Ogres are bigger than you.
Ogres are stronger than you.
Ogres rule the world.
It’s always idyllic in the village until the landlord comes to call.
Because the landlord is an Ogre. And Ogres rule the world, with their size and strength and appetites. It’s always been that way. It’s the natural order of the world. And they only eat people sometimes.
But when the headman’s son, Torquell, dares lift his hand against the landlord’s son, he sets himself on a path to learn the terrible truth about the Ogres, and about the dark sciences that ensured their rule.
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I am new to Adrian Tchaikovsky and have only read five or six of his books, which I have found uniformly excellent. Ogres is no exception. The story hooked me immediately, starting in an unexplained bucolic future, neatly introducing the protagonist, and introducing a catalytic event which precipitates the methodical series of revelations about the setting of the book. It reminded me in some ways of an adult version of John Christopher’s old YA books - perhaps The Prince in Waiting. There are slow reveals and some good twists - some predictable and some less so. The second person voice is often off-putting in books but works well here; I think it is challenging for a writer to execute and a measure of Tchaikovsky’s skill that it isn’t overtly obtrusive but, rather, an effective structural choice. Bravo overall.
Ogres is a like a master class on genre bending. Just as you think it's one thing it deftly turns into something totally new and unexpected. It presents a bleak world with some fantasy and dystopian trappings that becomes the stage for a heroic struggle against oppression and injustice. At the heart of it all is a great mystery, with Tchaikovsky doing what he does better than almost anyone. Dropping you cold into a strange yet eerily familiar world, slowly peeling back the incongruities, the horrors and the unknown to reveal the shocking hidden truth.
I so wish to give 0GRES 36 Stars! Not only is this book perfect, but the ending (not trick but nonetheless INTENSE) exploded my imagination. OGRES is seamless. I come to any Adrian Tchaikovsky work expecting profundity, expecting "what we know" to be immensely inverted [think of CHILDREN OF TIME, CHILDREN OF RUIN, ELDER RACE, as examples). I venture to offer that perhaps OGRES is of an even higher order of magnitude. THAT INCREDIBLE INTENSE TURNED-ME-INSIDE-OUT ENDING!!! Forget everything you think you know about History, Genetics, Society, and the Why-of-life. Start anew. I also venture to say that this is 5th dimensional quantum- stepped-up Adrian Tchaikovsky.
When I saw the new book by Adrian Tchaikovsky, I had to read it! The author writes unique stories and Ogres sounded fantastic! There aren't many people who could pull off writing in second person, yet this book is written perfectly. Everything is smooth and works together, the story flows. I'm sure that the writing needed lots of work, but the reading is so pleasurable. The action takes place in a weird world, when you start reading you think it's sometime around fantasy middle ages just with ogres running the world (I know, odd) and little humans fulfilling their wishes. It was fascinating to see a place where we couldn't eat animals and their blood could give us rash. That gave me the first clue of what is really going on, but man, when you get to the reveal point it still blows your mind. There were moments when I thought I'd hate to live in the world as in the book, and moments when I thought that some of the ideas weren't completely bad! It's definitely thought-provoking narrative and I think it's another must-read. I loved it and it's hard to say anything without writing spoilers. I'll just say that you have to pre-order.
Absolutely incredible story from a master craftsman. Ogres sucked you in from the beginning and refused to let go, culminating in the extraordinary and unexpected ending. Told in the second-person point of view was weird, but it works exceptionally well. I really enjoyed the change in emphasis as you do not come across it very often. I was intrigued by how the book would pan out, what with ogres and helicopters on the book cover. Mainly because of the fantasy style opening. But it soon became apparent there was a much larger picture here, a dystopian future with a turbulent and horrific historical past for humankind. The author has a habit of writing brilliant and varied characters in his novels. Torquell, the leading protagonist here, is no exception. Portrayed as a loveable rascal, then murderer, outlaw, slave and then a hero. There are some other interesting characters to be met in the novel. Roben, the outlaw and his very miserable, cold and downtrodden men who just happen to live in the woods. (So, no parallels to that other charlatan who lived in Sherwood.) They provide a refuge for Torquell in his early times of need and form the backbone of his rebellion. Then there is the ogress Isadora, your saviour from death and master for many a year. A scientist and no lover of the brutal treatment most ogres dish out to their monkeys (humans). And then there is Minith, who is Isadora's personal human assistant. Somewhat of an enigma who never seems to like Torquell, yet is always on hand when necessity allows. There are a few twists to the narrative and some, what I can only describe as colourful content, so expect a bit of blood and gore. Well, there are ogres involved, what do you expect. As with most of Adrian Tchaikovsky's books, there are morals to be found if you look hard enough and the novel Ogres is no exception. Friendship, loyalty and trust are always at the forefront. Ogres is such a fantastic read that I felt it was far too short. But I said the same about "One Day All This Will Be Yours" and "Walking to Aldebaran", both phenomenal and breathtakingly incredible reads. This is a brilliant story and a worthy addition to the already fantastic collection of Adrian Tchaikovsky books. I thoroughly enjoyed Ogres and highly recommend it to his fans and lovers of the genre. Thank you, NetGalley and Rebellion, Solaris, for the ARC.
