A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
How rare is it that a sequel or second book in a series outshines a bright and shiny first book? So rare. Unlike the first Wayfarers book, which took a wide view of the universe, here we have a standalone sequel with a narrow focus on Pepper and the new incarnation of Lovelace. A Closed and Common Orbit is such a delight that I didn't want to finish it. I loved Sidra and Owl and the entire way Chambers envisions the capacity of AI to grow, change and feel. Pepper and Blue's background is just as poignant. The origins of Pepper's tender care of Sidra become obvious over the course of a moving backstory.
My only possible criticism of this wonderful book is that once again, as in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, all the action in this story happens In the last few chapters of the book. The plot pacing reminds me of a German sentence, all the verbs piled up at the end, because that's where the action is here, in the last 8% of the book. Although this structure allows us to linger in the wonder of the Wayfarer world Chambers has built, as a repetitive structure in her novels, it may wear thin with subsequent books.
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