*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of NETGALLEY arc Children of Ruin – Book 2 of the Children of Tim series by Adrian Tchaikovsky #Brainfluffbookreview #ChildrenofRuinbookreview


I absolutely loved the Children of Time – it’s one of my all-time favourite science fiction books. So was thrilled to hear that there was a sequel on its way and even more thrilled when I was approved to read and review it.

Thousands of years ago, Earth’s terraforming program took to the stars. On the world they called Nod, scientists discovered alien life – but it was their mission to overwrite it with the memory of Earth. Then humanity’s great empire fell, and the program’s decisions were lost to time. Aeons later, humanity and its new spider allies detected fragmentary radio signals between the stars. They dispatched an exploration vessel, hoping to find cousins from old Earth. But those ancient terraformers woke something on Nod better left undisturbed. And it’s been waiting for them.

Once more, this is an ambitious, well-written epic adventure featuring humans, spiders and octopuses all as intelligent, sentient beings. Not only does this book encompass three species and convincingly depict their struggles to communicate with each other and amongst themselves, it sprawls across a brain-achingly long timespan. Furthermore, it does so whilst fracturing the timespan, so that some of it is told out of sequence…

I am a solid fan of Tchaikovsky’s work and familiar with the recurrent themes in his writing. I particularly love his knack of giving us unintended consequences, which is exactly what happens when a bored, rather lonely terraforming scientist decides to uplift a species of octopus to act as maintenance crews to the underwater equipment altering the planet for human use. No one writes non-human species better, in my opinion. I was completely convinced by what drove the spiders and the octopus societies, while the humans caught up in the middle of the crisis were also convincingly portrayed.

You might be sensing a but – and yes… there is one. For all that, I found the first half of this book rather a trudge. It might well be me – right now I’m tired and extremely stressed, although that doesn’t usually impact upon my reading. But while I was enjoying the slices of the adventure, I found the scrambled timeline really frustrating and at times, difficult to follow.

Once the stakes were clear and the action lined up for the desperate denouement, which was entirely gripping and held me throughout, the book rolled forward to a triumphant conclusion that will leave me pondering what happened for weeks and months to come. Tchaikovsky’s books tend to do that to me – it’s why I love reading them so much.

However, this one was a struggle and while it probably is more me than the book, I have to be honest about my reading experience. However, don’t be put off – especially if you loved Children of Time. Recommended for fans of well-written, first contact adventures with big, thought-provoking themes. The ebook arc copy of Children of Ruin was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest opinion of the book.

8 responses »

    • I’m so glad! There’s no point in going to the trouble of reading a book and writing a review if I then don’t tell the truth about my experience, is there? But there’s a high likelihood that my own mindset affected that experience…

  1. “”No one writes non-human species better””
    Yes, I totally agree: Tchaikovsky knows how to take us into the mind of other creatures and how to make us care for their journey, well-being and conflicts. He made me root for *spiders*, which is quite a feat, trust me! 🙂
    I look forward to starting this one, and thank you so much for sharing this 🙂

    • Thank you, Maddalena – I look forward to hearing how you get on with one. I love his books featuring spiders – and he is every bit as good with the octopuses (or is it octopii)…

      • Well, I’m certainly not scared of octopuses/octopii – unless they are giant killer creatures, of course! – so I’m curious to see what point of view change awaits me in this new adventure 🙂

  2. I’m not put off at all and I really appreciate the honesty because sometimes not all books in a series can work as well – I’m usually amazed if I read a series where all the books have worked perfectly for me. I still need to make time to read the first book in the series.
    Lynn 😀

    • You can read Children of Ruin before you read Children of Time, but I personally think reading them the wrong way around won’t impact your enjoyment of CoR, so much as spoil CoT for you – which would be a real shame as I think it’s the better book by far.

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