Shards of Earth (The Final Architecture #1)
by Adrian Tchaikovsky
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 20 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 03 Aug 2021
Pan Macmillan, Tor
The Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author of Children of Time brings us an extraordinary new space opera about humanity on the brink of extinction, and how one man's discovery will save or destroy us all.
The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery...
Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity's heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.
After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mindtomind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared - and Idris and his kind became obsolete.
Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have something strange, abandoned in space. It's clearly the work of the Architects, but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain.
Shards of Earth is the first thrilling installment in the Final Architecture Trilogy by award-winning novelist Adrian Tchaikovksy.
Adrian Tchaikovsky is the author of the critically acclaimed series' Shadows of the Apt and Echoes of the Fall. In 2017, the first book in the Echoes of the Fall series, The Tiger and the Wolf, won the prestigious British Fantasy Award for Best Novel. He has also written several standalone novels, including Children of Time, winner of the 30th Anniversary Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, Children of Ruin, and The Doors of Eden. Adrian lives in Leeds, with his wife and son.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 3 members
Thank you to Netgalley and Tor for providing me a digital ARC. (Although in future I would prefer not to deal with the hassle of protected pdfs; please provide epubs instead) I wasn't sure I was going to finish this book after the first chapter. It has the trappings of the kind of science fiction I bounce off of: endless jargon for concepts we already have English words for in a very self-serious and baroque style; that first chapter is *full* of it. But, in spite of myself, I struggled on to find one of the most exciting reads of my year. I was expecting hard science fiction that eschewed its rather large cast of characters' motivations and personalities for world building, and instead found seamless world building that came out of the character's interactions with each other. Idris' tension over whether to trust Solace building not only on their love for each other but the Hugh's distaste for the Parthenon's eugenicist matriarchy and Solace's inability to steal Idris away without his consent mirroring the Parthenon's inability to extricate themselves from their desire to be humanity's sword and shield. Praise should also be heaped on Tchaikovsky for his writing of Olli as a disabled person; it is heartening to see a fully rounded character who is disabled and not defined by that, but whose personality and worldview is shaped by it. While heavy-handed to the extreme, it is a testament to the writing that Olli and Solace's clash over the Parthenon's eugenics is a natural tension and escalation. That this tension is left to simmer and never resolve is a brave choice that I commend. My only complaint about the novel is very minor: I found the fight aboard Broken Harvest to be one 'fight scene' too many and it lagged in a way the rest of the novel managed to avoid. It very much felt out of place given its place in the novel and the plot's escalation. I'm not sensitive to 'sequel baiting' and unresolved plot points or storylines; I often find them more interesting than having every answer. That being said, this novel is allegedly part of an upcoming trilogy, and while it is very obvious how it can continue, the ending has a very nice bow if you are not looking to invest in something unfinished-as-of-yet. I think the book provides enough oomph and depth, and that its remaining plot points can easily stand to never be answered. However, I am now eagerly awaiting a set of novels that a week ago I had no idea we set to exist. Thankfully, I actually own two Tchaikovsky audiobooks of his Children of Time series, but have yet to get to them. Seems I will be getting to them sooner rather than later.
* Thanks to Macmillan/Tor and Netgalley for an advance copy for review purposes * Earth's first encounter with a moon sized race of aliens did not go so well - without even acknowledging human existence, they proceeded to reshape the planet and all its lifeforms into a beautiful but savage sculpture. Humans that underwent significant medical procedures to be able to reach the conscience of those beings, the Architects, and a force of female fighters created via parthenogenesis formed the basis for the force to defend human kind, but now that the Architects are gone, they face significant discrimination from other humans. Two war veterans, thrown together into a salvage crew, get involved in a complex plot involving several alien races and echoes of the war. I've been wanting to read a book by Adrian Tchaikovsky after seeing the great reviews for "Children of Time", I was not disappointed. It was a challenging read, but very rewarding. Tchaikovsky does not spell out the world building for you; you have to piece it together as you're thrown in right into the action. And there is a lot to it! Multiple alien races and civilizations with organization that defies human understanding, shifting alliances, a divided human race... He doesn't shy away from killing characters either, to make the stakes clear. This is clearly the beginning of a series, and am looking forward to reading the rest, this was a very promising start for an epic space opera.
This was a very unique and interesting science fiction. It was a bit hard to read as a pdf but I managed to get through it. It was simple enough that for someone who doesn't read a lot of science fiction (especially hardcore, long series science fiction) and I didn't feel confused or lost. I really loved the world-building and the characters. I bought it and am reading it again.