Epeolatry Book Review: Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
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Title: Children of Ruin
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publisher: Pan Books, an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: September 8th, 2020
Synopsis: It has been waiting through the ages. Now it’s time.
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.
Set in the same universe, but on two very different planets, Children of Ruin is a strong sequel. While this book could be read alone, it’s better to read Children of Time first so that the full context makes sense.
Long ago, terraformers departed from Earth in search of barren planets to transform. Only when they reach their destination, they find life is already there, so they turn their attention to a second planet covered in water. In this planet, Disra Senkovi, an introverted genius, sees an opportunity to feed his secret obsession and populate the world with cephalopods.
Meanwhile, his colleagues study the first planet, nicknamed Nod. They are excited for humanity’s first contact with alien life. Yet, they unknowingly awaken something on that planet. Something truly alien, but all too familiar and terrifying in its implications.
Children of Ruin follows a similar format to Children of Time with its multiple timelines and overlapping stories that all come together in the end. Also like the first book, Tchaikovsky’s brilliant world-building is on display. It’s stunning the amount of research he must put into these books. Complex terraforming, evolutionary biology, a strange obsession with multi-legged creatures… it’s all there. Admittedly, he follows the format of the first book a bit too closely so that the resolution can be guessed early on. However, this does not detract from this sequel and anyone who enjoyed Children of Time should also enjoy this book.
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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.