"They've always been there, your masters the ogres...your father and his father have been wise stewards, no pestilence to blacken the fields...You've never known real privation. You have milk, eggs, wool. Meat is for the masters." Torquell's father, Tomas was the village headman. He prepared all accounts for the Landlord. Each bushel, each sheep on the hillside must be counted. "Woe betide the headman who cheats his Landlord, or even miscounts." Landlord Sir Peter Grimes, a ten foot tall ogre, approached the village in his motorcade with his retinue. The second vehicle contained his favored servants-his beaters-"a quartet of humans with clubs" ready to mete out justice and punish transgressors. "Blessings to the masters for their protection." The Landlords have come to collect the tithes owed to the top 1% of society. All larders and barns must open. A feast for "the ravenous appetites of a pair of ogres" was prepared. Sir Peter's son Gerald, a landlord -in-training, was a cruel, contemptuous ogre, always ready to demean any and all those beneath his station. Torquell, the headman's son was the village's "lovable rogue" whose pranks included plucking apples from a neighbor's orchard to share with a band of outlaws on the fringes of society. The leader of the outcasts, Roben, was "a scarecrow of a man, having survived seven winters in the forest." A clash between Torquell, the human and Gerald, the ogre ensued. Torquell was forced to flee his village. By losing his temper, the unthinkable was unleashed. He had now been "stripped down to the bones of who [he was]." He had "earned his outlawry...become an outlaw...one of a variety of skins [he'd] wear throughout [his] life." "Ogres" by Adrian Tchaikovsky is Sci-Fi/ Fantasy at its best, a cautionary tale told through second person narration. It is a social commentary about the haves and have-nots in a society controlled by genetic manipulation. Will the quest for knowledge and enlightenment help reverse the rules that govern the human populace? Highly recommended! Thank you Rebellion/Solaris and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I happened to read Ogres right after Elder race, and it is obvious that the two novellas are connected. The setting is completely different, but they are nonetheless the result of the same reflection on the coexistence of two communities with a different technological level. In Elder race the point of view is that of the more advanced community, while in Ogres it is that of the challenged one. The results, Tchaikovsky seems to tell us, are equally possible: either a cohabitation in which the the most advanced group offers protection to the other, or a tyranny from which one can only relieve oneself by laying hands on superior technology by force. Adrian Tchaikovsky, a singularly prolific author, is one of the most interesting voices in science fiction today, and a master of the novella form, ranging across all SF tropes with fresh and novel results. I admit that as much as I have a soft spot for his writing, not everything is on the same level. And I have to say that Ogres is not among my favourite novellas. The idea is very interesting, but there is something unconvincing about it. The first is probably the use of 'you' as the narrator, undoubtedly the most difficult form to handle. There are of course great examples in literature, but the risk is that the architecture is a bit cumbersome at times. And then there are some gaps in the story, which leave me a little perplexed and vaguely unsatisfied when I compare it to masterful Elder race. I thank Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for a frank review.
