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The astonishing sequel to Children of Time, the award-winning novel of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet. Long ago, Earth's terraforming program sent ships out to build new homes for humanity among the stars and made an unexpected discovery: a planet with life. But the scientists were unaware that the alien ecosystem was more developed than the primitiv The astonishing sequel to Children of Time, the award-winning novel of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet. Long ago, Earth's terraforming program sent ships out to build new homes for humanity among the stars and made an unexpected discovery: a planet with life. But the scientists were unaware that the alien ecosystem was more developed than the primitive life forms originally discovered. Now, thousands of years later, the Portiids and their humans have sent an exploration vessel following fragmentary radio signals. They discover a system in crisis, warring factions trying to recover from an apocalyptic catastrophe arising from what the early terraformers awoke all those years before.


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The astonishing sequel to Children of Time, the award-winning novel of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet. Long ago, Earth's terraforming program sent ships out to build new homes for humanity among the stars and made an unexpected discovery: a planet with life. But the scientists were unaware that the alien ecosystem was more developed than the primitiv The astonishing sequel to Children of Time, the award-winning novel of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet. Long ago, Earth's terraforming program sent ships out to build new homes for humanity among the stars and made an unexpected discovery: a planet with life. But the scientists were unaware that the alien ecosystem was more developed than the primitive life forms originally discovered. Now, thousands of years later, the Portiids and their humans have sent an exploration vessel following fragmentary radio signals. They discover a system in crisis, warring factions trying to recover from an apocalyptic catastrophe arising from what the early terraformers awoke all those years before.

30 review for Children of Ruin

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    Well well well... took me long enough :P

  2. 4 out of 5

    Petrik

    ARC provided by the publisher—Pan Macmillan—in exchange for an honest review 3.5/5 stars 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 with ARC provided by the publisher—Pan Macmillan—in exchange for an honest review 3.5/5 stars 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 intrigue; that’s exactly what’s being offered with this series. You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping) You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Not as good as the first one but still awesome! What with spiders I fell in love with

  4. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    I received this from Netgalley, but this household has already purchased the audiobook. Let me talk about Adrian Tchaikovsky for a moment: I'm always surprised to find that he's not selling books as though they were hot cakes fresh from the oven. Possibly, because he's so versatile, that not only is each book a completely new adventure, Tchaikovsky switches genres as if it were no big deal. He's written some brilliant science fiction, an epic high fantasy series that spans ten volumes, but also ma I received this from Netgalley, but this household has already purchased the audiobook. Let me talk about Adrian Tchaikovsky for a moment: I'm always surprised to find that he's not selling books as though they were hot cakes fresh from the oven. Possibly, because he's so versatile, that not only is each book a completely new adventure, Tchaikovsky switches genres as if it were no big deal. He's written some brilliant science fiction, an epic high fantasy series that spans ten volumes, but also many standalones. There's even a shifter saga. Personally, I recommend Dogs of War if you're into science fiction and Guns of the Dawn if you're into fantasy to get a taste of his style. Children of Time won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2016, and deservedly so. It's one of the best science fiction novels I've ever read. And I say that as someone who is afraid of spiders, and damn if that book isn't filled with spiders. Now, here's the sequel. Does it hold up? Yes, yes, it does. I'd give it 4.75 stars. I'll let you know in a bit, why I've chopped off 0.25 of the fifth star. Children of Ruin is a fantastic book, that I ploughed through in two days because I couldn't put it down. It's got many twists and turns, wonderfully odd characters and a ton of evolutionary science. The cast is diverse, but it isn't a plot point. Some people just happen to be gay or asexual, because they are, and that's how it should be. About halfway through, I was on the edge of my seat, almost ready to put the book into the freezer, so nothing bad could happen. I yelled at my Kindle, cursed the fact my other half wasn't reading it yet, and that I couldn't discuss what was going on with anyone. This is one gripping story and the tension does not let up until the very end. The world building is some of the best, and you can tell that hours of research went into this book. Everything is explained with great care, in words that everyone can understand. Its themes are uplifting and positive, but one stands out in particular: collaboration. People working together, solving problems together. People not fighting each other, and people not destroying what they find as they explore the universe. How refreshing to read a book where different species work together, work to understand each other better, research how to improve their communication. It is such an important topic, and I love how Tchaikovsky handles it. Why not five stars, you ask? Because ultimately, this book didn't surprise me as much as Tchaikovsky novels usually do. He took a very successful book, Children of Time, and essentially told the same story again. He did so brilliantly, and it's a gripping book I'll recommend for years to come, but ultimately it tells a very similar story to Children of Time. Then again, this world is in desperate need of more books where people collaborate and work together. I highly recommend Children of Ruin to every science-fiction fan and can't wait to see what Tchaikovsky writes next.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    I admit that I was afraid that this might not have turned out as good ... as brilliant ... as the Children of Time, but now that I've read it, I'm happy to say that I'm very happy indeed. We left our spider/human crew off to explore new worlds and peoples and guess what they found? A new world and multiple alien species. :) We have all the goodness of Dr. Kern, her ants, the Portias, and the human crew stumbling face first into a free-for-all (or close enough), reacting very badly to the news tha I admit that I was afraid that this might not have turned out as good ... as brilliant ... as the Children of Time, but now that I've read it, I'm happy to say that I'm very happy indeed. We left our spider/human crew off to explore new worlds and peoples and guess what they found? A new world and multiple alien species. :) We have all the goodness of Dr. Kern, her ants, the Portias, and the human crew stumbling face first into a free-for-all (or close enough), reacting very badly to the news that HUMANS had come. *facepalm* Of course. Fortunately, it only gets better from here. We have two timelines and several generations to catch up with, beginning with human terraformers making mistakes, playing with making new life, AGAIN, or I should say, AS USUAL, and never quite making the required leap between keeping control on their projects and throwing caution to the wind. This sequence was fascinating as hell to me. If you love squiddies, you're going to love this novel. I did. :) When we get to the linguistics and math and just trying to salvage a real clusterpluck of several first-contact scenarios with what SHOULD have been a great starting point with what we already accomplished with intelligent spiders and humans, I really got the feeling like this was shaping up to be a full-on horror novel. I kept thinking about Greg Bear's Blood Music. With all the cool bits intact. And my goodness, I fell head-over-heels. The squiddies are like what a civilization would be like if all you had was the squabbling vibrancy of the best and worst features of our internet turned into a full-on species. Crank it up, make them intelligent but too passionate and flighty for their own good, and you might get a pretty neat idea about what we're dealing with. :) I love it. :) This is one of the more original SF novels to come out in a long time along with the Children of Time. In a long line of novels that all seem to be riffing on mostly the self-same themes, these two books break so many molds and fly so very high above the rest. :) Tchaikovsky put heart and soul into these and for that, I salute him. :) FANTASTIC IDEAS RUN RAMPANT! :) :) :)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nataliya

