It’s very rare that I read a book that I know absolutely nothing about and turns out to be so incredibly life changing. This is one of those books.
I cannot say enough about the worldbuilding that Ms. Chambers spins into this incredibly wholesome tale. Dex is a monk unhappy with their role in the world, so they take on the daunting task of becoming a Tea Monk: a caretaker and counselor, traveling the areas of Panga being a regular fixture in the small communities. Dex has no idea what they are doing, but eventually falls into the regular cadence of excelling at their role. The thing is, Dex isn’t happy with where they fit in the world.
On yet another lark, Dex decides they need to go into the wilds and find a hermitage of the old order to seek fulfillment. Enter Mosscap, the robot.
In the times before, centuries ago, robots gained sentience, and humanity gave them the levity to do what they needed to do. As a result, robots went one way, and humanity the other. Humans gathered at Panga and the surrounding towns, while the robots were, ostensibly, out in the protected wilds: never to be disturbed by humans.
In their quest to find the hermitage, Dex comes across Mosscap who is “checking in” on humanity.
Their journey is one of discovery (a primary theme in this book), and an unlikely duo of soulmates is born.
As is my way, I never want to spoil the experience for future readers. That being said, this book changed me profoundly. Mosscap’s life philosophy is atypical, but absolutely relevant for our own modern life. Mosscap’s interactions with Dex change both of them in incredible ways, and it made this bitter old reader smile a lot. As a constantly spiraling anxiety ball, I was comforted by Mosscap’s approach to the “meaning of life” and how we all fit into the cogs.
I absolutely loved this book, and will read it again and again for validation. I can’t wait to start the second.