A Prayer for the Crown-Shy, by Becky Chambers

I don’t want to spend too much time here re-capping what this book is about: if you’re unfamiliar with this series, read my review of the first book in this series, A Psalm for the Wild-Built. Discovering it last year, I fell in love with the gentle post-apocalyptic near-utopia that Chambers has created, and with Sibling Dex and their robot companion Mosscap, whose story picks up in this volume immediately after the end of the previous book.

Mosscap, the first robot to re-engage with humanity after centuries of the two species living separately, is about to meet humans other than Dex, and it’s exciting for everyone concerned — but also confusing. The various encounters Mosscap and Dex have with people along their journey to the big city — including Dex’s large, lovely, complicated family — are described with lovely, often humourous insight. But when we reach what we expect to be the climax of the story — Mosscap’s presentation to the people of the city – the story takes an unexpected turn.

I loved reading this short book just as much as its prequel, and read it very quickly. If I have a criticism it’s only to say that I hope there is a third book coming, because this book is great on atmosphere and character development but a little light on plot, and there are things I would like to see developed and resolved further. But I can never get enough of the world Chambers has created in these novels.

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