I’ve had such a strange experience with this author. To quote Drake (a first for me) Started from the bottom, now we’re here. Which is to say the first two books I’ve read of his I didn’t like, almost at all. Practically enough to quit reading him for good and yet somehow, I decided third time might be the charm and, lo and behold, it was, for the third book I’ve read of his was excellent, an excellent time travel adventure for a person who doesn’t especially like time travel adventures. It was just so fun and original and clever. In fact, it became my favorite time travel book. So now here we are, with Ogres, the author’s latest. Another novella, I love that he writes so many novellas, love the format. But fantasy? I wasn’t sure. Time travel may go either way, but fantasy is really, really not a genre for me. I barely sat through the first episode of Wheel of Time. I mean, sure, GOT was great, but that was an exception. And I certainly don’t read fantasy…or apparently, I don’t until Adrian Tchaikovsky writes it. And then, not only do I read it, but I also enjoy it. A lot. I mean, this novella has a classic fantasy setup…a remarkable village boy, strong and tall, dares to stand up to the evil Ogre landlord and is subsequently jettisoned into a life far outside the small bounds of the only world he knew. A boy who’ll become a man, who’ll become a rebel. A boy with a destiny. A world divided between Ogres and people/Economics/monkeys, the masters and the serfs. But then, there’s so much more. For one thing, Tchaikovsky (primarily a science fiction author) throws some terrific apocalyptical-genetic sociopolitical backstory in there that’s a total game changer. For another, there’s such a clever plot twist in the end. Ok, the entire ending is clever, awesome, apt, just perfect. It’s like a page out of “this is how you end a book” textbook. On top of it, the writing’s good, the characters are great, the plot’s intricate, the world-building is impressive, there’s so much to enjoy here. It’s an absolutely awesome adventure with excellent (and subtly presented) message. The sociopolitical commentary is Ogres is…well, it’s exactly how fiction, especially speculative fiction, should handle such things. It’s timely, it’s smart, it’s inspiring. And it’s pure fun too. Not sure what the deal with the tophats is, but then again the Ogres are flamboyant dressers. Adrian Tchaikovsky once redefined (made me enjoy) time traveling fiction for me, now he’s done the with fantasy. Gotta love it. Read this book. It’s a great read. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
Absolutely incredible story from a master craftsman. Ogres sucked you in from the beginning and refused to let go, culminating in the extraordinary and unexpected ending. I want more!!!
Ogres [Blurb goes here] At first I was a bit let down by the way this books is written. This is an account of a third person view of events, narrated as if you, the reader, where the protagonist. I know that sounds weird, but thats how it felt to me. Soon after, maybe fifteen percent into the book, I was loving it. Adrian Tchaikovsky is definitely a master at his craft. I can't say enough good things about Ogres, but maybe this will give you a clue: after reading it, I bought a few of Tchaikovsky's titles, knowing that this is one author worth following. Thank you for the free copy!
Everyone who has been fortunate enough to read this book has given it 5 stars, guess what ? Me too! I find the authors work a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it, now I am most definitely a fan of marmite and do love a good book, my only complaint being no spiders 😉
This is my first time reading something by Adrian Tchaikovsky, but I can safely say that “Ogres” has blown my actual mind. I am a sucker for books with unusual structures or writing styles, and this book certainly has them, but the stunning story, set in a pseudo-feudalistic, secret-filled future, is all the better for the author’s clever tricks. It’s hard to nail it down to any particular genre as it cleverly changes style so often. It’s dystopian sci-fi then it’s fantasy with a touch of horror; all this in what is quite a short book. This is testament to Tchaikovsky’s skills as a writer that he can keep control of all these spinning plates to create such a superb story. With vivid world-building, striking characters and a jaw-dropping ending, “Ogres” is a triumph for Adrian Tchaikovsky and a must-read for sci-fi fans and lovers of nonconformist fiction.
What an awesome book. I really enjoyed this! This is not hyperbole - I'm honestly having trouble putting into words just how much I enjoyed reading this. I won't go into the plot, as I don't want to give anything away, but at this point whenever I see a new book by Adrian Tchaikovsky, it immediately goes to the TOP of my list of books to read. I was in the middle of reading a bunch of other books, but stopped reading them as soon as I downloaded Ogres. Thanks to Rebellion Publishing and NetGalley for providing a copy for me to review!
OGRES is an interesting story and reminded me in some ways of Tchaikovsky’s previous novella, Elder Race. Its most distinct and notable feature is probably the second person POV. It’s executed well here. It’s an expected book in times of CRISPR. This book asks many of the big ethical questions regarding the future of genetic modification, mainly The Big Question: what’s the limit? When we finally have the tools and means to modify and improve ourselves, where do improvements stop, and complete alterations begin? Will we ever be able to say “…and we’re done”, or just keep trying to create a “better” human? It’s not a particularly new question, and it will get asked even more in the coming decades. For that ethical aspect alone, this is well worth reading. But another part of this novella I really liked is the similarity with Elder Race I was talking about earlier. Just like in that story, Ogres has a sort of “two perspectives” thing going on, with pseudo-medieval people living in ignorance of their futuristic dystopian overlords. It’s a trope (fantasy from one perspective vs sci-fi from the other perspective) I’ll never get tired of. Apart from that, it’s a classic tale of starting a revolution, rebelling against your oppression, and how revolutions can snowball into something that changes society. It’s no Elder Race (easily one of my favourite of Tchaikovsky’s novellas), but it’s a fun and thought-provoking story that juggles quite a few topics and unconventional structural choices in a well-balanced way. Recommended!