    “You expand our world. We cure your singularity. Isn’t that a good?” I do think that Children of Ruin is actually even better than its predecessor Children of Time — more complex, more nuanced, more far-reaching — but it is not as easy to like or to binge as the first book. I am a compulsive binge-reader, and even I needed to get through this one in several chunks. But in the end, in that end that I definitely did not anticipate (after all, I’m human, not Human), it was all more than worth it “You expand our world. We cure your singularity. Isn’t that a good?” I do think that Children of Ruin is actually even better than its predecessor Children of Time — more complex, more nuanced, more far-reaching — but it is not as easy to like or to binge as the first book. I am a compulsive binge-reader, and even I needed to get through this one in several chunks. But in the end, in that end that I definitely did not anticipate (after all, I’m human, not Human), it was all more than worth it. “They don’t even know what they want! But she reminds herself that is an anthropocentric universe speaking. They want many things. Human neurology works the same way, after all, with conflicting urges and drives bubbling away beneath the surface. Perhaps for these creatures those impulses are literally on the surface all the time.” It’s tempting to reduce it to just Children of Time but with octopuses (not octopi. I checked). To chuckle at Tchaikovsky’s choice of different eight-appendaged creatures that are so very different from our human understandings, and whom we can eventually come to respect as fellow sentient life forms who are persons without needing to be human. But that’s way too reductive here. Despite all of its complexity, Children of Time was overall a straightforward story of an inevitable conflict and eventual understanding between a civilization of sentient spiders unintentionally “uplifted“ by an engineered nanovirus and the remnants of human civilization desperately needing another planet after Earth became uninhabitable. Oh, and also let’s not forget Avrana Kern who underwent the unlikely transformation “from human to human-AI hybrid to pure AI (that believed itself human) through to a complex program running on an organic operating system arising out of the interactions of millions of ants.” Simple, yeah? And it was clear that spiders were the ones to root for, and humans only if they would find a way to coexist with those they used to think of as monsters. Children of Ruin turns it up a new notches. Now we still have sentient Portiid spiders relying on their “Understandings” (genetic memories) and nanovirus-enhanced Humans forging a still somewhat tentative alliance with the more dominant spider civilization, and with a bit more critical look at the less pleasant things about spiders’ trends towards posturing and gender discrimination (it’s oppressive matriarchy here that is a problem). But we also have a look back in time to a very unlucky terraforming team on another planet who have to quickly adjust their plans after realizing that “They were the first humans to set eyes on something that had evolved on another world and owed nothing to Earth.”: “You know what they were calling the terraforming initiative, when we left Earth orbit? The Forever Project. Because this is it. This is when the human race becomes immortal, you get me? We’re off Earth. We’re making new homes amongst the stars, whether the stars want us or not. We have godlike power. People will come here, expecting to find a home. They’ll be properly impressed by the jellyfish and the moving rocks and thing-what, but then they’ll start asking awkward questions like, ‘Which house is mine, then?’ I mean, you know people. We all do. Moan, moan, demand, demand, ‘We came thirty light years and you’re showing us pictures of tidal marshland.’” We also get to see a new emerging (and even more alien to us) society of octopuses with their decentralized nervous systems making their cognition so unbelievably alien and alienating. After all, “evolution had gifted them with a profoundly complex toolkit for taking the world apart to see if there was a crab hiding under it.” “Paul solves problems like a wizard: a thought, a desire, and his Reach extends to fulfil it. Sometimes this means a fight, where intimate contact between his arms and another’s imposes dominance and simultaneously passes information from Reach to Reach, a whole black market of calculating power that Paul and his peers don’t even know they have. In this partnership, each entity a committee, they get things done.” “And of course as their Crowns trumpet their defiance of each other, their Reaches interlock and fight for dominance, eight separate calculating engines per octopus running in networked parallel, expressing pure maths and logistics by way not just of tentacles but the muscles of individual suction cups, a perfectly evolved engine of rational expression serving the tumultuous whims of the brain.” And add to that Avrana Kern, who is still with us, “Kern—or the semi-biological computer system that identified as Kern”, who may or may not somewhat miss the time when she could feel emotions as a human being many millennia ago. “Avrana Kern has only limited and artificial emotional responses, being dead and a computer composed at least partially of ants.” “Vitriol, ah, I remember that. It feels good to be scathing and unpleasant again.” And finally, the *really* alien life of the planet Nod; These-of-We that slowly but surely become a threat to any life. Anywhere. They just want to go on an adventure — the words that are bound to give you nightmares after this book. “One day it finds itself on some far orb, utterly alone despite all its plurality, every possible variation of its archives plumbed, the stars still out of reach, knowing only that it has encountered cultures and civilizations and individuals of indescribable difference and diversity, and made them all into its own image. It is a child reaching for a soap bubble in innocent wonder, and finding only an oily residue on its hands, and the world cheapened and coarsened. And it weeps, if such a thing can weep. Perhaps, by then and after so many bodies, it has finally learned.” And all of this comes together in strange and unexpected ways, through emotions and visuals and marine habitats in space and web-based spaceships and cross-species contamination. And it initially doesn’t seem to really work as a cohesive whole — until suddenly it does. It does so well. ———————— The uniting theme of this book is the power of curiosity and how far the desire to know, to explore, to feel can take you. Curiosity — and communication, without which destruction can and will be rampant. Well, and the desire for understanding and empathy, no matter how hard it may be, in this universe full of people and spiders and octopuses and apparently corvids, and alien slime, and artificial intelligence and who knows what else. All who can coexist and explore together and learn. “Tell them this…” And Kern speaks: the intentions of an alien culture, filtered through a once-human computer now rapidly running out of thinking room, through a Portiid spider, through a Human and into the world of the cephalopods that even now have their arms about the trigger.” “Only by accepting the other can it truly find diversion and inspiration; only by allowing the universe to be separate from it can it have the infinite variety it craves.” And the final note: please be careful before allowing your pet octopus play video games. It may lead to unintended consequences. “But then, when you’re designing an interface to let molluscs play computer games you probably don’t build in that much security. Baltiel had a moment to consider how that was a sequence of words he’d never expected to be relevant in his life.” Excellently done. Brilliantly executed. And I read the entire Wikipedia article on octopuses. And learned their proper plural. Double win. 5 stars. ————— “He had bred them and mutated them and played all sorts of God, and now they wanted to know why and he had no answer.”

