Review: Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers #3) by Becky Chambers

From the ground, we stand. From our ships, we live. By the stars, we hope.


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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My Thoughts:

Chambers has a way of bringing you in to care about characters throughout the universe she has crafted within the Wayfarers series. Record of a Spaceborn Few drew me like book one, Long Way to a Small Angry Planet did. In this installment, Chambers focuses on where humanity fits into space and the challenges they face. It is an interesting take compared to other novels in the series, which touch on non-human perspectives.

My favorite thing about Record of a Spaceborn Few is that it is a heartwarming story set in space. Science fiction has always interested me but felt intimidating to read. Chambers introduces readers to a story set within science fiction that is easy to digest. I have mentioned this before about Chambers’ work, but I need to repeat it. Chambers writes cozy science fiction. Her work is approachable and perfect for a casual read. There are no epic pew pew space battles nor complex technology jargon; instead, readers have familiar situations cast throughout space. While Chambers touches on advanced technology and political conflict, they are not the plot’s focus. If you are interested in science fiction but want more clarity about the complexity, start here with the Wayfarers series. That being said, this type of science fiction is only for some. Read a different book if you seek stories about complex military technology, space battles, powerful weapons, bad guys, and other science fiction stereotypes.

In A Record of a Spaceborn Few, Chambers explores ideas surrounding death, family, self-discovery, and belonging through the point of view of a handful of characters. Not every character has a happy ending, but there is growth within each. Be warned; you may shed a few tears as Chambers navigates death and the celebration of life. Characters make tough choices throughout the novel. After the death of an individual ripples through new sources, Tessa questions moving her family planet side. Many can relate to this dilemma, as we all find the places we fit best. Tessa was one of my favorite characters, and I enjoyed her brief reflections on Ashby’s life and their childhood. 

Compared to the other books within the Wayfarers series, this is my second favorite under Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. There are a few callbacks to characters and events within Long Way to a Small Angry Planet that flowed better for me than they did in A Closed and Common Orbit. Regardless, you can read these books in any order. I recommend publication order but could have skipped book two.

Should you read Record of a Spaceborn few?

Yes! I really enjoyed Record of a Spaceborn Few, a great novel to read with a cup of coffee and box of tissues.

Check out my reviews of the Wayfarers series:

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