A Psalm for the Wild-Built
Updated: Oct 7, 2022
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐
"It's been centuries since the robots of Earth 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."
A Psalm for the Wild-Build is an upcoming sci-fi novel by Becky Chambers and is the first installment in the Monk & Robot series.
First and foremost, thank you NetGalley and Tor Books for providing me with a copy for review. Please note that this in no way affects my opinions. Also note that because this is an ARC, things may be subject to change for the final copy.
While I wouldn't say my experience with this book was bad, I felt mostly underwhelmed. Maybe it is because of the length of the book, or maybe it is simply because I personally don't find the author's stories to be particularly intriguing.
One of the big fallouts for me was the fact that this read like a contemporary with sci-fi elements. While that might not be a bad thing, I am not someone who gravitates towards contemporary stories. The story was also a bit choppy as it didn't flow well when moving onto a new chapter.
In terms of the overall story, it felt very much so like a long philosophical debate about the meaning of life and freedom. Again, while the story could be rather insightful to a lot of people, I just did not make a connection with it nor with the characters.
I liked that Dex uses gender-neutral pronouns as it is not something that I have seen yet in the books I have been reading, but otherwise her character did nothing for me. I did like Mosscap, but he reminded me a bit of C3P0 and the relation did bother me a bit as I felt like I wasn't reading about an entirely original character (even though there is only so much you can do when it comes to robots). The relationship between Dex and Mosscap also did nothing for me as I was not able to feel their connection due to the short length of the book.
So, overall, this was a solid 'meh' book. Nothing necessarily bad but nothing about it really captured and held my interest and attention. This does mainly come down to personal preferences though as the tone of the book just didn't work for me and I like my books to have more substance and action.
I would still advise that you give this a shot if you are a fan of the author's other works. If you are looking for something a bit different but along the same vein, I would suggest trying out the manga Mushishi. It is a supernatural/slice of life manga that follows Ginko on his travels to aid people suffering from creatures known Mushi.