  7. 4 out of 5

    carol.

    Timed out at page 203. To be continued. Thoughts: The narrative proved more disjointed than the first; there's a dual story going on with the upgraded humans from the first book, and a team of exploratory scientists who think they might be the last people in their next of the galaxy. It was odd to realize that these were not only separate corners of the universe, but separate timelines.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jilly

    Not as good as the first book. (How many times has that sentence been written here?) So, our spider race and Humans from the last book are now out exploring space like the Star Trek gang and they come across a race of octopuses/octopi... whatever.. There is also some other, very dangerous, alien around and basically it's mayhem from the start of this meeting. The octos communicate very differently than the spiders or humans, and the dangerous aliens are looking to kill everything because it's an " Not as good as the first book. (How many times has that sentence been written here?) So, our spider race and Humans from the last book are now out exploring space like the Star Trek gang and they come across a race of octopuses/octopi... whatever.. There is also some other, very dangerous, alien around and basically it's mayhem from the start of this meeting. The octos communicate very differently than the spiders or humans, and the dangerous aliens are looking to kill everything because it's an "adventure." So, yeah, misunderstandings and strange, unknown motivations on all sides. Yes, just like this. Why did that seal hit the human in the face with an octopus? Is this a compliment or insult? Is the octopus a willing participant in this assault, or just the first thing the seal could get its flippers on? So many questions... This was a lot like the first book, which I refer to as the space-spiders book, except with the evolution of the octopus race. The problem was that the octopus race is very unorganized and doesn't have this great development story like the spiders did. There is a lot of wheel spinning going on and not much forward movement. So, that was a bit disappointing. Pretty much every chapter told us how the octopuses think differently than humans (or spiders), and we pretty much didn't need to be reminded of that over and over again. We get it. I just felt like a lot of time was wasted because of it. But, even that wasn't the most annoying thing in the book. Oh no. It was the adventure-aliens. O.M.G. It's a complete race of aliens that will annoy the fuck out of the most patient person on Earth. I swear that Ghandi would have wanted to kill the little bastards. No, seriously, I'm not being a smartass jerk for once. Just look at this quote from the POV of these pathetic losers: Those-of-We (which became These-of-We) carried the archives of All-of-We, and so as long as some survived, We survived. We remember. That might not seem too bad, but imagine the "We" thing repeated about 500 million times throughout the book. (We-of-Us, We-of-Them, We-of-Past, We-of-Present, Some-of-We, All-of-We, These-of-We, Such-of-We) Gets a wee bit annoying, yes? So, no, it wasn't as good, but it was still okay if you liked the first one because we get to see what happened after it ended. I liked some of the main characters and I would have been more interested in seeing their lives a bit more back at spider-planet rather than this one. But, I give props to the author for writing things like super-smart spiders and octopuses. Inventive stuff!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    Not quite as good as Children of Time but only because that one had the advantage of surprise. Children of Ruin is a little more predictable because it takes us back into the world of terra forming just on a different planet with a different species. We join Portia, Bianca, Kern et al on a mission to explore the stars plus there is a separate timeline introducing a planet being developed by humans which features intelligent (very) octopi. And then we meet another life form altogether and things g Not quite as good as Children of Time but only because that one had the advantage of surprise. Children of Ruin is a little more predictable because it takes us back into the world of terra forming just on a different planet with a different species. We join Portia, Bianca, Kern et al on a mission to explore the stars plus there is a separate timeline introducing a planet being developed by humans which features intelligent (very) octopi. And then we meet another life form altogether and things get very dark and very scary. There is a lot of time spent on issues of communication between species which sometimes affects the pacing of the novel but mostly it moves along well. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was excellent. Her portrayal of Kern was spot on! The author contrives a very effective and reassuring ending with a nice little epilogue to let us know what happens to all our favourites. Very satisfying, very enjoyable and definitely recommended reading:)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/05/09/... Children of Time was my first experience with Adrian Tchaikovsky, and it was like a revelation. This was a book I loved so much, I wasn’t even sure I had room in my heart for a sequel, so I admit when I heard about Children of Ruin, I approached it with no small amount of skepticism and trepidation. Well, it seems I needn’t have worried, as Children of Ruin turned out to be a very enjoyable follow-up. I’ll also say that whi 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/05/09/... Children of Time was my first experience with Adrian Tchaikovsky, and it was like a revelation. This was a book I loved so much, I wasn’t even sure I had room in my heart for a sequel, so I admit when I heard about Children of Ruin, I approached it with no small amount of skepticism and trepidation. Well, it seems I needn’t have