I was wowed by the scope of Children of Time, and it just keeps getting bigger in Children of Ruin. I was expecting a straightforward sequel, but as with the first book, all of my predictions were (delightfully!) wrong. It also covers a huge span of time, but it starts out concurrent with the first book, following a different terraforming crew. They find a couple of neighboring planets that have terraforming potential and get to work. Things go off the rails astoundingly rapidly.
This is too hard! I don’t want to spoil too much from the previous book (which was marvelous), and I don’t want to spoil too much from this book! What can I say that’s vague but enticing? The evolution-boosting virus makes another appearance, making surprising strides with the subjects it’s given. Where the last book was solid sci-fi, this one surprised me by really leaning in to the horror genre – some of what they encounter on the new planets is downright scary.
The new characters are cool, and the theme of “what makes a person” is tackled from multiple fascinating angles. This book lacked a little bit of the originality the first one floored me with, but I think that’s understandable, as it builds so well on what came before. There are certainly some familiar beats, but whole new ways to get there.
Well CBR12 is off to a great start! This is the vaguest review I’ve ever done. Just read these books! I’m gonna go explore the other stuff this mad genius has written.