Book Review: A Psalm for the Wild-Built

September 3, 2021


While I've heard a lot about Becky Chambers (particularly the novel A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet), her newest release A Psalm for the Wild-Built is my first experience with her work... and it certainly won't be my last! This sci-fi story is about a tea monk who sets out on a journey without really knowing what it is they are truly in search of, and the robot he encounters who has been assigned the task of checking in on the humans centuries after robots gained self-awareness and wandered into the wilderness. This slice-of-life novel follows the pair, who wind up on a journey together as they try to make sense of themselves and the world around them.

The first word that comes to mind when I think of A Psalm for the Wild-Built is cozy. While most of the story is set in the wilds (locations that are either abandoned or ruined or very much in the outdoors with no civilization), there's a warmth permeating the entire tale that invites the reader to sit down and stay until the story draws to a close. The next word I can think of to describe this story is dreamy. The way this is written feels a little like wandering into a modern fairytale, and the world that comes to life with the author's words feels quite fantastical. The third word that comes to mind as a descriptor is meandering. The pacing is specifically what I'm thinking of, and I do think it serves the story well. The reader gets to spend time immersed in learning about the world, as well as really sitting with the reflections and questions sprinkled all throughout. It's also a treat to spend so much time with Sibling Dex, the non-binary tea monk who sets out on a spontaneous journey, and Mosscap, the robot who they meet along the way.

Chambers managed to hit my sweet spot with her well-written novel, as I really enjoyed A Psalm for the Wild-Built. It's not quite like anything I've ever read before! I picked up this book at just the right time too, as it fulfilled my desire for a simple, thoughtful, immersive tale. I'm really happy I ended up picking up this book and I can't wait to read more in this series! (And I fully intend to try Chambers' Wayfarers series as well.)

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk and Robot #1) by Becky Chambers
Publisher: Tor.com | Publication Date: July 13, 2021
Source: e-galley received from the publisher via NetGalley

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