I tend to avoid novellas. I like books that are sincere and serious, taking the time to delve deeply into characters and situations. It's frustrating to spend time getting to know a character, just to have the story end. Depending on the author though, I'll make exceptions. In this case, well worth it. This is told in 2nd person, which is always kind of odd, but it's only distracting at first. In the beginning, it's very obvious where the story is heading, but thankfully the story becomes more original and less dreadful after that. The premise is very interesting, the characters well developed and likeable, and the ending well done. Highly recommend!
I’ve been wanting to read something from Tchaikovsky for some years now. I had seen him at a festival in Spain years ago and he caught my attention. I’ve also read lots of reviews of his books that made me want to pick them up, I even have one on my shelf waiting for the right time. Still I feel like I had no idea what I was getting into with his work. I was pleaseantly surprise by the level of social criticism, analysis, twists on folklore and science that translates into a superb mix of genres. But above all, I was not ready for the second person POV, the way he analyzes the archetypal protagonist through our own conceptions of the normal. Also the incredible, incredible ending. Even if you feel that the beginning is a bit slow, as it’s a really short story, I reccomend that you try to continue. What Tchaikovsky builds is worth it. Everything I can say is little and at the same time a lot because it is better that you approach it knowing as few as possible. If you want something to comment for hours with your friends, this is it.
Ogres by Adrian Tchaikovsky My rating: 5 of 5 stars And all of a sudden, we've got ourselves a political treatise, a medieval fairy tale, and a Red Rising hardcore high-tech revolution all rolled into one tiny novella. Can you say Adrian Tchaikovsky? I thought it was funny as hell right at the very beginning that our main character would be named Tocqueville, as in comte de Tocqueville, the French Aristo that argued for the decent treatment of the lower end of the class struggle, who was so essential to the formation of the United States of America. And I found it equally hilarious how we jumped right from Robin Hood to education to revolution and a great little twist at the end. Class warfare, you know? And it's almost as if we're channeling a little taste of Attack on Titan, too, with a pretty fantastic turn of the knife on vegetarianism. Delicious. Yum Yum. :)
No one world builds better than Adrian Tchikovsky. If you haven't, please stop everything and read Children Of Time! In this bleak world, Ogres rule all. Through Second Person Narration, we are pulled into a classic tale of the haves versus the have nots. Ogres are the top 1percent of this world and all others must pay a tax to them. We learn quickly what happens to those who choose not to as Torquell, the village leader's son dares to defy the Ogres. As an outcast he races against time to find out more about who they actually are and how they came to rule. An awesome 144 page science fiction fairy tale on steroids! Recommended! #NetGalley #RebellionBooks #solaris #Ogres #Tchaikovsky
With the rate that Adrian Tchaikovsky churns out writing, it's a constant source of amazement that each work reaches the quality that it does. Though I don't think his novellas, such as 'Ogres', attain to the same level, they're always well worth the read. In this short book, Tchaikovsky quickly introduces us to a new world, helps us find our feet in it, and gets us asking questions. The subject here is familiar ground; 'The Expert System's Brother' comes to mind as a recent example of Tchaikovsky's story-telling which follows the same path as the main character discovers the world is not as they thought it was, and technology and science has been abused. There's a lot of intereting ideas here, all filtered through a second person narrative which could do with giving us more insight into its narrator. As with other novellas of Tchaikovsky's, the ending is abrupt, yet the journey there is definitely worth it.
