🎧 A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers #BeckyChambers #EmmettGrosland @MacmillanAudio #LoveAudiobooks #KindleUnlimited @4saintjude

Posted March 1, 2024 by KC in Book Review / 1 Comment

🎧 A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers #BeckyChambers #EmmettGrosland @MacmillanAudio #LoveAudiobooks #KindleUnlimited @4saintjudeA Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
Narrator: Emmett Grosland
Series: Monk & Robot #1
Published by MacMillan Audio on July 13, 2021
Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy
Length: 4 hours, 8 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

t's been centuries since the robots of Panga 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.

I’m not entirely sure why I started reading A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers.  It is pretty far out of my preferred genre of books.  It might have been after a discussion of books that use non-binary pronouns (they/them), but for whatever reason, I picked up A Psalm for the Wild Built, the first book in the Monk and Robot series without any clear indication of what the book was about.

The book begins with Sibling Dex, who is having a little bit of an existential crisis.  They decide to leave the safety of the monastery gardens they’ve been trained to tend, and set out as a travelling tea service provider.  While they have a bit of a rocky start, over time, they become respected and welcomed in the towns they visit.  But even success in a profession they believed would bring them fulfillment there is still feelings of doubt and uncertainty that plague them.  They decide a solitary pilgrimage might bring the answers they seek, and set out into the wilds, searching for a deserted Hermitage.  On this search, they meet Mosscap, a robot searching for its own answers, and they strike a deal to help each other on their quests.

The setting of A Psalm for the Wild Built is a human-settled world called Panga.  As an industrialized nation it wasn’t long before they relied on robots to provide labor to keep production going at a pace that was quickly destroying their planet.  At the same time as they were beginning to understand the impact of their consumerism, the robots ‘Awakened’ and became sentient.  They were set free from servitude, and humans vowed never again to take advantage of the Robots.  In Dex’s time, Panga society has embraced sustainability and tolerance and lives harmoniously with each other.  Since the Robots left, not a single one has ever been seen again; that is, until Mosscap introduces itself to Dex.

There was a lot to unpack in the first few chapters of the book, and it was a bit confusing to understand Dex’s world.  The terminology, titles, jobs, and societal structures were not easy to digest, and I found it difficult to understand the purpose of the story.  I admit that the they/them pronouns compounded my confusion, which is probably a reflection of my age.  I almost stopped listening after chapter two.  However, after the first third of the book, I found it easier to follow the prose and better understood Dex’s motivations and objectives.  I was very happy I’d continued, once Mosscap enters the story.

Mosscap’s energy and enthusiasm is the highlight of the book.  It has a wide-eyed wonder and enthusiasm for the simplest of things and provides a little comic relief.  Its perspective is logical and exacting, compared with the complex uncertainties that seem to plague Dex.  I like how they each bring a different perspective to their discussions, and they learn much from each other in a relatively short period of time.

A Psalm for the Wild Built is well-written story about purpose and life.  There is a gentleness in the prose that I’ve never really encountered before and that I profoundly enjoyed.  Dex and Mosscap make a great team and their adventures are barely getting started before the book ends.  Fortunately, the sequel has already been released.


I enjoyed the narration and Emmett Grosland did a great job interpreting the feelings of the characters.  Because the terminology was a little confusing to me, I did reference the ebook at the same time to help me comprehend what was happening at the beginning of the book.  For that reason, if one had to choose a format, I might suggest the ebook for this first installment in the series over the audio.

Listen to a clip: HERE

Rating Breakdown
One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration (Audio)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
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Posted March 1, 2024 by KC in Book Review / 1 Comment

One response to “🎧 A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

  1. The cover is great on this one. I’ve been reading more books with the they/them pronoun because it is more in YA these days as well to make sure there are diverse stories. I think it is both my age and my inner grammar police who have trouble reading they/them at times. I have no problem with people who that is what they go by, it’s just harder to read. Glad this one picked up for you and you got through it!