Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers


5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

Do you ever have the feeling after finishing a book that it was written especially for you?

Because that’s exactly how I felt after reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

It was perfect, perfect, PERFECT. Everything I wanted in a sci-fi novel. It felt like a bit of a mash up of two of my favourite things: Firefly and Mass Effect. Firefly (which I feel I have compared a LOT of books, but this is the ultimate) because of the setting and the crazy crew, Mass Effect because of the alien races and the world-building. Here are just some of the things that were truly, wonderfully amazing about this book:

  • The crew of the Wayfarer. They felt so alive, each character was fantastically crafted and felt so alive. I WANTED TO BE FRIENDS WITH THEM ALL SO BAD. Even grumpy-face Corbin.
  • The story. Although actually not a lot happened in terms of plot, I really loved that. Most of the book was scenes between various members of the crew, a study into their relationships and lives.
  • A wide range of alien species. And not just humanoid aliens, but bug-like aliens, crab-like aliens… and you know what? The female aliens were not sexualised. They did not have obviously ‘female’ features. You would not believe how notable this is…
  • The fact that these aliens had their own languages, and some of them weren’t verbal but based on hand signals, facial expressions or even the colouring of their faces. It was so refreshing to read about all these alien cultures that were so DIFFERENT from our own, rather than a re-hashed human race.
  • The use of the pronouns ‘xe’ and ‘xyr’ in some cases, which is the first time I’ve encountered that in a book. I just felt like the fact that Becky Chambers included these shows that she put a lot of thought into sexuality and gender within this future alien society, delving deep into the world building.


Even if you’re not a huge science fiction fan, this book could definitely work for you – it is so much more than just that. It is less about the setting and more about the characters, their relationships and the dynamic on the ship. I am just so, SO happy that I finally picked this up. It worked perfectly for me, and has quickly made its way into my favourites. My only regret here is that I didn’t read the book sooner – although that does mean I have slightly less time to wait for the next one… Additionally, it’s also given me an urge to re-watch Firefly and replay the Mass Effect series – perhaps that will sate my appetite whilst I wait!

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8 thoughts on “Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers”

  1. I agree with pretty much this entire review although I would’ve enjoyed slightly more plot. I’m not sure about how I feel about the next book not following the main crew thought, because I want to know so much more about them.

      1. Ah okay, that’ll definitely still be interesting though. I agree, I hope we get to see the others too.

  2. Wow, this sounds amazing! I’ve seen some positive buzz around but you’re actually the first reviewer I’ve come across who mentioned the author’s treatment of gender/sexuality. I definitely need to read this, just based on that alone. The comparisons to Firefly certainly don’t hurt either! šŸ˜€

    1. It was really interesting to read, and I also felt that I learnt a little about different pronouns. There is also a character who prefers to be referred to as ‘they’ and ‘them’. ‘Xe’ and ‘xyr’ was basically the default for where no gender was given, and it was actually the universal polite pronoun which was interesting!

  3. Sounds fun- and I like that it focuses more on the crew rather than the plot since the crew sounds so fascinating anyway. I’ve seen that mentioned in other reviews as well, that the crew is awesome. I may have to give this one a go.

    1. They are just perfect – not everyone will like every crew member, but I bet you’re sure to have at least one you love.

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