Book Review | A Psalm for the Wild-Built

In A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers, Sibling Dex has been a tea monk for a couple of years, traveling from village to village and serving tea, listening to people’s troubles and triumphs, and spreading some happiness where possible. But Dex is feeling dissatisfied, though it’s unclear what the source is. But perhaps the answers can be found in a remote, disused monastery, beyond the borders humans live in. In that part of the world, everything has been left as wilderness, and as space for the robots, who left the human realm after gaining sentience a few centuries ago. Not that Dex really puts much stock in the rumors that the robots are still out there. But when a robot arrives at the tea wagon, things change, and perhaps there is more to learn—more connections to make—than Dex ever realized.

Ironically enough, I drank a coffee while I read this, and for that I can only apologize to Sibling Dex.

That aside, this book is SO sweet! I’ve heard great things about this author, and this book did not disappoint!

Dex makes for a wonderful protagonist, a very kind soul who still yearns for something more than the fulfilling life of a tea monk, even if that something is rather undefinable. And Mosscap the robot is fantastic! I loved it so much from the first moment it appeared, and the friendship that gradually blooms between Dex and Mosscap is so endearing, full of intelligent conversations, mutual work to learn and connect, and several moments of excellent humor. The cooking scene might be my favorite; it was simply adorable.

The setting of this story is also well-written. It has all the trappings of a typical sci-fi: a settlement on a moon, struggling (or at least, previously struggling) with human-induced climate problems, and a group of self-aware robots. However, this book takes those foundational elements and makes them into something different, and I loved it. If I had to describe this world in one word, it would be “gentle.” There are still problems, but this is still a place that feels kind and supportive and peaceful. It’s a great respite from the real world, if you’re looking for escapism like me.

In the end, A Psalm for the Wild-Built is a gorgeous novella. It’s thoughtful and sweet, funny and melancholy, philosophical and grounded. The setting is stunning, and the characters are amazing in their personalities and connections. This is a short book, but the pacing is flawless, and yet it leaves you wanting more (luckily, there will be a sequel!). I had a feeling I’d like this, and I was right—I loved it! I can’t wait to read more by this author!

Overall rating: 9/10

One thought on “Book Review | A Psalm for the Wild-Built

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Books I Read in 2021 – Righter of Words

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