Epeolatry Book Review: Children of Memory by Adrian Tchaikovsky
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Title: Children of Memory
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: November 8th, 2022
Synopsis: 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…
Children of Memory by Arthur C. Clarke Award-winner Adrian Tchaikovsky is a far-reaching space opera spanning generations, species and galaxies, and the unmissable follow-up to Children of Time and Children of Ruin.
I highly recommend reading the first two books before diving into this one. This review contains spoilers for the first two books.
This book is a bit of a departure from the other two books. Rather than following an uplifted species through its accelerated evolution, this story is about a human colony on a distant terraformed planet, Imir. Liff, a girl of around twelve in Earth years, hears voices calling to her, asking her to help locate the strangers in town. Torn by her conflicting loyalties, Liff struggles to do the right thing.
Because there are strangers in town. Living in disguise among the locals are familiar favourites from the first two books, Kern, spiders, an octopus, and the sentient virus, now calling itself “Miranda”, along with two new companions, a pair of corvids. Here again, Tchaikovsky shows off his world building skills in the development of the uplifted corvids. They are easily the best part of this book.
However, this book is not as strong as the first two. At points the narrative is a bit confusing. The multiple timelines are overlapping, cyclical and repetitive. I had to pay close attention to the chapter titles to track who was narrating and when. About two thirds in, I started to get bogged down in the repetition, but Tchaikovsky ties everything together in a stunning conclusion that justifies the entire book.
One of the major themes of this trilogy has been who/what is sentient life and how vastly different species can coexist in harmony. Children of Memory takes that idea even further and confronts the reader with questions about the very nature of sentience, reality and life itself.
I’m not sure if Children of Memory is the final book in this series, but I hope it isn’t. There is still room in Tchaikovsky’s vast universe for more stories and exploration.
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Melody lives in Ontario, Canada and writes short, dark fiction. She has been published in several anthologies and online publications. In university, she studied Ancient Greek and Roman Studies and often infuses her work with elements of Greek mythology. She also loves reading, embroidery, and martial arts.