They only eat people sometimes

Ogres by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s always idyllic in the village until the landlord comes to call. Because the landlord is an Ogre. And Ogres rule the world, with their size and strength and appetites. It’s always been that way. It’s the natural order of the world. And they only eat people sometimes.

From the book blurb

The POV of this novella is very smartly done. We experience everything from the eyes of a main character that has a very narrow field of vision and knowledge of the world he lives in. So we also know very little at first of this seemingly pastoral and feudal world of humans in a society governed by ogres. We take every step of discovery with him. And it’s quite a stunning list of discoveries for him. Very little of what he believes to be true turns out to be real. 

I missed emotional expressions. The inner landscape of our main character was laid out in a pretty sterile fashion. I made no real connection to him and found it hard to like or emphasize with him, even during the truly horrible events of his life. Nothing seemed to have a real impact on him. However, the story as such was a very smart one.

The final head twister is a real bummer. Nicely done, Mr. Tchaikovsky!

PS: 2nd person narrative, ugh. I am not a fan of that. But I got over it.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher or author through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.

The Architects may be back. And they’re still angry.

Shards of Earth (The Final Architects, #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky is one of my favourite books of 2021. You can read my review here. An excellent piece of space opera with great world building and a nicely imagined ensemble cast, that reminded me a little of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

The Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author of Children of Time brings us an extraordinary new space opera about humanity on the brink of extinction, and how one man’s discovery will save or destroy us all.

I listened to the the audiobook, narrated by Sophie Aldred. It‘s worth getting, she is good. She also narrated his Doors of Eden, another book with very imaginative world building.

I think that fans of the author know by now that the man is a writing machine. I was very happy to discover that part 2 of this trilogy, Eyes of the Void (The Final Architecture Book 2), will already be published at the end of April. I hope there will be an audio again, with the same narrator.

Mentioning Small, Angry Planet obviously reminds me again, that I still want to continue with that series. Maybe I‘ll manage to get to A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers in 2022…

Specfic mash-up, Tchaikovsky style…

Elder Race
by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Tchaikovsky, the writing machine. And you never know what comes next. This time it‘s a story told from two very different POVs in a sword-and-sorcery-setting, with a touch of SF and creepy (for me) horror elements. Slightly spoilerish review.

The fantasy is a post-colonial society that devolved and lost all technology and the SF part is the view of a technologically advanced observer, who ends up in the position of a sorcerer, because he can‘t stick to that Prime Directive and keeps getting involved..

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

– Arthur C. Clarke.

Very nicely illustrated in this novella! I really enjoyed the differences in understanding of the opposing characters or rather their misunderstandings. 

This entered horror territory about 70% into the story. And nobody tagged it as such, so I was pretty unprepared and it was creepy. Tchaikovsky gave me some very vivid imagery of „wrongness“. Reminds me of a recent horror discussion I had with some reading buddies, about what makes a tale horror for some and not for others. This here reminded me of something, maybe Dreamcatcher

On top of all that our observer/magician is on a journey of self-discovery, where he ultimately has to decide, where he belongs and in what capacity.

“How much worse to think yourself wise, and still be as ignorant as one who knew themselves a fool?“

From the novella

More Tchaikovsky…

Shards of Earth (The Final Architects, #1)
by Adrian Tchaikovsky,  Sophie Aldred (Narrator)

I started reading this as an ebook, but then switched to the Audible version, after realizing that I do like and know the audiobook narrator, Sophie Aldred. So far, so good!

The Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author of Children of Time brings us an extraordinary new space opera about humanity on the brink of extinction, and how one man’s discovery will save or destroy us all.

The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery . . .

Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.

When I read the name of the MC, all I could think was… Idris Elba! Full review to come. I am about 30% in and already love the crew of this salvage vessel. Obviously, things go to hell in a hand basket pretty quickly, as they tend to go in this kind of story!

Good introduction here: Shards of Earth review: A rip-roaring space opera with a psychic twist

Don‘t read it, if you want to go into the book completely spoiler free!

And there is a good author interview here. It was really interesting to read about his working day and writing process. I actually skipped the parts where he talks about this book, as I was afraid to spoiler myself too much.

Sophie Aldred also narrated his The Doors of Eden, which I did not love, but liked enough to read a sequel, if one should materialize. Looks unlikely though.

One of my reading buddies mentioned that Shards reminds him of the books by Peter F. Hamilton. My success rate with Hamilton is pretty checkered, from DNF to loving them. Maybe worth another try..

We are trekking across the universe…

Children of Ruin (Children of Time #2)Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In case you wonder over the course of this book, the word octopus has three possible plurals:
Plural 1: the octopuses
Plural 2: the octopi
Plural 3: the octopodes

This book is just so funny, with the jumping spiders and those wacky, overemotional octopi…

I struggled a bit with the latter part of the book. It was hard to follow by audio (aka I kept getting distracted and missed bits and pieces). Maybe (definitely) it was me, audio still sometimes stumps me and my scatter brain wanders off. I might have to read the actual words at some point or listen again.

The world building was fabulous and even more complex than the first book. All the details of the various societies, the development over the ages, the historical context, the shift between various timelines, I loved it.

Excellent ideas, how an alien, tentacled, multi-brained species could evolve and function. In all its chaotic glory.

Language and communication can be so fascinating!

Great characterisations. The audio narration was top notch. Kern was so well done.

I wonder what dog-sized spiders in spacesuits look like?

“We’re going on an adventure!“
(Sorry, Justine, had to quote that as well!)

5 starfish-thingies

View all my reviews