worried, as Children of Ruin turned out to be a very enjoyable follow-up. I’ll also say that while the first book ended in a very good place, I was surprised to see how much more Tchaikovsky was able to build upon its foundations, adding to both the story and the universe. Essentially, you get everything you loved from Children of Time and further exploration of its themes, including the implications of a future shared by humans and uplifted creatures. Of course, we get to see Kern again as well as the spiders, but to my delight, this book also introduces more worlds and species like octopuses and other surprises. In addition, once again we have a narrative that spans many, many years—the better to examine the growth and evolution of societies, cultures, intelligence and communication over a long period of time. Following the events of Children of Time, the humans and spiders have formed a mutual but somewhat uneasy alliance. In a joint venture between the two species, a space exploration vessel has been launched after the detection of a series of radio signals indicating the evidence of more life out there in the universe. However, in their quest to make contact, the crew encounters a new world and a hostile reaction from its alien inhabitants, putting all their lives at stake. In another thread, we discover how in the ancient past, another terraforming attempt led to the discovery of a planet the explorers dubbed Nod. Since I want to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, what happened there is best left for the reader to find out on their own, but what I can tell you is that the connection between past and present will eventually be revealed. With careful attention to detail and balance, Tchaikovsky presents a long and complex (and sometimes disturbing) history of this universe and its intelligent entities, and a few of the developments might even chill you to the bone. Because so much of this book builds upon Children of Time, it is most assuredly not a standalone sequel. Still, it is a must-read if you enjoyed the first book, and now, it is doubly worth your time to start this series if you’ve been curious about it. I still need to read more books by the author, but so far, with this series and a couple of his fantasy novels under my belt, I’m definitely feeling more of an affinity towards his sci-fi. With every page of Children of Ruin, I just grew more and more amazed at the depth of his ideas and creative genius. In book one, I thought the spiders were cool, but in book two, it was the octopuses who completely stole the show. I mean, come on! Octopuses! In space! Just when I thought Tchaikovsky could push the boundaries of this series no further, he goes ahead and proves me wrong. Furthermore, he does our new octopus characters justice, portraying them as both strange and familiar all at once. We know that as creatures, they’re scarily intelligent, but in their society as imagined in this book, they’re too disunited and fragmented to truly reach their full potential. Reading about them as was fascinating as reading about any alien culture, and the best part was that they were also different enough from the spiders to allow this sequel experience to feel unique, despite sharing similar themes with the first book. If I had to compare the novels though, I would say Children of Time still maintains the edge. Like I said, there are many parallels, which in part removes some of the novelty. As well, I found there to be more exposition in this sequel, which led to some uneven pacing. On the bright side, however, I thought Children of Ruin did a fantastic job exemplifying the “biopunk” nature of this series, placing much greater emphasis on topics like population biology and social organization, examining a species’ social behavior through an evolutionary lens. Needless to say, the science nerd in me could not have been happier with the new direction. All told, Children of Ruin follows closely in the footsteps of its predecessor when it comes to providing a smart and fresh take on our favorite science fiction themes, including alien contact and space exploration and colonization. If you loved the first book, I think you will also feel right at home with this one as Adrian Tchaikovsky once again delivers an engrossing storyline with lots of unexpected twists as well as sympathetic characters—human and nonhuman—that you can easily root for. Only two books in, Children of Time series is already proving to be a must-read for all sci-fi fans.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Milda Page Runner

    4.5* Loved it, but it didn’t blow my mind the way Children of Time did. Something about cephalopods being so hard to understand and communicate with. I think that continuous frustration coloured the mood of the book. (Here is the sentence I’d never thought I would say, but) Spiders are very reasonable and cuddly and easy to get along with in comparison. There is another side of the story, I’d call it a horror side. The less you know about it the better. That one is brilliant! I’d give it 6* stars 4.5* Loved it, but it didn’t blow my mind the way Children of Time did. Something about cephalopods being so hard to understand and communicate with. I think that continuous frustration coloured the mood of the book. (Here is the sentence I’d never thought I would say, but) Spiders are very reasonable and cuddly and easy to get along with in comparison. There is another side of the story, I’d call it a horror side. The less you know about it the better. That one is brilliant! I’d give it 6* stars if I could. I wish it was the centre of the story, cephalopods taking more of the sidelines. Anyway, another great book by A.Tchaikovsky. I appreciate how he pushes the boundaries of my perception and takes my brain out the comfort zone. At this point I’ll say – I’m happy to read anything by this author. “We are going on an adventure” :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Maya

