Hello, hello friends! I’m so excited to be back with another blog tour with @TheWriteReads gang! Today we’re taking a *smol* step outside my comfort zone for Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky but long story short, I loved it!. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour: here! 😍
Special thanks to Netgalley and Tor for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!
Goodreads: Shards of Earth (The Final Architects Trilogy #1)
Publish Date: 27 May 2021
Genre: Science Fiction
The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery…
Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade his mind in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.
Eighty years ago, Earth was destroyed by an alien enemy. Many escaped, but millions more died. So mankind created enhanced humans such as Idris – who could communicate mind-to-mind with our aggressors. Then these ‘Architects’ simply disappeared and Idris and his kind became obsolete.
Now, Idris and his crew have something strange, abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects – but are they really returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy as they search for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, and many would kill to obtain it.
ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY was born in Lincolnshire and studied zoology and psychology at Reading, before practising law in Leeds. He is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor and is trained in stage-fighting. His literary influences include Gene Wolfe, Mervyn Peake, China Miéville, Mary Gently, Steven Erikson, Naomi Novak, Scott Lynch and Alan Campbell.
TL;DR: This is my first book by Adrian Tchaikovsky and it most certainly won’t be my last! This has me questioning whether I’ve ever really read a space opera before and as such, I feel like I have nothing to compare it to because it was simply EPIC in every way! My mind was blown by the incredibly vast world-building, the fantastic characters and the gripping plot. It admittedly took me a little time to get into as it starts slowly and we dive straight into what seems to be the middle of an ongoing story, not to mention having to wrap my head around the complex science and technology jargon, but once I became more comfortable with the terms and got used to the writing, I was HOOKED! I will say this is definitely more of a slow burn though it does pick up towards the middle/end and it’s absolutely one helluva ride!
I feel like anything I say will not do this book justice but maybe by the end of my rambling review I’ll have piqued your interest enough for you to want to give this one a try 😉
The world-building is probably one of the most intricate in sci-fi that I’ve read—granted I don’t read much adult sci-fi, but it was still much wow. It’s vast and complex and the author gives us a lot of information*, which you’d think would be difficult to keep track of but there was no info-dumping and you learn about everything gradually as the plot progresses. Tchaikovsky did such an incredible job of bringing to life this “after earth” world in the vastness of space, that it’s easy to imagine the countless planets and colonies, the numerous alien species and their individual cultures, societal norms, languages and advanced technologies. As I let my imagination run with the descriptions I was simultaneously boggled and fascinated by the images conjured up for these alien species! 😂 Unsurprisingly though, politics and bureaucracy still suck and humans remain incredibly intolerant of others (alien and human alike), even in futuristic space worlds. 🙈
*If ever you do feel overwhelmed by what you’re reading, never fear because Tchaikovsky has provided an in-depth glossary with the terms, species, planets, warships, etc., and a brilliantly detailed timeline from the start of space exploration to the present period at the back of the book!
Aside from the mind-wowing world-building, I was extremely delighted to get to know the ragtag bunch of misfits that made up the Vulture God’s crew, and I ended up loving every single one of them! One or two took time to like but they were such realistic and relatable characters with entertainingly distinct voices and personalities, and that alongside the “found-family” vibes is what really got me invested in this story! Also, I loved the dry sarcasm that is liberally sprinkled throughout and I didn’t expect to be laughing out loud at certain times but the light banter was much needed and appreciated after the many dire situations our crew found themselves in.
In addition to the crew, we also meet a fairly large cast of recurring players through four main perspectives from Solace, Idris, Kris and Havaer. They provided a great range of views that enriched the story from both within and without the crew; that said, I’m really looking forward to seeing how the other crew members will be further developed over the course of the series because I’d really love to learn more about them! Out of all the characters I found myself connecting the most with Idris and Solace. It was so easy to empathise with what they’ve been through—honestly, I just wanted to protect Idris at all costs. 🥺 I became so invested in their journey(s) that I was literally shouting at my Kindle and tearing up just a tiny bit with the bittersweet feels by the end. The Architects were also really interesting adversaries and I was both captivated and horrified by the destruction that they wreak? But I’m really curious to learn more about them especially after what’s discovered about them at the end. I had a random (and exciting?!) theory pop into my head while I was reading the glossary and I can’t wait to see if maybe I’m right (though I’ll likely be horribly wrong haha)! 😂
Needless to say, I am totally invested, friends! As someone who doesn’t read much adult sci-fi, this was definitely a step out of my comfort zone but I cannot wait for the next instalment in this epic space opera saga. I did struggle with visualising some of the more technical/science stuff at times but it wasn’t as confusing as I thought it’d be (this is what usually deters me from reading more adult sci-fi), so I’m really glad I gave this book a chance as I loved it! This smol but beautiful crew have wormed their way into my heart and I’m so keen to learn where the story takes them next, especially since that ending sets things up nicely for even more wild and exciting adventures through unspace and beyond!
Are you looking forward to reading Shards of Earth or have you read it yet? Have you read anything by Adrian Tchaikovsky before? What would you recommend I check out next by this author?