Ah Becky Chambers. How are you so talented and able convey the depth of human emotion within 150 pages? I will never understand it, but I will happily devour everything she writes. Thanks to Tor Dot Com for a gifted copy of the book.
After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) and Mosscap (a robot sent on a quest to determine what humanity really needs) turn their attention to the villages and cities of the little moon they call home.
They hope to find the answers they seek, while making new friends, learning new concepts, and experiencing the entropic nature of the universe.
Becky Chambers’s new series continues to ask: in a world where people have what they want, does having more even matter?
I’m a huge fan of everything Becky Chambers writes. If it’s about space travel, I’m into it. If it’s about a planet and their political upheaval, let’s go. If it’s about a robot and a monk traveling across the world and looking for humans who need help, I’m all about it.
Because Becky Chambers does some things really well and it’s prevalent in all her writing: she’s really good at understanding human emotion, creating a diverse group of characters that interact with her protagonists, and deeply philosophize about the reason why we all exist. And isn’t that a crux in science fiction? We’re speeding towards the future, to another planet, to a world that’s not Earth, and in that world the same questions and desires we all struggle with are just as prevalent. Of course, I’m waxing poetic here, but if there are beings that exist within this universe outside of Earth, then I’d like to imagine them having the same level of empathy and desire for truth and meaning in their short life spans.
It’s really hard for me to distill how I felt about Prayer because it really covers a lot in such a little space. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy is much different than A Psalm for the Wild-Built. Instead of traveling through the heavily wooded areas, they’re traveling to different towns in hopes of finding people in need. Each chapter has Mosscap and Dex traveling to a new town on their way to the City and encountering the people there. In one way, it was about Mosscap learning more about human experience that it didn’t know before. In another way, it’s about Sibling Dex’s own personal journey of finding meaning as well.
I thought this was expertly done and having them journey to different towns and meet different people was the perfect vehicle to show Mosscap the infinite number of human existence. It held babies. It helped the villagers. It even acquired possessions with a satchel. I loved the interactions they had, Mosscap’s curiosity peaking with each visitor, and finding comfort in sitting down with people you don’t know and finding peace.
It was such a calm and serene story and a tribute to the way things could be. I highly recommend this one if you’ve been reading this series and I can’t wait for the next.