Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Hi Blinkys and Blogdogs! and Hello again Inky! It’s been a while!
I’ve been reading a lot lately, and I’m five books ahead on my 75 books for the year challenge on Goodreads. Maybe I should make it bigger?
There’s been a bit of debate amongst my friendship group about whether or not listening to audiobooks should count towards my reading challenge. What do you think? Over half of the books I’ve “read” this year have been audiobooks as a matter of fact!
I had an urge to read a nice space book recently, but I didn’t feel I was up to slogging through love triangle after love triangle that I usually have to with YA sci-fi (if you like that kind of thing that’s cool though!) I decided I’d have a look at the adult sci-fi section of my audiobook app, and I found this one, Children of Time, which had great reviews and a very interesting premise:
A race for survival among the stars… Humanity’s last survivors escaped earth’s ruins to find a new home. But when they find it, can their desperation overcome its dangers?
WHO WILL INHERIT THIS NEW EARTH?
The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age—a world terraformed and prepared for human life.
But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare.
Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?
(Blurb from Goodreads)
I don’t know how Adrian Tchaikovsky thought up this idea, but I’m glad he did! It was a very interesting read. I think he really paid attention to trying to make this book as scientifically accurate a book about intelligent spiders and deep space travel can be.
While I did expect to get stuck in this one and have to regain motivation to read it, that didn’t happen and I felt that It went at a smooth pace throughout.
The bit that really made me interested in the novel is something not mentioned in the blurb, so I’ll give you a little overview (it’s not a spoiler!)
The humans of Earth (headed by one Avrana Kern)have developed a virus to speed up the development of a species from basic animal to a sentient, intelligent race akin to humans. This is intended for a group of monkeys being sent onto a newly terraformed planet – but that doesn’t quite go as planned…
Children of Time is set over a very long period of time, tens of thousands of years if I can remember correctly! The main character, Holston Mason, is alive throughout due to the sci-fi classic of going to sleep for hibernation for hundreds of years at a time. This meant that we (well, Holston) awoke to new circumstances and situations throughout the book, which was something I’m not so used to, making for a new reading experience.
Character relationships in the human sections of the story (I’ll get to the spider sections in a moment) were interesting, but nowhere as plot centred and intense as they are in YA sci-fi, which I found refreshing. The characters all felt well-developed and unique (which was surely aided by the excellent voice acting of Mel Hudson, who narrated the audiobook).
The parts of the novel which really made it so interesting and special were the bits from the spiders’ perspective. Without wanting to reveal too much, I’ll mention that spiders form a significant part of the novel. Stay away if you have arachnophobia! We begin through the eyes of Portia, an Earth spider, as she hunts prey of the new planet designated for the humans. Portia turns up again and again in the novel, as different spiders in different times, but with the same kind of “role” in each new time-section. There are other roles too, like Bianca and Fabian, who follow similar patterns. I have a lot more I’d like to say about the spiders, but I’d definitely spoil things if I went much further.
I definitely recommend this to anyone into sci-fi, spiders, space, and really anyone else too. 😉
Enjoy (and I hope you all had great holidays) from Sekhmet