Published by Hodder & Stoughton on August 13th 2015
Genres: Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction
Format: Print, Paperback
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.
I actually love this book so, so much. I heard a lot of people talk about this on booktube, and I really thought it reminded me of Fireflly. After reading, I can say that it does, and it doesn’t, in the best way possible. It reminds me of Firefly in that it features a cast of adorable and lovable characters who happen to live in space. It isn’t really a space-cowboy space romp at all. There’s more depth to it, in my opinion. Also, I must say that for a debut novel, this is absolutely amazing. She packed so much into a book that isn’t very long. It feels like you’re reading a lot more than what should be able to fit in 400 pages. Now, let’s get on to discussing this beauty. We first meet a woman named Rosemary, who is the newest member of the crew aboard the Wayfarer, a tunneling ship. Their job is to basically punch holes or tunnels into space, and these tunnels create shortcuts so that it’s easier to navigate to other parts of space in much less time. Rosemary is a human who was born on Mars after humans fled Earth (after it was destroyed). She has been given the position of clerk, which means she will take care of all administrative duties aboard the ship.
The crew have been offered a new job, which means that they must travel to a more remote area of space, to a small angry planet (hello, title reference), where a race of people called the Toremi live. Getting to Toremi space takes a few standards, or years, and we follow the crew on their space adventures as they navigate there. We meet many of the crew member’s friends, and visit other planets, which kept me very much interested. The Toremi have been newly added to the Galactic Commons, and an alliance has been formed. However, they are not known for being a peaceful race, they are often at war with each other and are seen as dangerous, so the mission is intense.
One of my favourite things about the book is the way in which the different species that are described in this book are fleshed out so well. The world building that goes along with the species is done so well. Each different species is described with such detail, along with all the planets, cultural, and political systems. Nothing really ever felt out of place, or two-dimensional. We have Rosemary, who is a more wealthy, higher-class human, and we have two other humans are from lesser colonies that occurred slightly later. We have Sissix, who is an Aandrisk. She looks almost reptilian, she has scales as well as feathers. This species is very interesting; they are always “naked” in the human sense of the word, they don’t feel the need to cover themselves up with clothes. They are always touching each other, which can either be non-sexual touching or coupling. Their culture and customs are so interesting as well, I loved learning about everything. Every single species is unique in their own way.
The things that the crew encounters are described so well that you can really visualize everything while reading, and it makes the experience so amazing. I also loved learning about all the technical spacey stuff. I thought it was explained with such a good balance of information dumps (not in a bad way, but weaved into conversations with Rosemary, being the new member aboard the ship, and through the thoughts and actions of the characters. The plot is both character based and (a little) adventure based. We spend a lot of time learning about these characters, their stories, and their development. We see what it’s like to live on a spaceship, and how the characters interact with each other, but we also get to see what it’s like to punch a hole into space and how intense it can be.
All I have left to say is: if you’re looking for a book that will give you the satisfaction of a fun space romp, but also give you a really cozy feeling with awesome characters and world building, GO READ THIS. It’ll make you laugh, and it’ll make you feel all the feels. I also plan on reading the companion novel to this, which is A Closed and Common Orbit, so look out for that review in the future. Also, if you’d like to purchase this book, feel free to do so through my Book Depository affiliate link here.