A Prayer for the Crown-Shy

Tor.com. (Monk and Robot, Bk. 2). Jul. 2022. 160p. ISBN 9781250236234. $21.99. FANTASY
Tea Monk Sibling Dex wandered into the wilderness to discover something different, and that turned out to be the robot Mosscap, the first to approach humanity since the Awakening, when all robots left. Now everyone wants to meet Mosscap. As the two travel together through Panga’s towns, meeting new people and old friends, Dex is by turns frustrated and amazed by Mosscap’s wonder for the mundane and incessant questions, while Mosscap learns about community and belonging. Lessons on barter, companionship, family, and presence begin to answer the questions that both Mosscap and Sibling Dex have for themselves and others. Leisurely prose firmly roots setting and characters, with a nonbinary lead and non-traditional family structures, plus finely balanced introspection and interaction. The story is thoughtful, with a gentleness that is as encompassing as any action-filled work.
VERDICT Chambers’s second “Monk and Robot” novella (following A Psalm for the Wild-Built) continues the quiet, contemplative journey through philosophy, nature, and personal experience.
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