Underdogs against the Universe

Shards of Earth (The Final Architects Trilogy, #1)
by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rating: 5 out of 5.

When I read the name of the MC, all I could think was… Idris Elba! The main character looks nothing like Idris Elba though, he is this smallish, skinny dude with enhanced powers. Space opera with a touch of The Expanse and Babylon 5, with a great ensemble cast on a scrappy scavenger ship, fighting against the odds and pretty much everything else. The proverbial underdogs against the universe.

Good introduction here:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/…

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

And an author interview here:
https://thebookinhand.com/2021/05/26/…

It was really interesting to read about Tchaikovsky‘s 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.

Some excellent world building. Great aliens with a lot of variety—Tchaikovsky really has a thing for beings with more than two legs—, good action sequences and plot. For me this really shined through the crew of the Vulture God. A third into the book, I already loved them. Obviously, things went to hell in a hand basket pretty quickly, as they tend to go in this kind of story! And they kept on going. Never a dull moment.

My ebook had very useful appendices, in the form of an additional part: „Universe of the Architects: Reference“, with a glossary, a chapter on characters, other key characters, worlds, species, ships and a timeline. Especially the timeline was very useful.

Good audiobook narration. Loved Olli‘s voice in the audio. Great relationship dynamics all around and the audiobook narration added another layer of depth to the characters.

Great fun! Easily in the top row of my favourite books of the year. And I will very definitely wait for the next installment in this series/trilogy.

The enemy. He had an enemy again. He didn’t like it. Loathed it, in fact. Yet an ugly little part of him was awake now, like a cold arrowhead buried deep inside his mind.“