    Genuinely, I may have enjoyed this even more than Children of Time (a book I loved so much I made a whole podcast about it - see anchor.fm/time-share). Without going into any spoilers, I will just say: - All my favorite elements of the first book are here, but still such a fresh variation. - Just as many twists and turns and unexpected plot lines. I do not know how he does it. - The answer to any question you probably have about the sequel is "yes". - Incredibly satisfying in every way. Please rea Genuinely, I may have enjoyed this even more than Children of Time (a book I loved so much I made a whole podcast about it - see anchor.fm/time-share). Without going into any spoilers, I will just say: - All my favorite elements of the first book are here, but still such a fresh variation. - Just as many twists and turns and unexpected plot lines. I do not know how he does it. - The answer to any question you probably have about the sequel is "yes". - Incredibly satisfying in every way. Please read it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mayim de Vries

    “We are going on an adventure.” Octopodes meet spiders sounds almost like a very bad branch of monsterotica. Especially that there is an odd human added here and there to spice up things. Before you get all excited: In order to fully appreciate this orgy of imagination you really need to read the prequel. Otherwise, the Children of Ruin with all the glory of overall setting, world building, backstories and more or less obscure references to people and events will be half as interesting and even le “We are going on an adventure.” Octopodes meet spiders sounds almost like a very bad branch of monsterotica. Especially that there is an odd human added here and there to spice up things. Before you get all excited: In order to fully appreciate this orgy of imagination you really need to read the prequel. Otherwise, the Children of Ruin with all the glory of overall setting, world building, backstories and more or less obscure references to people and events will be half as interesting and even less comprehensible. I am afraid that it is rather impossible to enjoy this companion novel as an independent standalone. Mr Tchaikovsky builds on the ideas he had introduced before. Spiders and Humans created a successful cohabitation and commence exploration of the universe in search of other civilisations. Unbeknown to them, in a remote corner of universe, mankind has made another terraforming attempt that didn’t go quote as planned (yes, again). The arachnids and the humans are faced with quite a challenge. The narrative follows two distinct albeit intertwined timelines, one set in the past, one focused on the present. In the past, a human terraforming team discovers that a planet they were supposed to make fit for human habitation is out of bounds, so to speak, and so they settle for a convenient replacement nearby. The convenient replacement will become an aquatic world. How handy that one crew member prefers molluscs to mammals. In the present, the human-arachnid expedition faces the inevitable fallout of the events that transpired when Avrana Kern was more than a Mother of Apes. Is it me, or is it that Mr Tchaikovsky has a penchant for scary animals? These octopi are absolutely terrifying and alien (what gives Mr Tchaikovsky more than an ample material to build on). Luckily, they are also beautiful. The Internet is positively overflowing with movies showing these animals in different contexts: from frolicking to hardcore mating to majestic. I have to say that these helped to me to “get the vibes” of the species in a way that I was never able to achieve when it came to spiders. Even though I believe “Children of Ruin” somewhat weaker than its predecessor, I am rating both equally. I misliked this instalment for altogether different reasons that have more to do with plotting and pacing rather than the more fundamental issues like the design and main premises. Where “Children of Time” bored me only in the final 20%, here I was intermittently disinterested roughly from the half way through. The arachnid evolution was presented in a harmonious, consistent way that allowed for engagement with the Portias, Violas and Biancas (not to mention the Fabians!), while the jumpy and marginal insights into the waterverse of Pauls and Salomes (forgot the other archetypical names already!), did not allow for full appreciation, immersion, and bonding. Of the human protagonists, Disra Senkovi (trickster, wastrel, bored misanthrope) confirms that Mr Tchaikovsky builds deranged, slightly psychotic geniuses with ease. Alas I could not relate. Helena, a linguist and a firm believer that with proper communication every problem can be solved, was the only protagonist I could latch on to—the rest was accidental, weird or remote. Neither was I convinced by “humanisation” of Avrana Kern is the ever-returning motif of sci-fi that looks into the boundary between life and artificial intelligence. The molluscs evolved into a wonderful civilisation but even with the augmented progress absolved by the “uplifting” excuse, I immediately switched into a fairy tale mode when reading about their breathtaking (albeit rather vaguely described) technological progress. It is not that I do not believe a tentacled being capable of building a spaceship or discovering how to fold the universe, it has more to do with the fact that collective anarchy is not the best suited mode for successful evolution. I loved the Extreme Science Party though, I’d sign up immediately. However, I find it confidently curious that throughout the series the anti-science terrorism and self-righteous judgments are still the sole domain of humans. Although, admittedly, the human inclination to play God is explored here to a lesser extent. I think I wanted to read more about the inevitable clashes and tensions between two different ways of cognition and organisation and communication, which were entirely incompatible on many levels. The challenges and ramifications of such set up are potentially endless. Sadly, none of them were properly explored because in this inter-species affair, there is also the third one. Another alien and unaccounted for form of life. I had a distinct feeling that it was a little bit too much perhaps? I do not understand why Mr Tchaikovsky decided against saving this ingenious idea for the third book in the series. After all, everybody knows it takes two to tango, and three to make a YA-like ruin of the whole book. Also in the series: 1. Children of Time ★★★☆☆

