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Audiobook Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – By Becky Chambers, narrated by Patricia Rodriguez
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that's seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.
But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptilian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful - exactly what Rosemary wants.
Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They'll earn enough money to live comfortably for years... if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.
But Rosemary isn't the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.
I have rarely read a sci-fi book of such depth and obvious talent – and for this to be Becky Chambers’ debut novel is a feat in and of itself. The focus of the story is more on the stories of each of the characters, their backgrounds, how they got here, and how they will move forward together. Each crewmember on the Wayfarer is beautifully written and infused with emotion. As the relationship between Rosemary and Sissix blooms you will find yourself cheering them on. Without giving any spoilers, I was full on sobbing at one part and snort laughing at others. And at times I was absolutely floored by the philosophical questions it was leading me to, right up to and including the meaning of life!
Patricia Rodriguez was the first narrator I really listened to when I got into audiobooks and in my mind she is a queen amongst a highly skilled and lovely group of narrators. She gets into each character and gives them a voice that brings them to life in a way that makes them real in your head. If you had told me this was a production involving several narrators I would have believed you, she is that good at giving distinct voices to each character.
Honestly, what are you waiting for? This is a gem of an audiobook and well worth a listen!
Catherine Carter is a successful and driven financial advisor who aims to find happiness by following her life plan and ticking every goal off her list. Her next deadline is looming – to find her ideal man and settle down before she turns 30. Following a chance meeting with a psychic at a birthday party, the skeptical Catherine agrees to a reading and isn’t sure if what she’s told has any value, or is just the vague rantings of a con artist. But a few things she’s told stick in her head and she starts to wonder what the future holds in store for her and her life plan. Soon, Catherine agrees to meet with a private client as a financial advisor, and her world gets turned upside down when she meets the outgoing and quirky Imogene Harris, who isn’t keen on letting a perfect stranger help her with her inheritance. As the women spend more time together their relationship starts to shift from working to flirting, Catherine is faced with a choice – continue following her life plan, or take a leap and follow her heart?
M Ullrich has written a great story with lively and believable characters. It moves at a rate that keeps the reader begging for more – and never quite able to put it down for long. At times the story moves in a way that feels like the reader knows what is going to happen next, before the author suddenly throws the trope completely out the window and leaves your head spinning. It’s refreshing and exciting and utterly addicting. When the reader inevitably reaches the end of the story, a book hangover is sure to be in store!
The audio format was slightly harder to embrace as the pace of Ruby Rivers' narration felt very rushed in the first half, and there were some issues with sibilance early in the recording. The speed settled down about half way through the book and the story was so engaging that the listener is likely to forgive this and allow the narrator to find the flow of the story. And while a few of the character voices were difficult to distinguish from one another when they were speaking in the same scene, one certainly can’t fault the narrator for their enthusiasm to perform the story, and overall it is not an unpleasurable experience.
The audiobook format of this book earned itself a solid 4 stars, and is well worth a listen. This reader will definitely be looking for more from this author!