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It's been centuries since the robots of Earth gained self-awareness and laid down their tools. Centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again. Centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend. One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of "what do people need?" is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how. They're going to need to ask it a lot.
Like everyone else on Earth (I assume) I love Becky Chambers. The Wayfarers books are my favourites, and as someone who normally doesn’t like to read novellas, I was very pleased to say To Be Taught If Fortunate blew me away. I was keen to read A Psalm for the Wild-Built because in my eyes Chambers can do no wrong.
I just adore Chambers’ heartfelt writing style and her cosy characters. I’m not normally one for slow plots or character driven stories, or at least I wasn’t until I discovered Wayfarers, and now I want ALL OF THE THINGS. Becky Chambers has such a way with character building that honestly just makes me want to cry a little bit. It’s flawless.
The beginning of this novella was a little slow and the world building took a bit of getting used to. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I was surprised that we didn’t get thrown straight into the relationship between the monk and the robot. I think if I were to reread this book (which I will, just before the release date), I’ll probably get a lot more out of the beginning of the story now that I know what’s going on. The first read was a little jarring for me, possibly because I’d just come out of a Wayfarers reread where I knew all the characters and the universe.
Otherwise, Psalm still contained all the cosiness and comfort of Chambers’ previous stories, and I loved everything about it. I can’t wait to read the second novella in this duology (and to reread this one!).