Thumbs down for A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers. Science fiction.
My coworker sold this one to me with the description “it’s about a monk who serves tea and a robot” and that sounded delightful. But…what a frustrating book. I do love cozy books. But I like books that are cozy because the characters are competent and kind, not because nothing bad happens. The whole book is, in essence, a basic philosophical discussion between a very (overly) human robot and a young monk from a post-scarcity true utopia–about what it means to be human and how even people who live in a post-scarcity utopia can suffer existential crises. It’s not that Chambers didn’t make some points worth a moment’s contemplation, it’s that it felt like the story existed just to make those points and not because it was, in itself, an interesting story. If the ending had been thoroughly satisfying, this book could have redeemed itself in my eyes, but it was very much not. This was my second go with Becky Chambers and while I did finish this one, I think I have to acknowledge that her books are not for me. (It later turned out that my coworker DNF’d after 40 pages. Thanks, Eric.)
The robot pulled back. “Oh, dear. Have I done something wrong? You’re the first human I’ve ever met. The large mammals I’m most familiar interacting with are river wolves, and they respond best to a direct approach.”
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