I was thoroughly discombobulated for the majority of my reading experience with this book. That was the way it was supposed to be, of course, so minor spoilers for that I guess? I don’t think that’s actually spoilers, but some people would probably think it is. Anyway, I didn’t anticipate that level of purposeful fuckery on behalf of Adrian Tchaikovsky, and the slow creep of the feeling that something was not right was simultaneously unpleasant and intriguing.
This is the third (and final??) book in Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time series, and this one breaks the mold a little. Books one and two followed different types of creatures as they developed sapience and civilization SPOILERS (spiders and octopuses, mainly) END SPOILERS, and how meetings with other type of sapient creatures in the galaxy created conflict and change in all parties involved. In this one all those parties are basically galactic co-workers, and they have traveled to another planet that was supposed to have been terraformed by a dying Earth and have found a small colony of surviving humans. For a reason we don’t learn until later, they infiltrate the colony instead of announcing themselves, and that’s when things start to get weird.
I was not as inherently fascinated by this premise as I was with the first two books. The scope is much smaller, so maybe that’s part of it. The ending of the book was absolutely great, so that helps to put the rest of the book in context after the fact, but getting there is a bit of a process mentally. My favorite part of the book was of course the pair of talking genius Corvids they pick up who are somehow both chaos and order incarnate, and who are problem solving machines (in the literal, and possibly metaphorical sense, still up for debate apparently). They reminded me why I loved this series in the first place, and that’s Tchaikovsky’s creative imagination.
Now that this series is finally completed (??), I think it’s time I finally start his newest space opera series, which I’ve been waiting on until it was several books deep. Probably won’t be until later this year or early next year. I also want to get to more of his standalones, and finally try some of his fantasy! Too many books in the world, and he’s too prolific! World’s tiniest violin.