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Children of Time is one of my favourite books of all time and I've eagerly awaited its successor. It didn't disappoint. There's more of what we had in the first novel - more spiders, more Kern - but now there's so much extra on top - octopuses and other things. We're given new worlds to explore, in the past and in the present, and it is all stunningly visual. The characters, whatever their species, are well worth spending our time with. Some sections are actually really frightening. This is engr Children of Time is one of my favourite books of all time and I've eagerly awaited its successor. It didn't disappoint. There's more of what we had in the first novel - more spiders, more Kern - but now there's so much extra on top - octopuses and other things. We're given new worlds to explore, in the past and in the present, and it is all stunningly visual. The characters, whatever their species, are well worth spending our time with. Some sections are actually really frightening. This is engrossing storytelling and incredible worldbuilding. It may even alter the way in which you view life around you. Superb. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Space. The final frontier. These are the ongoing adventures of the space spiders! Yay! This is the sequel to The Children of Time in which we followed some humans escaping the war on Earth and searching for a potential new habitat for the human race. They found a suitable planet but then there was an accident resulting in a virus on board the human vessel landing on said planet and infecting the local population of arachnids - who subsequently became much more intelligent and therefore advanced f Space. The final frontier. These are the ongoing adventures of the space spiders! Yay! This is the sequel to The Children of Time in which we followed some humans escaping the war on Earth and searching for a potential new habitat for the human race. They found a suitable planet but then there was an accident resulting in a virus on board the human vessel landing on said planet and infecting the local population of arachnids - who subsequently became much more intelligent and therefore advanced faster than their normal evolution would have allowed. Now, in this second installment, we see the Portias and other arachnids many generations later as they are technologically advanced enough to have space travel. We also see the digital version of Dr. Kern again. And we follow a different group of humans as they look for and then try to terraform another planet only to wake something that has been slumbering there and which is, shall we say, very friendly. As in it wants to be with everybody and go on an adventure with them even more than Bilbo Baggins. *lol* I have to wait until my paperback copy is here to find the exact quote but believe me: it's hilarious. They want to be friends and their chosen friends don't get a say in it. Add to that the molluscs (think octopus) that one of the human scientists started breeding and you have half a zoo! So there is cross contamination and body horror galore. Moreover, we get space exploration through the portias following a signal from a human vessel to where the terraformers, their molluscs, and the friendly neighbourhood invaders are. So how can this three-sided first contact go? Horribly horribly wrong. But, just like in the first novel, we follow more than one generation and just because it ended in disaster once doesn't mean one should give up. Thus, we get linguistics and maths and threats of extinction for more than one species. We also get more information on the cataclysmic event back on Earth of which we heard so little in the first book. Honestly, this is the perfect example why a sequel doesn't have to be worse than the previous book. Tchaikovsky is indeed a master at intelligent and yet still funny science fiction that is filled with interesting beings. I say beings because we follow so many individulas that it's not like you can stay with one for too long (well, except Dr. Kern, of course). But we already had that multi-generational character in Portia in book 1 and it's not much different here and because it's such a unique way of thinking of an "individual", it's a joy to follow these four species through their generations - to see them build entire civilizations and fuck them up so well and good that they collapse again, only to prevent total annihilation through scientific genius last-minute and actually learn (yes, it IS possible). The writing style, too, was once again very uplifting (yes, despite the carnage), the viewpoints and twists exceedingly well done and the overall reading experience thus rather magnificent. As was the audio version of the book. Total recommendation for anyone who loves scifi for being "out there" and "different" while still being recognizable in a way that makes you feel right at home.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    I have waited for what feels like an eternity for the second book in the Children of Time series by critically acclaimed science fiction writer Adrian Tchaikovsky whose name has become synonymous with epic adventure and high-quality, intelligent SF. Being someone who is terrified by spiders in real life the presence of gigantic sentient spiders was a shock to the system, but after discovering they were a lot more friendly than their Earthly counterparts I realised they were a stroke of genius. T I have waited for what feels like an eternity for the second book in the Children of Time series by critically acclaimed science fiction writer Adrian Tchaikovsky whose name has become synonymous with epic adventure and high-quality, intelligent SF. Being someone who is terrified by spiders in real life the presence of gigantic sentient spiders was a shock to the system, but after discovering they were a lot more friendly than their Earthly counterparts I realised they were a stroke of genius. This follow-up is just as good as CoT, but I found some of the characters much more relatable and engaging and the story and characters both deepen strongly in this instalment. The introduction of octopuses to the cast is an inspired choice and they rank as probably the most likeable here with their continued mission to discover whether spaceships are made from anything particularly tasty! They are really the cutesy part of the plot. The multiple points of view, a method I'm not that fond of due to the usual poor execution, works well with seamless switching between them creating a beautifully rounded reading experience. The writing remains as absorbing as Children of Time and the worldbuilding is even more incredible. It's a tome of a novel, but one I flew through and the complex intricacy of the plot is challenging but ultimately spectacular providing you invest in it enough. Many thanks to Tor for an ARC.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (Kalanadi)

    Does this repeat the plot of Children of Time somewhat? Sure. Does it feel a little too long by the end? Kinda. But did I enjoy the HECK out of it? YES! Full video review: https://youtu.be/bfJueEngiuU Does this repeat the plot of Children of Time somewhat? Sure. Does it feel a little too long by the end? Kinda. But did I enjoy the HECK out of it? YES! Full video review: https://youtu.be/bfJueEngiuU

