Epeolatry Book Review: Eyes of the Void by Adrian Tchaikovsky
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Title: Eyes of the Void (The Final Architecture #2)
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 14th June, 2022
Synopsis: The epic space opera adventure continues in this follow-up to Shards of Earth. Battle lines will be drawn, loyalties will be tested, and devastating decisions must be made, as the race to save humanity begins.
After eighty years of fragile peace, the Architects are back, wreaking havoc as they consume entire planets. In the past, Originator artefacts – vestiges of a long-vanished civilization – could save a world from annihilation. Yet the Architects have discovered a way to circumvent these protective relics. Suddenly, no planet is safe.
Facing impending extinction, the Human Colonies are in turmoil. While some believe a unified front is the only way to stop the Architects, others insist humanity should fight alone. And there are those who would seek to benefit from the fractured politics of war, even as the Architects loom ever closer.
Idris, who has spent decades running from the horrors of his past, finds himself thrust back onto the battlefront. As an Intermediary, he could be one of the few to turn the tide of war. With a handful of allies, he searches for a weapon that could push back the Architects and save the galaxy. But to do so, he must return to the nightmarish unspace, where his mind was broken and remade. What Idris discovers there will change everything.
According to a trope, the second entry in a trilogy is usually the weakest. The first introduces the world and the third gets to host the climax, but the second one has to continue the beginning and set up the third while somehow remaining a complete story on its own. Since its job is the most difficult, the second entry can falter. I’ve never agreed with this trope, and it certainly does not fit here. Eyes of the Void excels as a sequel and opens the door wide for the third book without feeling incomplete.
Shards of Earth introduced us to this universe, but Eyes of the Void deepens it and lets us explore. Our beloved characters are back, and we get to visit many of their home worlds and learn more about their backgrounds. While I still enjoyed Kris, Solace, and Idris, it’s in this book where I fell in love with Olli. She’s no nonsense and gruff, but willing to do anything for her crew even if she complains the entire time. She’s a delight every time she’s on the page.
Exploring the character’s homeworlds and introducing a few new locations builds on the previous book, but Idris’ story leads us toward the final chapter. Again, Tchaikovsky’s plot seems simple on the surface. Since Idris’ discovery about the Architects and their undeniable return at the end of the first book, everybody wants him to develop their own Intermediaries to protect them. Most of the book is spent fighting over Idris, and when one group takes things a bit far, the book becomes a complicated rescue mission.
Idris is given the opportunity to take a deep dive into unspace–the realm outside our known universe that is used mainly for its wormhole-like travel abilities and forging Intermediaries. Unspace is a horrifying place. Once inside, everyone who’s awake finds themselves alone and stalked by a mysterious presence. These parts of the book made the horror fan in me sing. Tchaikovsky made it uniquely terrifying. And like all mysterious presences, it holds dangerous answers to the character’s questions.
While exploring unspace, Idris makes yet another shocking discovery that I expect will be explored in the third book. The details are given in book two. Allowing us to know the answer while allowing us to consider the potential ramifications is what helps give Eyes of the Void its satisfying climax, leaving the reader desperate to grab the next one.
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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.