests that check their endurance and just life. It’s atmospheric, it’s fun and it’s also a bit tragic. I found it to be very engaging and touching.