My Rating: 5/5
A Closed And Common Orbit is the standalone sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Although I was initially sad that we weren’t following the Wayfarer crew anymore, all concerns vanished within the first two chapters. This book is even better than the first. Chambers writing style is smoother, and she incorporates a little bit of suspense while still keeping the bright, colorful, and hopeful tone that makes her stand out in the sci-fi world.
Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.
Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.
This book alternates between Pepper’s childhood, and Sidra’s (aka Lovelace) present. As we discover Pepper’s backstory escaping a clone work factory, we start to understand why she would take on the dangerous task of hosting a body-kitted sentient AI.
On Port Coriol Sidra (Lovelace) struggles to fit into a body that was not made for her, and makes her first friend in the gloriously written Tak, an Aeluon tattoo artist and ex-historian.
I like the way that Sidra and Peppers stories’ mirror each other, and as usual, Chambers challenges us to think about ‘otherness’ and community.
The world building in this novel is spectacular, and I was delighted to see Port Coriol and it’s inhabitants fleshed out. Chambers excels at creating epic futuristic alien civilizations and then talking about the everyday lives of it’s lesser citizens. No one is saving the universe here, they are just trying to be happy with themselves and each other.
The next book in this series, Record Of A Spaceborne Few, comes out in July and I can’t wait to read it. Chambers is most certainly an author whose work I will continue to follow closely!