A Psalm for the Wild-Built: Monk & Robot, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
"Narrator Emmett Grosland conjures the essence of a troubled soul in search of peace in this gentle audio."—AudioFile Magazine
In A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Hugo Award-winner Becky Chambers's delightful new Monk and Robot series gives us hope for the future.
It's been centuries since the robots of Panga 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.
Becky Chambers's new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?
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|Listening Length||4 hours and 8 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||July 13 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #4,290 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#49 in Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#142 in Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction (Books)
#165 in Adventure Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
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I wish it had been a longer read. (This is not about value, but the desire for more of the story.)
On a completely different note the use of “they” to describe an individual when there are often multiple conscious entities present drove me mad.
I’m complete on board with the idea that gender is not required to describe a person, but “they” for me is plural in the English language and continually having to work out as I read whether there was one or multiple people present, did my head in.
I know it’s not the author’s fault that English has historically divided people into binary genders, but as a writer please find language that indicates single and multiple people as those constructs are fundamental to the English language.
There's not much of a plot here and the story is very much character-driven. It was partially a "slice-of-life" story that had its share of entertaining, funny and relatable moments. I didn't expect to find myself laughing out loud so much but I found the writing and humour absolutely delightful. You are kind of thrown into the deep end with the world-building but I honestly didn't have a hard time picturing Panga, all the different satellite towns, and the wild that lie just beyond the borders of civilization. It's an unrecognisable world as humans have seemingly learned from their mistakes and actually treat this homeworld with the care that we clearly lack now but it was such a hopeful and positive world full of kindness and so much growth. I buddy read this with a friend and when she said she could picture this playing like a Studio Ghibli movie in her head, I immediately said YES because that is exactly it and I think the whole vibe of this story is perfectly set up for a Ghibli adaptation.
I think what made me love this story more was how much I connected to Dex's search for something more. Their feelings of frustration, loss, anger and their questions about life and their purpose reflect many of my own thoughts over the last few years. The situation they found themselves in hit me hard because it echoes almost exactly my own situation and there was something about reading it on the page that was both like a sucker punch and a salve. I loved the interactions and discussions that they had about everything and I had so much fun reading and listening to them share their stories, experiences and perceptions of life. By the time I got to the last chapter, I was feeling particularly weepy because there's so much wonder, joy and hope in this story and it made my heart very happy. It's very much a cosy soothing read that I can see myself returning to time and again. Absolutely wonderful, would highly recommend it! Monk & Robot forever
A Psalm for the Wild-Built is a quiet and lovely story, continuing Chambers' streak as the queen of cosy science fiction. This book takes place on a world called Panga, a world that seems to have some similarities to our own, that is in a truly post-industrial age. We follow Sibling Dex as they take up a new vocation as a tea monk -- a member of their religious order who travels around the human settlements, bringing hot tea and a shoulder to lean on. However, Dex feels like there is something missing from their life, prompting the main themes of the book. What do humans need? How do they achieve it within their limited lifespan? How do we find happiness and satisfaction within our world?
A major theme of the book is sustainability. Chambers uses the split of robots from humankind and the way people have adjusted their lives to be more sustainable as a launching point for her signature take on a better humankind. However, one of the reasons I love her writing so much is that she doesn't create utopian societies. Despite living in a seemingly wonderful and beautiful place, Dex feels out of place and unfulfilled. In this way, her worlds and her characters always feel so incredibly relatable.
I really loved the use of tea and tea rituals to anchor us to this world and way of life. Tea, of course, has a long-standing culture of comfort and sharing and I loved the way that she wove this into the book. Dex is almost like your friendly neighbourhood bartender, always happy to provide you with the drink you need and a place to escape your problems for a little while. They take on the burdens of passers-by and provides a moment of peace, even if only for a short time. In fact, I would have happily read more about their journey across the countryside, serving up comfort to those who need it.
The cast of this book is a small one -- we really only follow Mosscap and Dex. While Dex took me a moment to warm to, I immediately fell in love with the wandering robot Mosscap. I am a sucker for cheerful robots trying to understand the complexities of human nature, and Mosscap was no exception. Their chipper and upbeat nature, as well as their differing takes on Dex's questions and problems, was just wonderful. I did come to appreciate Dex and their somewhat bumbling and chaotic nature and really enjoyed watching their character grow as they interacted with Mosscap and faced their problems head-on. The friendship at the core of this book is just so lovely.
A Psalm for the Wild-Built was a big hit for me. I really loved what Chambers was trying to do with this book and the ideas she presented, especially sustainability and satisfaction. Much like a hot cuppa after a stressful day, A Psalm for the Wild-Built wraps the reader in warmth and sense of calm, all while making you think.