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    In case you wonder over the course of this book, the word octopus has three possible plurals: Plural 1: the octopuses Plural 2: the octopi Plural 3: the octopodes This book is just so funny, with the jumping spiders and those wacky, overemotional octopi... I struggled a bit with the latter part of the book. It was hard to follow by audio (aka I kept getting distracted and missed bits and pieces). Maybe (definitely) it was me, audio still sometimes stumps me and my scatter brain wanders off. I mig In case you wonder over the course of this book, the word octopus has three possible plurals: Plural 1: the octopuses Plural 2: the octopi Plural 3: the octopodes This book is just so funny, with the jumping spiders and those wacky, overemotional octopi... I struggled a bit with the latter part of the book. It was hard to follow by audio (aka I kept getting distracted and missed bits and pieces). Maybe (definitely) it was me, audio still sometimes stumps me and my scatter brain wanders off. I might have to read the actual words at some point or listen again. The world building was fabulous and even more complex than the first book. All the details of the various societies, the development over the ages, the historical context, the shift between various timelines, I loved it. Excellent ideas, how an alien, tentacled, multi-brained species could evolve and function. In all its chaotic glory. Language and communication can be so fascinating! Great characterisations. The audio narration was top notch. Kern was so well done. I wonder what dog-sized spiders in spacesuits look like? “We're going on an adventure!“ (Sorry, Justine, had to quote that as well!) 5 starfish-thingies

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hank

    So you think this book is about space octopuses? Partially yes but at its core, it is another Tchaikovsky book determined to imagine other (alien?) intelligence. The main, other intelligence, character in this one isn't the octopuses, although they are a great part of the supporting cast. The real star is a (view spoiler)[ microbe that can encode vast amounts of data in its own cells (hide spoiler)] . That was a minor spoiler that you get to learn about fairly soon into the story but I don't wa So you think this book is about space octopuses? Partially yes but at its core, it is another Tchaikovsky book determined to imagine other (alien?) intelligence. The main, other intelligence, character in this one isn't the octopuses, although they are a great part of the supporting cast. The real star is a (view spoiler)[ microbe that can encode vast amounts of data in its own cells (hide spoiler)] . That was a minor spoiler that you get to learn about fairly soon into the story but I don't want to ruin even a little of the surprise. Tchaikovsky is frustrated that we, current humans, don't have FTL or even sub light travel so that he can meet aliens in person so he releases that by creating them himself. Thought processes that are just tangible enough to wrap your own brain around yet strange enough to wonder which planet Tchaikovsky did come from. As others have said, this isn't quite as ground breaking and impressive as the first book but if I had read this first I almost certainly would have given it 5 stars and I might change it in the near future. My few nits were that the mission and story had a few too many parts and that we weren't quite as immersed into the octopuses as the spiders in the first book. Extremely well done follow up to Children of Time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Adah Udechukwu

