Book reviews

Book review: Record of a Spaceborn Few

This is the third book by Becky Chambers, taking place in a universe where Earth is no longer a real home for humanity. This book, unlike the previous two, really focus on those humans who left, specifically the people who still make up the Exoden fleet. This is the group of ship-like-cities or city-like-ships that left the Earth behind.

As we find out from several of the stories, they were gifted various technologies from the various aliens in the GC that made their way of life more tenable. But there’s still a some unease between the GC and the Exoden fleet, which some of the stories allude to.

Unlike the previous books, this one doesn’t really have a main central plot. It’s more like a few loosely intertwined stories, following some Exoden fleet families and a few outsiders. It made it less compelling a read than the first few, as I latched onto some of the characters in those books and just loved reading about them. However, it doesn’t mean that this one was boring, it was just different.

I enjoyed the different perspectives, though I wanted to know more about the ships and how things worked. You got brief glimpses through the lives and jobs of the characters but it was all in the background sometimes. There also wasn’t a whole lot of tension, minus one biggish thing that happens in the novel. So it was pleasant, but perhaps not as compulsive as the previous books. It was almost more philosophical as a novel, describing what made the Exoden fleet the way it was and the culture it wanted to preserve.

Very much like the first few books, there is an undeniable joy in this universe. A positivity and sense of hopefulness which I always appreciate. There aren’t real good aliens and bad aliens, there are just aliens co-existing and trying to make the GC work. Sure, there are bad people but not a bad collective of people. I just like the idea of a future where aliens co-exist and share their experiences.

So, it might not suit everyone, especially if you want a plot driven, action adventure. It gives reflective glimpses into what a space faring bunch of humans might become, how they might behave and the traditions that will define them. It was great.

I think if you appreciate the tone of Becky Chambers’ previous books, you’ll get along with this one. Not as many aliens, but another insight into the GC. I really hope there are many more books to come as I really love this universe.

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