Adrian Tchaikovsky, in my relatively brief exposure, hasn’t yet ceased to amaze me and he keeps up the trend with his latest standalone, Ogres. My heartfelt thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for the e-ARC in return for my unbiased opinion. Sometime in the future, the world is a peaceful and prosperous place, where the Ogres, officially called the Masters, lord over the world and everything it contains, and the humans exist solely to serve them—as ordained by God. A lot bigger than the humans and possessing the magic of science, Ogres are far superior to the humans; they even can eat all kinds of meat, which is poison to the humans. One fateful day, Torquell, the young son of a village chief, challenges the authority of the Master race—without really meaning to—and instantly becomes a fugitive with painful death hanging over his head. A stroke of luck snatches him from the jaws of death and gives him a life that is better than the best of his dreams. He makes the most of the lifeline and learns many things about himself and the world and how it all came to be the way it is. His knowledge leads him to becoming the Hero who takes the truth to the masses and tries to overturn the world order. Tchaikovsky, as usual, puts the unwary reader straightaway in the middle of his complex world and leaves them to figure out what is happening. His use of the rare—at least to my knowledge—second person form of storytelling makes the experience entirely immersive. The sharp narrative moves at breakneck speed, uncovering layer after surprising layer of the intricate plot. The twist towards the end was totally unexpected for me and I loved it! The characters are brilliantly etched, with only a few deft descriptions, and the action sequences are vivid. To tell such a splendid story, set in such an intriguing world, with such memorable characters, in such a thin volume—merely a hundred pages—is truly a stunning effort, and I can’t praise Tchaikovsky enough. At the same time, I am furious at him for writing such a tiny book that left me wanting more, a lot more. Docking a star exclusively for the unsatisfyingly little length—this is the second time I’m doing it, the first instance being “One Day All This Will Be Yours” by the same author—I would rate Ogres 4 out of 5 though it is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Adrian Tchaikovsky is a machine. He writes one excellent book after another, and it's getting difficult to keep up with him. In Ogres, he delivers a thrilling dark satire told (successfully!) in 2nd person POV. At over six feet tall, Torquell is a giant, bigger than any human around. Compared to Ogres, though, he's punny. Ogres tower over everyone thanks to genetic modification. I'm not sure if I should tell you anything more about the plot, as the mystery of what is going on is at the heart of the book. Suffice to say, Torquell gets on the wrong side of his Ogre landlord and finds himself on the run. He soon learns who made the ogres, and how did they become lords of all creation. Ogres is a future dystopia about power imbalance. It shows the far future, generations after attempting to "manage" the human crisis of overpopulation and shortage of resources. There's a twist, of course, and a bitter look at humanity's worst impulses. Nevertheless, Tchaikovsky's sharp social commentary is brutally logical and on point. And rather uncomfortable. The second-person narration works surprisingly well; readers won't know (or guess) who speaks to Torquell until the last page, and the reveal is well worth it. Such narration choice emphasized the "you are there" effect. I can't guarantee everyone will like it, but I loved it and hope others will, too.
What a delicious romp through a deeply satirical future. I seriously loved the dark humour in this which made me laugh sardonically more than once. But this being one of Adrian Tchaikovsky's stories, it's not just a nice story and it doesn't just have great worldbuilding or memorable characters - no, it's fun while also being deeply meaningful, addressing terrible problems we face (or hide from) everyday. And all that in an entertaining way that sweeps you right along. One could say this is a "delicios" read. ;)
Ogres, my first novel by the highly rated genre master Adrian Tchaikovsky was a beautiful read, everything I hoped it might be, and much more than I had excepted. In fact I think this short novel verges on the profound, and I really hope a lot of readers make time and thoughtspace for this fast-paced, genre-bending book. The story, as the book description suggests, is essentially a slave versus master narrative. Told in an almost fairytale style, in the second person (which in this case is no stumbling block, and is in fact essential to the story), we follow ‘you’, Torquell who is the hero and center of this tale, through a very eventful, violent, tragic, and exciting life of rebellion(s), mystery, and many excellent twists and turns. The main character Torquell is a rebellious sort, hotheaded, and learns many of his lessons the hard way. But he is also, in his own way brilliant and destined to be a leader, if he can survive the harsh and horrible world of The Masters, or ‘the Ogres’ as their slaves call them behind their backs. His journey and development of character leads the narrative through many ups and downs, set pieces and locales, making this novel a real page-turner — I just couldn’t put it down, in fact I finished it at midnight the day after I started reading it, rushing through page after page in doctors receptions, in breaks at work, and well, wherever I could get the chance. As well as the protagonist, there are many other interesting characters including an Ogre called Isadora, a scientist who is in her own compassion to her ‘monkeys’, Minith who is Isadora’s head scientist, and a few others of note. Some of the other characters are less well explored, but this is because of the storytelling style that Adrian employs, which is both elegant and clean in the telling ( the reason for this style is all explained in a twist at the end of the story). The world building is excellent in Ogres, and we are introduced slowly to the world through the eyes of Torquell, who is discovering the secrets of the oppressive world and its history at the same speed we are. This leads to some great twists and turns. But alas I cannot discuss these ideas Adrian has embedded into this book without revealing massive spoilers, so we will have to talk after you have read Ogres for yourself (pm me if you would like). There are obvious themes like slavery, subjugation and dehumanization explored here, and I really felt the emotional journey of watching Torquell’s suffering and being a silent witness to the oppression of his world, his triumphs, and defeats. But there are other themes at play here, such as an examination of the classic ‘hero’s journey', how to nurture a revolution, the value of revenge and when it is the right thing to compromise to protect the people you care for. Adrian’s writing is confident and sure, and there is some beautiful prose here. It's a short read, too, so don’t hesitate, you’ll be sucked in in no time. To think that he has written so many other books, series and stories really leaves me excited to read more of his work - because Ogres is, maybe, a little bit of a masterpiece. I want to thank the author, publishing house and NetGalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
Ya know, while i didn’t enjoy the format the story was told in, I did really enjoy the story itself. The bits of information you slowly get out of the story that explain what happened to the world, kept you tearing through the book trying to find the last few morsels to complete the missing history. I was delighted with the twist at the end and pleased that the baddies that pissed me off weren't let off with a slap on the wrist. All in all, not my favorite of Adrian Tchaikovsky's works, but definitely a great read and perfect example of his amazing writing.
