My dear bookish friends,
Another post in the same day! Who even am I?! xD
If you’re a reader of fantasy and / or science fiction you will have heard the name Adrian Tchaikovsky, and probably have read one or multiple (or maybe even all?) of his books! I for my part love fantasy, but this has been my very first book by the author! And, what can I say? It certainly won’t be my last. Big, big thanks to Dave at TheWriteReads for letting me take part in this blog tour and introducing me to this giant in the SFF scene (quite metaphorically speaking in both senses of the word). Big thanks also to Tor UK and the author himself for my free ecopy in exchange of my honest review. I went into this not really knowing what book to expect, but I was the opposite of disappointed. It was an exhilarating journey! Before we start with my review, here comes the blurb and some more info about the book:
This high-stakes space-based adventure will be perfect for those who loved Children of Time, also by Adrian Tchaikovsky.
The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery . . .
Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade his mind in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.
Eighty years ago, Earth was destroyed by an alien enemy. Many escaped, but millions more died. So mankind created enhanced humans such as Idris – who could communicate mind-to-mind with our aggressors. Then these ‘Architects’ simply disappeared and Idris and his kind became obsolete.
Now, Idris and his crew have something strange, abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects – but are they really returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy as they search for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, and many would kill to obtain it.
Praise for Adrian Tchaikovsky:
‘Brilliant science fiction’ – James McAvoy on Children of Time
‘Full of sparkling, speculative invention’ – Stephen Baxter on The Doors of Eden
Shards of Earth is the first thrilling instalment in the Final Architecture trilogy – by the Arthur C. Clarke award-winning novelist Adrian Tchaikovsky.
Length: 592 Pages
Publishing: 27th May 2021
Shards of Earth is the first book in the The Final Architects trilogy, and it spans many different worlds and civilizations – galactic civilizations even! We are starting off at a time that is two generations after a catastrophy that almost wiped out all of mankind. But not only that, all forms of life were threatened – animals, plants, and even aliens. What happened was that some weird, destructive things appeared in the universe – the so called Architects, destroying all sorts of life they encountered. So, in order to help with that enhanced humans were constructed. Such that could communicate with those things, hopefully trying to come to some sort of understanding and peace. But then, these weird things suddenly disappeared as quickly as they had come. And now, almost a century later, it seems as if there are signs that the destructive Architects are making a comeback…
I loved the premise of this book. The world(s) we encounter are amazingly shaped, leaving nothing out of the equation. Idris Telemmier, our main character here, is the last one of those advanced human beings (called Intermediaries) from many years ago, and he is now a navigator on an interstellar spaceship called the Vulture God. Since he isn’t just a normal human, Idris neither needs to eat or sleep, and he doesn’t age either. But being a sort of superhuman doesn’t keep troubles away from him. All the horrors he had to see with his very eyes can’t be forgotten, no matter how much time passes. And when Idris then discovers that the Architects might be returning, his mind is certainly not any more at ease…
I have to say I was at first a bit overwhelmed by the whole worldbuilding. It’s gigantic, enormous, there is so much to see and learn. I like that in sci-fi and fantasy, because in order to really be able to imagine what I read about I also have to read up on every little detail of this world we come across. If it’s not in the book I often stay behind with questions like ‘How does this look exactly?’ and ‘How does that even work?’ Tchaikovsky certainly delivers in that regard. However, since there is no time wasted and we are immediately plunged into all the workings and happenings of this universe, I sometimes felt a little bit overwhelmed in the beginning. It is just a lot to take in.
That is the only minor ‘complaint’ (if you can even call it that) that I had. Once I got comfortable in this world, I was able to picture everyhing right before my inner eye. Even the weird-looking aliens we encounter, the space ship, the crew on the Vulture God (some of my favourite characters worked on there!). The encounters between humans (or superhumans) and aliens varied from funny to serious, to strange and sometimes scary, and gave me a lot of food for the brain.
I loved that we only got to know Idris little by little – his entire life isn’t revealed at once. He and his crew get along so well, and I appreciated these depths of human contact, these relationships they ha formed, especially in regard to what Idris had to face in his past. He is often gloomy and depressed (understandably so!), but as we got to know more about his past, the way he is really started to make sense.
I loved the other crew members too. Rollo is a bit like a parent figure (even calling the others on the crew his ‘children’); then we have Kris (who’s taking care of and protecting Idris), and Olli, a drone specialist. Without them, I doubt Idris would ever have been able to improve in terms of his mental health.
Then we meat Solace, a member of the Parthenon (a group of women-woldiers who long ago fought againts the Architects). It’s her goal to make Idris help them create their own Intermediaries in case they need them if the Architects indeed come back. She is joining the crew on the Vulture God, which, at first, leads to some difficulties among the members. I found the concept of the Parthenon super fascinating. Their female crew of soldiers was trying to fight against the evil Architects, but is now regarded with a lot of suspicion. This was very interesting to read about, and I couldn’t wait to find about more about Solace and her colleagues and friends.
If you are a Tchaikovsky fan or a lover of the sci-fi genre, I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with this book (it was awesome!). If you like reading about space battles, intergalactic missions, outer space civilizations, aliens and spaceships, Shards of Earth has all of these things and you will be entertained for days. Certainly give it a go!
4.5 stars from me!
Thank you all so much for reading!
About the Author
Adrian Tchaikovsky is the author of the acclaimed Shadows of the Apt fantasy series, from the first volume, Empire In Black and Gold in 2008 to the final book, Seal of the Worm, in 2014, with a new series and a standalone science fiction novel scheduled for 2015. He has been nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award and a British Fantasy Society Award. In civilian life he is a lawyer, gamer and amateur entomologist.