Ahoy there me mateys! I absolutely fell in love with this author’s first and second novels. This is the third book in the Wayfarers series. It actually can be read as a stand-alone, though I still recommend readin’ them in order.
What I find fascinating about this series is how each book feels so different from the others in both tone and writing style and yet the books keep getting better and better. I gobbled this one up.
This book focuses on the Exodus Fleet which were the generation ships that left Earth long ago to find a new place among the stars. They did find a stopping point and many, many subsequent generations have left the ships and adapted to life on planets throughout the galaxy. Yet there still remains a sizable population on board the fleet. But the ships are old and dealing with non-humans have led many changes. Does the fleet serve a purpose anymore?
The beginning of the book starts with a catastrophe that the impacts the remainder of the story. The book follows several points of view:
- Tessa – her brother left the Fleet and she stayed on to raise her family; did she make the right choice for her children and herself staying behind?
- Kip – a teenager who doesn’t know what direction his life should take; can he find the correct task on board or does he need to be anywhere but where he is?
- Sawyer – a young adult who grew up planetside but visits the Fleet to understand his cultural past and to explore a possible new future; is he prepared for a new life in space?
- Isobel – an archivist tasked with preserving the history of Earth as well as recording the present for those to come; how can she make sure the correct memories and events are preserved when so many people seem to be leaving the Fleet?
- Eyas – a caretaker of the dead dealing with the aftermath of the catastrophe; has her function been superseded by the recent technological changes in the Fleet or can she regain the sense of purpose of her task?
Side note: there is also an academic “alien” visitor to the Fleet doing research that I adored! Ye get to read some of the academic journal entries and observe some on board conversations.
This book is a character driven story. The purpose, for this reader at least, was to delve into the lives of the Fleet residents and explore the past, present, and potential future of the humans who reside in the stars. I found all viewpoints to be wonderful snippets of the life of humans trying to figure out their places in a universe greater than anything imaginable to those who came from Earth. The book is bittersweet at times but overall powerful and optimistic. I love this series and hope Becky Chambers has many more stories to tell.
Also the crew has been giving this one rave reviews as well:
Mogsy @ thebibliosanctum’s review – “What more can I say? Becky Chambers is probably one of the most remarkable talents to break out in recent years, and even with three books under her belt in the Wayfarer series, she’s showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, I think her stories are only getting better and better. Go and read this book. Read A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet too, if you haven’t already. And A Closed and Common Orbit. Read it all. You won’t regret it.”
Sarah @ theillustratedpage’s review – “Obviously, this is quite a large POV cast! At first, I was concerned about this decision — it is hard to make such large casts work well, but Becky Chambers managed it . . . The large cast also helps make this the story of The Exodus Fleet instead of the story of individuals. All in all, it was an excellently handled narrative decision.”
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
From the ground, we stand. From our ship, we live. By the stars, we hope
The incredible new novel by Becky Chambers, author of the beloved The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.
Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.
Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.
Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it.
Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.
When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question:
What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?
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