Book Review: A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2) by Becky Chambers

Life is terrifying. None of us have a rule book. None of us know what we’re doing here. So, the easiest way to stare reality in the face and not utterly lose your shit is to believe that you have control over it.


Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an 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.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for – and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.

A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers’ beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.

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My Thoughts

After the chaos that unfolded in Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) I was so excited to see where the crew went next. WRONG. Chambers holds true to developing her characters and their rich background by shifting focus from the crew on the Wayfarer to Lovelace and Pepper, *long sigh.* Because I was hoping to stay with the same characters I struggled to get into A Closed and Common Orbit. You may be wondering how did I not know this from reading the summary of the book……..I didn’t. I just moved right on a long to book two without reading the summary or reading anything about this series.

A Closed and Common Orbit picks up right where Long Way to a Small Angry Planet ends. I enjoyed learning more about Pepper and the world as a whole. I did not care about Sidra’s journey. The perspective shits between Lovelace, who takes the name as Sidra, and flashbacks to Pepper’s childhood. Like book one, A Closed and Common Orbit is comforting and overall has a cozy feel. There were moments I liked, but I spent most the book longing for the crew on the Wayfarer.

Viewing this novel as a standalone, it is great. Pepper and Sidra’s journeys merge providing an ending that made me happy. I liked Pepper from the first time she was introduced and was curious about her childhood. So I loved exploring her backstory. There was something about Sidra’s character that I did not connect with. While A Closed and Common Orbit still takes place in the wonderful universe Chambers has created, there were things I missed. Such as the diversity of species, exploring of planets, and a larger cast of characters. I hope in the books to follow these elements return.

Overall, I liked A closed and Common Orbit but not nearly as much as I did Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. Will I keep reading in the series? Of course. I understand that each book will cover a different characters in the universe, I can anticipate what is coming next. I am looking forward to book three Record of a Spaceborn Few.

Are we going for an anchor or a compass? A memory to ground you, or a spark to guide you forward?

Should you read A Closed and Common Orbit?

If you enjoyed Chambers writing style, you have to keep reading her work.

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