Wrecket’s notes: The below review is a featured piece from our friend over at “The Half Arsed Runner”
If you get the chance, go check out his blog, especially if you’re into fitness and/or running.
Spanning epic timescales that encompass the rise and fall of civilisations, this is an ambitious novel. Many themes are covered by sci-fi/fantasy cross-over writer, Adrian Tchaikovsky, ranging from evolution, war and insanity to the very fabric of how an advanced society works, and how one species subjugates another.
That is not to say that the book is without action scenes or strong characters. But it often takes the long view, making it slow moving and philosophical in places. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is likely to depend on your own particular disposition. For my own part, give me a well-brewed pot of coffee and I could talk philosophy all morning.
Expect to see spaceships, the distant future of a second human race, giant spiders made intelligent by a nano-virus and crazed human-AI fusions calling the shots. This all makes it sound very much like a sci-fi novel, but it comes from the perspective of a fantasy writer, and this is never more apparent than in the strands of the narrative that deal with the rise of the civilisation of the spiders.
The tale of two histories on a collision course with each other, the chapters alternate between the world of the spiders and the world of the humans.
The story of the green terraformed planet is thoughtful and creative; the prose itself has the silky smooth elegance of a newly woven spider’s web. For me though, I preferred reading the scenes with the humans, which were the more traditional, character and dialogue driven scenes.
You will warm to central characters Holsten and Lain, whose understated relationship plays out across centuries, punctuated by long periods of stasis, and you will root against Guyen during his descent into crazed megalomania.
And at the risk of sounding like an insufferable tree-hugger, you will most likely come away with just a little more empathy for the non-human sentient beings who we share the planet with.
Visit https://halfarsed-runner.blog/ to read more from our featured writer.