A Closed and Common Orbit (The Wayfarers #2) by Becky Chambers

Science Fiction, 364 pages, published in 2017

Lovelace was supposed to be a ship’s AI system, but after being inserted into a body of her own, she has to figure out what that means for her. Twenty years in the past, Jane 23 is working in a factory, the only home she’s ever known.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’m surprised again by how much I loved this book! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the first book in this series, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, because I don’t tend to love space-heavy sci-fi like these, but these books are so character driven that it doesn’t matter to me.

In the main part of the book following Lovelace, later renamed Sidra, there really is no plot. Sidra is trying to grapple with the fact that she is in an unfamilar body, and a body that could get her in trouble if she’s caught. Her story was so frustrating at times because for an AI, she doesn’t put together the pieces that are right in front of her. Sidra spends so long denying that she’s a person, when her struggles – finding her place, her purpose, her interests – are all very human struggles (I should say…sentient being struggles because there are a lot more species than humans in this book).

Jane’s story is a bit more plot driven. It becomes clear how she relates to the main story pretty early on, but her story is about survival and strength. It was hard to read at times, because when I imagined myself in her shoes, I would have given up long before making it through that ordeal.

There are a few main species of aliens and I loved getting to see them interact. The last book took place mostly on a ship, but this book takes place on a moon in a city, so you can see how different species live together. There is a main character that is Aeluon, a species that wasn’t explored that much in the previous book, so it was definitely cool to learn more. The species are all so different from humans and I just love learning more about them.

At first, I missed the characters from the first book, but eventually I became so wrapped up in these characters that I didn’t care anymore. This book focuses a lot on family and especially found family, so it felt very inviting and comforting to me. This series somehow feels nostalgic, even though this is my first time reading it.

I just really enjoy this series! If you are a plot-driven reader, I’m not sure you’ll find much to enjoy, but if you like character-driven books, definitely check this one out! I can not wait to read the next one, and there is an upcoming fourth book as well!

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