I was blown away by Children of Time – see my review, which I think is one of the best terraforming adventures I’ve ever read. So I was especially keen to read Children of Ruin, which I didn’t think was so successful, though that was partly because it was extremely ambitious – see my review. It goes without saying that Children of Memory is one of my must-reads of the year – for starters, I was intrigued to see where Tchaikovsky was going with this story and how many of his highly unusual cast in this series would appear.
BLURB: Earth is failing. In a desperate bid to escape, the spaceship Enkidu and its captain, Heorest Holt, carry its precious human cargo to a potential new Eden. Generations later, this fragile colony has managed to survive, eking out a hardy existence. Yet life is tough, and much technological knowledge has been lost.
Then Liff, Holt’s granddaughter, hears whispers that the strangers in town aren’t from neighbouring farmland. That they possess unparalleled technology – and that they’ve arrived from another world. But not all questions are so easily answered, and their price may be the colony itself.
REVIEW: I loved the early section of the book which quickly drew me in. Liff is a delightful and sympathetic character, who is just at the age when questioning the status quo is what she should be doing. Unfortunately, this isn’t a society where any form of dissent is welcomed, particularly where her uncle is concerned. Sometimes, this merely causes a bit of family tension, other times her questions are met with blows and punishment. Time is highly mutable in this tale and we revisit key events with very different outcomes.
I enjoyed once more meeting Kern, Portia, Paul and Miranda in their current iterations as they grapple with the puzzle that lies at the heart of the colony. But about of the third of the way through, the pace stuttered. Obviously in a book dealing with time loops, there is a degree of repetition. But I did feel that there were just too many dialogues between the ravens that essentially ended up with them being stumped. And while their back and forth was initially amusing, by the final section I frankly hoped that someone in the colony would shoot the wretched birds and save me from yet another conversation between them.
Fortunately, Liff’s predicament and Miranda’s quirky character kept me turning the pages, along with the examination of memory, guilt and the role of outsiders within a closed society, all of which were nested within the story. The pace once more picked up again in the final section as Tchaikovsky drew all the elements together. I thoroughly enjoyed the ending, which left me moved. I don’t recommend you tuck into this one if you haven’t read at least one of the previous books in the series. Besides, Children of Time is definitely a treat if you haven’t yet had the pleasure. And while in my opinion, neither of the subsequent books in the series quite reach the same heights, both are interesting and thought-provoking reads. While I obtained an arc of Children of Memory from the publishers via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
I agree with you on the pacing and the length of character expositions that sometimes felt too much, but the mystery at the core of the story was indeed too intriguing to make me throw in the proverbial towel… 😉
Thanks for sharing!
Oh yes – there was never any doubt that I would continue reading this one. The main puzzle at the heart of the story is far too compelling and I was also heavily invested in Liff. A happy New Year to you, Maddalena:).
An interesting review. You comment about wishing the birds would be shot gave me a laugh. I have felt like that before.
Yes… perhaps I slightly overstated my exasperation as I was never tempted to DNF this one. But I did feel those bird helped to mess with the overall pace! Happy New Year to you, Roberta:)).
That can happen and hence the phrase “kill your darlings.” Not easy to do.
I’ve saved my NetGalley ARC for #FirstRead2023! I’d like to reread Children of Time, and read Children of Ruin, first, but obviously I’m getting pressed for time before 1 January!
And time is a scarce commodity at this time of year – hence the tardy response to your reply, Mallory. A happy New Year to you!
Ah see, I knew you’d beat me to reading this! Not far behind you though, I’m hoping to tackle this after my current book 🙂 Love the review and looking forward to it even more now!
Thank you. I hope you enjoy it, Mogsy:)). And a very happy 2023 to you!