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.
Becky Chambers’ new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?
A Psalm for the Wild-Built is a novella and the first in Becky Chambers’ Monk & Robot series. It is a lovely story about a monk and robot who meet under interesting circumstances.
I enjoyed this book very much, mostly because of the soft tones and progressive themes. Much of it is spent on the two characters getting to know each other. With humans and robots having been separated for hundreds of years, they have so much to learn about one another. But, I think more than that, they were getting to know themselves. Each character was on their own journey and the other was willing and able to help.
I have seen this book described a lot of ways. I would describe it as “mindful”. As Dex (the monk) and Mosscap (the robot) develop their relationship, things are not always easy. There are some ups and downs and a little bit of conflict, but I like that they always approached each other with kindness and an intent of understanding. As someone who reads books that often define conflict resolution as who has the strongest steel or most effective magic, these two seek to build rather than destroy. In that way, it is a nice break from the intense nature of epic fantasy and space opera.
A Psalm for the Wild-Built is a beautiful story of understanding and connection, a warm hug in a world full of cruel intentions. Recommended for anyone looking to brighten their TBR.