Rosemary is trying to escape her past and gets hired onto a tunnelling ship called the Wayfarer. I felt like her past never really had that much of an impact on the story, though, despite the big deal she made of it. Even when it was revealed, it felt like a mini-crisis that was very quickly resolved. All of the crises were quickly resolved. Their emotional impacts on the other hand…
Anyway, Wayfarer has a multi-species crew which includes an AI called Lovelace but nicknamed “Lovey” (I kept thinking of the annoying ship personality from the Hitchhiker’s Guide), an alien doctor/chef called Dr Chef, the ‘unlikable’ Corbin responsible for the algae, the two techs Jenks and Kizzy (yes, the one I wanted someone to bludgeon), the cuddly lizard-alien pilot Sissix, the only true alien Ohan (as in, had an alien perspective), and Captain Ashby, who has an unconvincing ongoing affair with a beautiful alien (I just don’t see what she’d see in him). Most of the book is spent exploring how the characters of this ensemble cast relate to each other as Rosemary gets to know them and as various events happen on their travels. On paper (although perhaps not the way I’ve described it), it sounds like it might be an interesting crew to follow, but I never really got beyond mildly interested, and the aliens weren’t alien enough for my taste.
So, I wanted to like this book. I tried to like this book. But it made me feel like a sociopath because I just didn’t care. I had this disconnected feeling throughout. Since I couldn’t really connect to any of the characters, it just annoyed me when they started falling apart (which they did with great regularity) in between mini-crises.
I wouldn’t say that nothing happens in The Long Way, but so much time is spent talking about what happens and how everyone feels about it and how they’re all coping with it that it saps the tension out of every scene. I’d say that too much information is provided to the reader; even the technobabble was more confusing than immersive. The point of view jumps around from character to character, but they all pretty much sound the same. There’s even a Toremi point of view (the ‘incomprehensible’ aliens who are at war).
I almost forgot to mention: physical mail delivery in space. Yes, a physical letter would be more secure, but receiving mail and other physical packages while in the middle of nowhere in space...?
Many others would enjoy this book, but I think it was just too vanilla for me. I felt like it was trying too hard to be like Firefly and failing.