The two highest forms of praise for a book are:
- turning the book over to its front cover and saying to yourself “Alright, I am going back in”
- immediately going to google in the hope that there is a sequel in existence.
If you don’t feel like reading the rest of this review, all I need to say is that this book is solidly in category number two.
I just really liked this book.
Sometimes I find myself in a funk, where my life is being excessively difficult and even reading becomes hard for me. These periods often have me picking up various books, reading a chapter, and then never returning to them. During those periods I often wonder if maybe I just don’t have it in me to be a strong reader anymore.
And then something like this comes in and kicks me right out of that spell.
Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time is two intertwined stories. One story follow the last remaining ship of human beings, spared from a calamity that destroyed mankind, but now homeless. The other story follows the forced evolution (by a human scientist) of a race of sentient spiders, and their rise as dominant species on a planet. The planet, is the only place where the last surviving humans have a hope of landing. There is a whole lot more story between that description and where you imagine the story is going, and not a moment of it is ever dull.
The stories were pretty captivating from page one, partially because I was curious as to how they were going to mesh up. They did so pretty much as you expect them to as you read, but this by no means of fault of the story – in fact, it builds to a pretty strong climax where the forces from the two stories are so differently matched that you don’t know how their brief conflict is going to resolve itself. There was a brief moment at the beginning of the weird, gender-reversed spider feminism1 section where I questioned where this book was going, but what happened really ended up paying off. As it were, all the little side narrative threads kept me going, and the story as a whole tied itself up very neatly.
As I mentioned above, when I put this down I immediately started to look for a sequel. I keep a pretty tight reading schedule, so it will be a while before I get to it. But I am pretty much as excited as I can be to get to it. My only fear is that there may not be a sequel after that. There was a whole lot of promise in this book, and in Adrian Tchaikovsky as a writer.
1I would just like to point out that if you ever hear those five words strung together like that out of context, the person who uttered them is likely having a stroke. That is all.