Sibling Dex – a once Garden Monk turned Tea Monk- spends their days traveling, keeping an ear out for crickets, and offering cups of tea to weary people as a way to help them find comfort. They live in a world where day-to-day hardships and disappointments still exist, but society has forgone wars and environmental disasters and found comfort in kindness. This change was made necessary when, ages ago, the robots that helped society function went on strike and demanded agency, and humans, surprisingly, gave it to them. It’s been centuries since anyone has seen a robot, but when Sibling Dex travels to a remote hermitage on a quest they end up meeting Splendid Speckled Mosscap, a “wild-built” robot who is on a quest of their own.
A Psalm for the Wild-Built is the first in the new “Monk and Robot” series by Becky Chambers. The book is pleasant to read, and the interactions between Dex and Mosscap are thoughtful and ask questions that resonate not only between the characters, but with the reader who lives in a world so very unlike the one depicted. It is a joy to read something that is so calm and hopeful, and this book keeps true to its dedication: “For anybody who could use a break.”
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