A Prayer for the Crown-Shy: A Monk and Robot Book (Monk & Robot 2)
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If this was what passed as manicured, they couldn’t imagine what Mosscap was going to make of, say, a rose garden, or a public park. I’m glad this series brings hope and happiness to fans, but I’m clearly too much of a cynic to be the correct audience. Further disclaimer: Readers, please stop accusing me of trying to take down “my competition” because I wrote a review you didn’t like.
It is never overbearing or preachy, the writing gently conveys to the reader the struggles that the main characters experience in determining who they are and what they want to be. Her empathy, her sharp yet gentle humor and the relatable things her characters go through make all of her books feel like a soothing balm on my very world-weary nerves, and I always flip the last page feeling moved and comforted. By which I mean, this is a gentle, healing, beautiful book that also doesn’t shy away from the reality of sadness and lostness, or the general complexity of humans and human relations.Dex is willing to accommodate everyone else’s feelings and emotions, but never gives them self permission to lean on others. Anyway, despite plenty of interesting thoughts and funny interactions between Dex and Mosscap (see: early mornings, ankles), I sometimes found myself annoyed with the ecotopia of Chambers's world, the slightly didactic tone in which money-less post-capitalism exchange is explained, jealousy-free polyamorous families function, and even the provenance of different kinds of bioplastic is detailed. The first novel in the series, A Psalm for the Wild-Built, was released in 2021 and won the 2022 Hugo Award for Best Novella. The water pressure was nothing more than decent, and the temperature was only as hot as the wagon’s solar coating could coax from deep-forest sunlight, but even so, it felt to Dex like the finest luxury in the world.
An AI on the other hand, would be able to communicate with us in whatever language we speak and it has access to. And remember that, once upon a time, an author I’d never met and will never speak to sang a psalm and whispered a prayer for me and everyone like me. Each chapter details their interactions with the different communities and the interactions are diverse as Mosscap is introduced to the populace.Due to their nagging sense of being without a true purpose in life, they decided to travel into the wilderness to find a long-forgotten hermitage. I’ve never met any humans but you, and I know that doing so is rather the whole point of me being here, but now the enormity of it is hitting me, and—and—oh, I must seem so foolish. The creation of such objects took just as much work and thought as anything else, yet garnered little praise from those who saw them every day. We have ruins, and things like this”—they nodded at the stump—“but you’re the furthest thing from a stone shrine. I can’t explain but the exploration of the relationships in this beautiful book just help me to know it’s ok to slow down and look listen and feel.
Le Guin, in which while the author definitely likes an anarch-communistic society she describes, she doesn’t do it in rose glasses, there are still problems, just of a different kind.The gentle touch with which Chambers handles her material makes the book's loftiest philosophical aims feel grounded.
There were no creeping branches catching their clothing, no fallen trees posing problems, no unlabeled forks that made them stop and stare with dread. Sometimes it is nice to spend a couple of hours reading something where you know nothing terrible is going to happen and that everything will work out by the end.
Mosscap (our celebrity robot) meets more humans and learns about ownership, bartering, capitalism, popularity, conscious intelligence and even guilt and existential crisis as humans do. Perhaps this is an intentional feeling by Chambers: after all, people enter our lives, impact us, and then leave all the time. Readers get more information about how the human society on Panga, their homeworld, operates and this is a version of a communal utopia. Twenty miles wasn’t so bad, but creamy highway or not, they were still deep in forest and had yet to see anyone else on the road.