Torquell lives in an apparently idyllic little town where everybody loves him and tolerates his mischief and bandits share their fire and stories with him. But Torquell also lives in a town where the landlord’s visit means enduring the disdain of someone who knows is above all, because he is an Ogre, and ogres are bigger and stronger… and they rule the world. I entered Adrian Tchaikovsky’s new world without any particular knowledge of what I was getting myself into, and I think that worked in the books favour, because the first chapters were devoured as the ogres eat their meat (in a couple of bites), and Torquell’s journey started and took me along the ride. It had its bumps; I am not going to lie. Its structure, clearly separated into different blocks, made me care more for some parts than the other. Some of the secondary characters were forgotten as soon as Torquell moved on. I did, however, enjoy the social and political commentary, and I chuckled more than once and even found myself nodding in agreement with what I was reading. The second-person narration was an amazing choice and helped, as other noted, the sensation that the reader is inside, not only the world, but the whole narrative. ** I received an advanced copy of this book through Netgalley and the editor in exchange for an honest review **
Adrian is a master of the double twist. Opening one of his novellas is a guarantee of a twisty story with one or two shocking surprises. I found it enjoyable and a quick read, with all the excellent world building Adrian is known for. It's not my favorite of his novellas, mostly because it was a tad more predictable than his usual and it felt like the main character took way too long to figure out something that should have been obvious, however perhaps that was the point. I'll let you read it to see what I mean, but suffice it to say, heroes are easily manipulated.
Ogres explores power and birthright in a world that is all too easy to imagine. In this book you are Torquell, the son of the headsman of your village and you have lived a relatively easy life. You play pranks and steal from your neighbors in the name of justice. But when you strike the son of the landlord, an Ogre, a Master, you set off a chain of events that leads you to understand that you don't know anything about the world you live in. This is my first time reading from Adrian Tchaikovsky and I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I definitely wasn’t expecting this gem of a book. In less than 200 pages he manages to craft a world that simultaneously feels like a medieval fairytale and a bleak dystopian future. He gives us magic and science and Robin Hood and forced vegetarianism. And somehow it all works together and creates a compelling story that speaks to the problems of our world today. This is honestly one of the best things I have ever read. It uses the second person "you" throughout, which surprised me at first. But this unconventional choice brings the reader into the story in a way that is unparalleled. The story is about you, this is your future, our future. I feel as though I have lived the events of this novella. I am Torquell (sorry, not sorry, that is a Spartacus reference and there is some of that in here too). I am a lover of novellas so I recognize how hard it can be to get the pacing right in so little space. Tchaikovsky nails the pacing in Ogres in a way that is incredibly difficult to do in short form fiction. Like a snow ball being pushed down a hill the story accumulates as you read, becoming bigger and bigger and sweeping you along with the narrative until you feel as though you have lost control of where the story is going and are crushed beneath its weight. But by the time you get to the end you are happy to be crushed, that weight feels right. This is an absolute must read for fans of speculative fiction. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.
A world where humans are vegetarians and servants under the rule of the meat eating Ogres, add a robin hood script, then expand it further as a coming of age experience and then start closing it off as a revolutionist. Adrian Tchaikovsky has written a stunner of a book and oh what a splendid plot twist. Absolutely delightful, one of those books which you'd definitely want to go back again and again. Recommended read. Thank you Netaglley for providing me an opportunity to read the book in exchange for my honest feedback..
