- Nikky Lee
Book Review: A Prayer For The Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers
Title: A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk & Robot, #2)
Author: Becky Chambers
Page count: 152
Genre: sci-fi, utopia
Rep: LGBTQ+, non-binary
If you want a short, comfort read that leaves you feeling like you're sipping on a toasty beverage of your choice (tea, hot chocolate, mulled wine—take your pick), Becky Chambers' Monk and Robot series is one of my go-to recommendations.
In this novella, the story more or less continues on from where the first book finished, plus minus a week or two. Sibling Dex and the robot Mosscap are on their way out of the wilds and returning to human civilisation. Of course, with no one having seen or heard from the robots in several hundred years, there is much excitement from the human population.
Part of the joy of this book is in the small details Chambers includes. From Mosscap’s excitement as it gains a few worldly possessions, namely a rucksack and a tablet, the latter of which it uses to consume vast quantities of books on, to the simple rhythm Sibling Dex and Mosscap fall into as they travel with one another.
However, the story is not without a few heavier themes, albeit handled gently. In their own way, each character faces an existential crisis of sorts. Mosscap finds itself in need of a new part—but such practices go against the wild-built philosophies of its robot kind while Dex wrestles with their inability to find purpose and meaning in their life. Underlying it all is the simple, yet complex question that has drawn Mosscap out of the woods: What do humans need? And as Mosscap discovers, “need” is many and varied depending who and when you talk to someone.
While I enjoyed A Psalm For the Wild-Built more, this is a wonderful follow up that gives readers a chance to explore more of Chamber’s ecotopia. In particular, the platonic companionship between Dex and Mosscap is beautifully done. Reading this book is a reminder that joy is often in the simple things, be it a tree, a cup of tea, or a friendship.
Liked this review? Sign up to Nikky's mailing list to get a free story along with monthly updates, articles and interviews delivered straight to your inbox!