When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.
But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptilian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants.
Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years… if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.
But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.
I bought this book back in May, according to my Amazon account, and have been putting it off for so long, scared it wouldn’t live up to the amount of hype around it. Then people started talking about the sequel and figured that I really should get around to reading the first book in the series. I’m very happy to say that, for me, this book completely lived up to the hype. I want to get a physical copy of this book just so I can reread it.
All the reviews I read beforehand warned me that this was not a plotty, sci-fi, thriller kind of book. This was a very character driven kind of book and I’m glad I knew this before I went in so I wasn’t constantly looking for the plot. I love these kind of books (Ice is another favourite of mine) which is all about the different characters’ journies and the setting and how they interact with each other.
We start by following the POV of Rosemary as she joins the ship of the Wayfarer and through her, we’re introduced to the rest of the crew. The narrative shifts between each member of the crew so they each get their time to shine throughout the book and you can read about their thoughts, hopes and fears, allowing us a greater insight than we had before. I loved how not all the crew were human and those who were had a variety of different backgrounds. Rosemary is a sheltered Martian, while Ashby, the Captain, is Exodan. I think Chambers did such a good job of exploring each character and how their background shaped who they are, as well as their species and how their culture affects them on a ship which is an enclosed space for many months.
The amount of detail Chambers put in is incredible and I’m sure there is more detail that didn’t make it into the book. I feel like I have missed so many things on the first read through because I sped through it so quickly and now I can go back and reread it in order to see things I missed. The different planets, the different alien species, the history, how humans weren’t the most new and exciting thing in the universe like they are in most sci-fi.
The only thing I would say is that foreshadowing of what happened at the climax of the book was not particularly subtle. It came up and I pretty much pinpointed what detail was going to be plot relevant and how, but that is a minor quibble and it didn’t take away from what did happen. Parts of the ending still surprised me, in both good and bad ways (bad as in ‘my heart is breaking for these characters’, not badly written bad).
This book I would recommend to people who I knew would enjoy character-driven stories. Not everyone is going to love it (isn’t that the case with all the books though) but I love it, so I’m going to give it five stars.