Thursday, 1 August 2019

eBook Review - To Be Taught, If Fortunate

  • Title And Author: To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Beck Chambers
  • Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eBook Gifted by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction
  • Length: 176 Pages

As you guys know, I am a bit of a late comer to Becky Chambers. I still have to read her third Wayfarer novel, Record of a Spaceborn Few. Hoping to read that sometime in the next six months. But when the news of this novella was first announced, I instantly preordered it. A novella set outside of the Wayfarer series. Colour me intrigued. 

So when I saw I could request the eProof of this on NetGalley, I did think carefully over if I want to request this or wait for my novella. In the end, I requested it as my curiosity got the better of me. 

At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a discovery in human space travel. They discovered somaforming: a way for humans to survive hostile environments by using synthetic biological supplements. They can produce antifreeze so you can survive sub-zero environments, absorb radiation and convert into food, help adjust the pul of different gravitational forces. This can make space travel possible and visiting other planets, moons, and other environments possible. 

Ariadne is an astronaut. She and three others are on a mission to survey four habitable worlds fifteen light years away from Earth. She and her crewmates sleep while in transit and, when they wake up, they have a new world to explore and the somaforming has changed their bodies, ready for the new world. 

I don’t think I can go any further in detail with this novella as I’m a little worried on what is a spoiler and what isn’t. But, you guys want me reactions to this… well…

Ok, before we go any further, I want to remind you guys that this is my blog, which means this is just my opinions. Mine and mine alone. And everyone is entitled to their own opinion, whether that is a good or bad. Remember I can be quite outspoken on subjects (politics, films, TV). Hell, have you seen my Twitter? 

But, even so, it pains me to write this: I didn’t like this. I found it boring and, because of this, I cancelled my preorder. 

Hear me out before you shout at me! 

Like I said earlier, I have read two of Becky Chambers novels and plan to read the third soon and I really like them. Yes, they are a little slower paced than what I normally read, but I like them. They are very character-driven and there’s something warm and comforting about her novels. But this novella didn’t have that feeling. Whether it was because it was a novella so we didn’t have time to connect to the characters or because this novella is told in first person while the novels are told in third, I don’t know. But I didn’t warm to this. Plus, after a long few days at work, I wanted to engage with these characters and the worlds and, barring one world where the characters began to show signs of cabin-fever (this, I really liked, as it showed how each of them reacted in different ways), I kinda fell asleep a few times. 

I see what Becky was trying to do and I admit her for trying. I’m glad she was flexing her writing muscles and that she’s growing as a writer, but this didn’t really work for me, I’m afraid. 

But I’m not giving up on the Wayfarers series. I am going to read Record of a Spaceborn Few soon and, when her next novel come out, I am going to read that. But this… yeah… sorry everyone. 

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