4.5 stars The previous two books I read from this author were firmly sci-fi, and then I see this one about...ogres?? Well, ok, I’ll give it a try. When I opened it and saw that it was in the second POV, I dropped my Kindle and yelled “NO!” When I read I visualize the story as a movie in my brain, so second POV is very difficult for me to read. But do you see my rating? That is the power that Tchaikovsky has! The plot was paced very well, and Torquell is a great character to follow. The plot twist that was revealed that shows the truth about the ogres, and also explains how Torquell is the way he is, was very well done (but I expected nothing less from the author). At this point Tchaikovsky could probably write down his grocery list and multiple people, including myself, would read it because he would find someway to add a twist into it 😁 Thank you to NetGalley & Rebellion Publishing for this advanced reader copy. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
*An excellent novella that packs a lot in its slim 144-page count* Adrian Tchaikovsky is prolific. In 2021 alone, he published 2 novels and 3 novellas. At this speed, it may be tempting to assume that quality is compromised. Yet the amount of craft and attention to detail displayed in this book is stupefying. Tchaikovsky evokes a surprisingly large number of themes (tyranny, social injustice, feminism, science ethics, and the morality of unbridled power) in a poignant, lean, and satisfying tale. There are no superfluous bits here. Everything fits exactly. All stylistic choices I had reservations about (e.g. the second person narration) made perfect sense by the end. Pound for pound, this was probably the best book I read in 2021.
I've always wanted more stories about orges. Shrek can't be it for ogres. Enter this novel (they're not green though, I feel like that should be said). This is a dystopian, alternate future, if you don't know history you're doomed to repeat it, fun time. The first chapter took a little to get into, but once you're there, it's very enticing and you want to learn whats going on in the world just like Torquell. I don't read a lot of SFF novellas and this is telling me that I should be reading more. I also haven't read anything else by Adrian Tchaikovsky, but I will be picking up Children of Time/Ruin later on this year, and it makes me more excited to read more of his writing.
This was a wonderful adventure that took me in unexpected directions. The setting was wonderfully put together and fit the story so well. Second person is such a difficult perspective to pull off, but I feel it was done well here. I was able to immerse myself in the story and the world. Some of the reveals in this were predictable - but only because the story was told in a way that got me thinking! The commentary on slavery and oppression was masterfully done in my opinion. I loved finding out some of the historical details because everything felt so realistic (in a horrible way)! The ending was lovely and quite frankly I would love to see more in this world.
For the first quarter of the book, it felt medieval. A story about a time past when monsters ruled a world of peasants. At the halfway point, it changed totally. Now it became a time in the future when the current earth was very different; and you start to learn why. As the end approaches, it becomes an indictment of our reality. At the end, it becomes a story of hope. The writing style is a bit difficult at first; it reminds me of a few other books I’ve come across written in an ancient style. That passes fairly quickly and the pages turned more rapidly. What I really loved was how the author reveals the story behind the story. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by the author. This is the best he’s put on paper yet! You can’t add this one to your stack of books to read quickly enough. Amazing and worth sharing with anyone who finds the current state of the world offensive.
Ogres by Adrian Tchaikovsky I love about everything this author writes and was thrilled to get this from NetGalley. At first, it was strange reading it. The way the story is told is very different! I wasn't sure if I liked it in the beginning but I got in the grove and found it was different and had it's perks. This is a world were ( in the future?) Ogres are top dog and rule over humans. This story is about one human man that is bigger than all the others, but not as big as Ogres, and runs afoul of Ogre's rules. Instead of the death sentence, an Ogress takes him in as a pet and lets him learn anything he wants. He figures out how the races came to be. Then he decides to act! This has a bit of mystery, lots of action, intrigue, and political statements. I really enjoyed it. The way it was told I think made giving the characters more depth but they had enough to understand the basics of each major character. Thanks NetGalley for letting me read this book. The opinions are all mine.
