“Are we going for an anchor or a compass? A memory to ground you, or a spark to guide you forward?”
Title: A Closed and Common Orbit
Author: Becky Chambers
Number of pages: 364 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I loved how simply yet complex this book is written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, really nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes! 10000% yes!
Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here
I don’t know how to describe it. It’s calm, it’s important, it’s original, it’s innocent, it’s beautiful.
I don’t know how else to say how I feel about it. I was a passenger in the characters’ journey, a witness of their lives. Nothing happened that left me angry, baffled or annoyed. Everything fit perfectly together even though the story took place in the past during a 9-year gap, and in the future with lots of things not described while in action but after they happened. Yet you didn’t crave the information because with everything that you knew, you easily placed things in the right place. I loved this about the book: feelings were important but they weren’t forced into you with dramatic events, you developed them by knowing these characters and “living” with them during their everyday lives.
Sidra, previously known as Lovelace, the AI in the Wayfarer, is having a hard time adjusting to her new body. Everything is so limited; she doesn’t have eyes everywhere and doesn’t know everything. Pepper and Blue are taking care of her but there’s only so much they can do; Sidra needs to take care of herself and find a way to fit or else she’ll be dismantled and her friends arrested.
Alternating from Sidra’s chapters, we also have Pepper’s past life chapters in which we know where she came from and why she is so determined to help Sidra. Pepper’s story is sad but hopeful even when the hardness of life made hope impossible in young Pepper’s eyes. She is an enhanced human, created to serve, and made believe there is nothing outside the factory’s walls where she is kept alongside other girls to work as slaves.
Past and present seemed unconnected, almost two different books read at the same time. But they weren’t and when you see the connection, you start seeing the big design and you love every bit of it.
This is a story about family and friendship. A family you make for yourself. Sidra and Tak’s friendship was adorable. Tak is an Aeluon, a silver alien with scales as skin and cheeks that change color depending on feelings. Tak is also a shon meaning he changes gender once a month. This is never up for discussion; it was simply accepted as something that happened and people changed pronouns accordingly. This kind of diversity was refreshing and seeing Tak as both male and female and understanding more about their culture and habits, made me like Aeluons more than I already did after the first book.
All the aliens are weirdly fascinating. I hope I can see more of them in the next book! I just have to wait until the end of July. I can do it, right? Only a little patience.