Today I’m coming to you with an incredibly delayed review post for Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky! You can find the synsopsis and review below!
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, mind-to-mind, 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 discovered 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’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky is a hard sci-fi space opera novel that dazzles with its complex world buidling and equally dazzling characters.
I have to say that the fact that this book has characters who are non-humanoid aliens is one of the best aspects of the novel. I hate reading sci-fi novels that take place in space and there are either no alien life forms or aliens that look exactly like humans.
But I digress! ‘Shards of Earth’ was incredibly compelling and I believe one of its strengths was the characters. Solace, Idris, Kris, Kit, Olli, Trine (and of course Captain Rollo) were fully formed, three-dimensional characters that the reader cannot help but get emotionally invested in. Not only were these characters wonderful, flawed and filled to the brim with personality; their relationships with each other was where they each showcased their true selves. Solace, for instance, was my absolute favourite character because we have her juggling her two warring loyalties; that of the crew of the Vulture God and that of her people, the Partheni. Through Solace, we see how she begins to grow, coming into her own outside of being a now covert agent for her people. She builds friendships, and yes some of then volatile, but friendships nonetheless. Idris, another one of my favourite characters, was the star of the show, in my opinion. He is a gentle man who just wants peace (both internally and the universe itself) who has found himself as a man outside of his time; not aging for the past 70 years can do that to a person. But he cares so much for a people who only really want to keep him and his abilities leashed. But as an Intermediary between the universe the feared Architects, he finds himself in the middle of a burgeoning inter-galactic war.
It’s safe to say that I adored Idris.
The narrative itself centres on the possibility of the Architects coming back and wreaking destruction on what’s left of humanity or ‘Colonists’. The Architects, their story and how and why they do what they do, absolutely fascinated me and was an element of the novel that kept me on the edge of my seat. Who are they? From what I understand, they are an alien-type of mass, pretty sure they are encased in what looks to be like a gigantic space ship type of thing. They have no ‘human’ figure or anything as their consciousness and mass are too much to be stifled into a humanoid form. They just are. They unmake and remake planets (and various other things that get in their way) that they deem to be in need for reconstruction.
They were fascinating.
We then have political maneuvering, different peoples about to fall into war, mafia-like organisations wanting what they think is theirs (spoilers, it’s not) and the very strange nature of unspace and unspace travel.
The only issues I had, and the reason why this book is not a five star read, was the pacing. The first 54% of the novel took quite a long time for me, as the reader, to orientate myself to the language of the world, the characters and the world-building. In order to help along the reader, there are a few instances of information dumps, which are not a terrible thing it actually helped, but it did feel jarring at times to be transported slightly out of the narrative in order to be given contextual information. Most of the actual meat of the story happened in the last 25-30% of the story and I wish that the pacing was more consistent across the story itself.
However, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and will definitely be continuing the series!
And that’s for today friends! Please check out the other stops on the blog tour!
Until next time, happy reading!
All the love,
About the Author
Adrian Tchaikovsky is the author of the acclaimed Shadows of the Apt fantasy series, from the first volume, Empire In Black and Gold in 2008 to the final book, Seal of the Worm, in 2014, with a new series and a standalone science fiction novel scheduled for 2015. He has been nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award and a British Fantasy Society Award. In civilian life he is a lawyer, gamer and amateur entomologist.