ARC provided by the publisher—Pan Macmillan—in exchange for an honest review
Children of Ruin retained everything that’s great about the Children of Time by following its predecessor’s footstep really closely.
Although Children of Time worked absolutely well as a standalone, please do not read Children of Ruin without reading the previous book first because this isn’t a standalone sequel. Tchaikovsky builds upon the foundation and ending from Children of Time to expand the universe within this series further. I really don’t want to spoil anything from the series so I’ll refrain from talking about the main plot and I’ll try to keep this review as concise as possible.
Same as its predecessor, Tchaikovsky juggles two timelines that move at a steady pace to tell his story; eventually converging wonderfully closer to the end of the book. The story in The Past time frame was written in third-person past tense narration, while The Present time frame is being told in the third-person present tense. The two timelines complement each other greatly in telling a thought-provoking story about cooperation, evolution, science, discovery, and identities. I’ve read a lot of books and both Children of Time and Children of Ruin stands among some of the most original novels about space exploration; this is something that I truly appreciate and I loved reading the detailed exposition on the octopus’s evolution. As much as I loved how smartly crafted this book was, the heavy emphasis on biology and evolution did slow down the pacing a bit at a few points of the book. There was one section where there’s literally no dialogue for approximately 60 pages long; I feel a bit of dialogue or character interactions during this section would’ve made the pacing more compelling. The world-building was stunning. Once again, I’m amazed by Tchaikovsky’s creativity and intricacy in creating this sci-fi series; well-researched and believable.
Admittedly, I personally think that the novel follows its predecessor too closely. Even just from the first 15% of the book, I knew the conclusion of the novel immediately. I had a feeling that Tchaikovsky continued using the same storytelling structure as Children of Time and I was proven right. Children of Ruin is pretty much Children of Time with a different cast, terraformed planet, and evolving creature; the way the plot began, progressed and ended was practically the same. This doesn’t mean that the book was meh or disappointing, I just found that the satisfactory conclusion a bit lacking in ‘wow’ impact that the first book clearly had. If you don’t mind reading the same kind of story as Children of Time being told again in this sequel, I know this novel will be a hit for you.
Overall, Children of Ruin is a great sequel, even though I loved Children of Time more, I still think that this is a must read for any reader who’s fond of reading a unique take on space exploration and evolution. It feels good to read a sci-fi story that’s incredibly hopeful and uplifting in its theme but not lacking in tension; that’s exactly what’s being offered with this series.
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