Tchaikovsky’s latest novella is an intriguing, engaging examination of a whole swathe of human qualities — ambition, weakness, economics, and more. Interesting from start to finish, it’s packed with original spins on a number of fantasy/sci-fi features. Each year, the author publishes a new book that shows readers that his range is far larger than we already believed. In this novella, Tchaikovsky offers a vision of world in which humanity is ruled by a class of ogres — bigger, stronger, meaner, more brutal than humans, they are at the top of the heap. Humans are chattel, as well as (in some cases) cattle; they are docile, obedient, and afraid. Until Torquell. After an altercation involving the ogre who rules over their land, Torquell lashes out and sets in motion a cascading series of events that could change everything. Through his experiences, we learn more and more about this world/reality: the history of the ogres, their rise and humanity’s fall. And also the truth of Torquell himself. If you’re even vaguely observant of contemporary Western politics, you’ll see clear parallels. "They have demanded for generations: can it not be slightly better for us? and been slapped down by the truncheon-wielding thugs the ogres employ as law-keepers. And then you arrive, and tell them that their entire bubble world is like a pot, only hot and seething because someone’s keeping the fire beneath it stoked. The question they should have been asking is, why is it like this at all?" It’s very difficult to talk about the plot without spoiling things (something I always struggle with, when it comes to reviewing novellas) — it is in the gradual stream of revelations that Ogres works so well. The punch of the ending would land very differently if you knew even a few of the stops along the way. Needless to say, Tchaikovsky builds the story brilliantly. Each character is fully realized on the page, even if their appearance is only fleeting, and through their inclusion in the story we learn more and more about the society, politics, and history of this reality. One of the things I very much liked about the novella was the extent to which it comments on our current reality — in particular, in relation to capitalism and the expectations it has convinced us are necessary; but also some nice commentary on international relations and/or the history of war. (See, Tchaikovsky really knows how to pack in quite a bit into his novellas.) "The ogres have set up their pressure-cooker cities so that it’s work or die, and you come to them and say, what if… neither?" The writing is excellent, and the story pulled me along from the very beginning. Torquell’s experiences are a perfect vehicle to explain this world. He is a reluctant hero, but one who appears up to the challenge. The ending was especially good, as Tchaikovsky shows us just how predictable people can be, and the risks of raising up any saviour without recognizing their innate humanity and flaws. Definitely recommended. This is a must for Tchaikovsky fans, and also an excellent starting place (if you have somehow managed to miss his work…)
CHARACTERS 🔲 mary-sue party 🔲 mostly 2D 🔲 great main cast, forgottable side characters ✅ well-written 🔲 complex and fascinating 🔲 hard to believe they are ficitonal PLOT 🔲 you've already heard this exact story a thousand time 🔲 nothing memorable 🔲 gripping ✅ exceptional 🔲 mind=blown WORLDBUILDING 🔲 takes place in our world 🔲 incoherent 🔲 OK ✅ nicely detailed 🔲 meticulous 🔲 even the last tree in the forest has its own story ATMOSPHERE 🔲 nonexistent 🔲 fine ✅ immersive 🔲 you forget you are reading a book PACING 🔲 dragging 🔲 inconsistent 🔲 picks up with time ✅ page-turner 🔲 impossible to put down Short, but pretty thought-provoking. I didn't see the ending coming but I really liked it. My first read from Tchaikovsky didn't disappoint, this novella managed to deliver despite its pretty short length. This is one of those books that I would recommend to start without any prior knowledge or expectations so you can figure it out for yourself as you go. For me it was pretty obvious what direction will the story go from the very first chapter, but that just made the journey even more interesting. The plot unfolds in a well-crafted, satisfying way and the ending managed to make it even better in my opinion. I found the character work solid but I wouldn't call it outstanding, it served its purpose well. The worldbuilding was interesting but because of the length we only get to know the bits that are relevant to the story. I wish there were some more details but I can understand the decision and it would maybe bore some people even if I would appreciate it. The most controversial point of this book is most likely the writing style, since it's told in second person. Yes, everything is "you". At the start it slightly bothered me but with time I kinda got used to it and it made sense by the end of the story. Overall it was a very pleasant first experience with the author and I can't wait to read more from him 😊
A wonderful book. An adult fairy story or myth. An oppressed people, a hero who doesn’t even realise that the world needs him, oppresses who have forgotten that when cornered even a mouse can bite. It’s not often a book is written in the second person and even less often is it done well. Here it is done magnificently. I simply could not put this story down. I think that we, as readers, are supposed to work out the heritage of the ogres and the Economics but the ending left me openmouthed with surprise. I really didn’t see it coming but upon reflection who else would tell a hero’s tale.
I have read a few of Adrian Tchaikovsky's books but this was my first novella. I have to say at first it was jarring reading in second person point of view. I was completely thrown off but I got into the flow I enjoyed this story very much. It explores genetic modification and society's idea on the class system. The ending got me and I usually can see things coming. Not this time. I think the read readability of the novella will give a whole new perspective after the first run through. This just furthers my love for reading this man's work. He's a machine and his ability to adapt to different genres is amazing. I will be reading more of his novellas in the future.
The variety, speed and quality of Tchaikovsky's output is amazing. I really enjoyed this story of the underdog fighting back in a world where ogres rule. The first half set up the story and the second half of the book explores how and why things change. No spiders or sentient beings in this one! Just a couple of dogs and a whole lot of "monkeys". The entire book is in 2nd person which was unexpected but Tchaikovsky pulls it off really well. Totally unexpected ending. My only complaint is that this could have easily been a full length novel rather than such a short story - I would love to have read more in this story and was sad when it ended.