    Children of Ruin is a great novel but it is complex. It is not the good kind of complex. It is the bad kind of complex. It is the kind of complex that is long, exhaustive and sometimes boring.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Adrian Tchaikovsky visits the Pan Macmillan publishing office – a play in one scene. As the scene opens ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY sits in a spacious office, in a chair facing a vast walnut desk. At the desk, in a huge black leather chair and smoking an ostentatiously large cigar, sits middle-aged publishing Executive SEYMOUR BUCKS. SEYMOUR leans across his desk to shake ADRIAN’S hand. SB: Great to see you Adrian. Can I call you Ades? AC: Well, it sounds a little like ‘AIDS’, but I guess… SB: Great. Look, A Adrian Tchaikovsky visits the Pan Macmillan publishing office – a play in one scene. As the scene opens ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY sits in a spacious office, in a chair facing a vast walnut desk. At the desk, in a huge black leather chair and smoking an ostentatiously large cigar, sits middle-aged publishing Executive SEYMOUR BUCKS. SEYMOUR leans across his desk to shake ADRIAN’S hand. SB: Great to see you Adrian. Can I call you Ades? AC: Well, it sounds a little like ‘AIDS’, but I guess… SB: Great. Look, Ades, we need a follow up. Children of Time is hot. Smoking hot. Ariana Grande on the bonnet of my Tesla P100D hot. What have you got for me? AC: Well, I’m looking at beginning a new series, based on… SB: (interrupting) We need a sequel. AC: Sorry? SB: (Seymour slowly puffs a stream of cigar smoke into the air before speaking) We need a sequel to Children, Ades. We need another book, just like it. AC: The same? Isn’t that a little… repetitive? SB: People Love repetitive! Look at Fifty Shades! She wrote three novels! Three! Three endless, repeating tie-me-up-and-defile-me-up-the-bum books, written to the reading level of a child – a creepy, bondage obsessed child! We need more of the same, Ades, more weird animals getting smart and inventing shit. AC: Ah, it’s just I was thinking I could go in a different direction with my next… SB: Woah! Woah, woah, woah! Stop right there, buddy! AC: But I haven’t any ideas for a sequel! SB: (sighs) How hard can it be? Pick another animal, give it your smart virus and explain for ten chapters how it gets smart. Trust me, second time is eaaaasy. We can get accounting to brainstorm some ideas for you. AC: Well, I suppose I… but I’m not even sure where to start... SB: Look, the spider thing went big. Real big. Lets try another weird animal. How about ants? (A silence sets over the room.) AC: (frostily) There are already ants in Children of Time. SB: Oh yeah! Of course there are, haha! How about, ahhhh - , slugs? Slimy, weird, gross, insect- all the moneymakers. Why not? AC: (getting progressively angrier) Ah, well, there’s one problem there, Seymour. No legs. No arms. No evolutionary pathway! Seymour, it’s not going to fucking well work without an evolutiona... SB: (Interrupting in a calming tone) Easy Ades, easy. You’re the expert here. Slugs are out, Not enough legs. I get you. I’m with you buddy. (SB pauses for thought, muttering “Legs, legs!” under his breath.) I’ve got it! Eight legs was a killer once, why not again? Go with me – Octopuses. AC: (calming down) Octopuses. SB: Yeah! Eight legs, weird, kinda freaky – all the things that make spiders so hot! You could have (looks at plot precis sheet for Children of Time in front of him) another terraforming project that goes wrong, in another solar system, cut short by war on earth and left to its own devices to evolve our octopuss-y buddies into a space-travelling civilisation! AC: How are octopuses going to get into space? SB: Maybe they could wear spacesuits full of water? That sort of magic is where you come in! AC: (staring in disbelief) So you want me to basically tell the same story again, but with an eight legged animal instead of an eight-legged spider. SB: Hot damn! That’s a great idea! Bloody fine work, Ades. AC: (sighs) But what about conflict? SB: OK… Look. Marketing want you to bring your spiders into this too. How about your people and your spiders from book one are on their way to visit these octupuses- we get all the weirdly legged animals in one place, to meet and argue and fight! AC: (sighs existentially) You want me to mash my greatest creations into a scenario with some talking octopuses. SB: Yes! YES! That’s great! We could even up the stakes a bit! How about you bring in some sort of alien parasite? People love those. I’ll get reception to send you a dvd of Prometheus. Great Sci-Fi film, Ades. Plenty of inspiration there for you. AC: (slumps down in defeat) OK. Look I’ll give it a go, put a draft plan together. Thanks for the suggestion, and the ideas too, I guess. SB: My pleasure. Sometimes I think I’m on the wrong side of this desk, haha! I’m looking forward to my staff reading your first draft Ades…. Ades! Ha! Hey, anyone ever tell you your name sounds like AIDS? END SCENE And so Adrian Tchaikovsky wrote a follow up novel named Children of Ruin, where his Portid spiders and their human friends travel to a far distant solar system to visit a planet seeded with intelligent octopuses, where a malevolent alien threat awaits them. And even though this follow up novel was very similar to Children of Time it was still a cracking read, and a great story. Maybe not as great as the first one, but a very good novel nonetheless. Four eight-legged animals out of five.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    4.5 stars A worthy sequel to one of my favourite books of all time, Children of Time. I've spent a lot of time with Tchaikovsky this month, having also read his other new release, Cage of Souls. Both books showcase Tchaikovsky's talent as an incredibly creative and literate writer. The only thing I feel I can ever be assured of with his SF stories is that I never know what I'm going to find between the pages (so to speak, as I read everything on my ereader, but the sentiment remains). I don't want 4.5 stars A worthy sequel to one of my favourite books of all time, Children of Time. I've spent a lot of time with Tchaikovsky this month, having also read his other new release, Cage of Souls. Both books showcase Tchaikovsky's talent as an incredibly creative and literate writer. The only thing I feel I can ever be assured of with his SF stories is that I never know what I'm going to find between the pages (so to speak, as I read everything on my ereader, but the sentiment remains). I don't want to give any spoilers, but honestly, if you liked Children of Time, you will probably like this one. Also, I don't think I will ever look at my husband's sourdough starter the same as it spills over the edge of the bowl. We're going on an adventure!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sԋҽʅʅყ ƚԋҽ Wҽιɾԃ αɳԃ Wαɳԃҽɾιɳɠ Wαɾɾισɾ

    Well, it only took me about eight months to finish this! The intelligence required to write a 600-page novel about multiple alien cultures so vastly different from humans it is almost incomprehensible is waaay outside my league. Impressive, but it doesn't make for engaging, can't-put-it-down reading. I enjoyed it but did not love it. The parasite entity had its interesting moments, and I liked reading about the colonists. I felt like the spider-human evolutionary pairings rendered their side of t Well, it only took me about eight months to finish this! The intelligence required to write a 600-page novel about multiple alien cultures so vastly different from humans it is almost incomprehensible is waaay outside my league. Impressive, but it doesn't make for engaging, can't-put-it-down reading. I enjoyed it but did not love it. The parasite entity had its interesting moments, and I liked reading about the colonists. I felt like the spider-human evolutionary pairings rendered their side of the story a bit dull. There was no real intensity left for their plot. I'm glad I read it, but I wouldn't read it again. September 18, 2019 buddy read with the MacHalo Asylum freaks! More interstellar alien spiders? Children of Time was SO GOOD! Twitter | Blog

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gabi

    He did it again! Does the story of this book has similarities with the first novel "Children of Time"? Yes, it has. Does this bother me? Not the slightest! Again Tchaikovsky takes an in fiction rather seldomly wrote about species, the octopodes, and shows their evolution using biological specialities of those kind of animals. As with the spiders in book one he stays true to the animal nature of his protagonists and avoids anthropomorphization - which is a rare. This alone is worth 5 stars for me. He did it again! Does the story of this book has similarities with the first novel "Children of Time"? Yes, it has. Does this bother me? Not the slightest! Again Tchaikovsky takes an in fiction rather seldomly wrote about species, the octopodes, and shows their evolution using biological specialities of those kind of animals. As with the spiders in book one he stays true to the animal nature of his protagonists and avoids anthropomorphization - which is a rare. This alone is worth 5 stars for me. Their actions are consequential, their understanding of the world and means of communication feels so true, it was a pleasure to read about it. By the way, communication is the main theme of this second book. Four - or maybe five, since Avrana Kern somehow is a species on her own - species with very distinct ways of communication, of which language is the least, find themselves in a situation where they have to understand each other or face destruction. To witness how they try, fail, try again and misunderstand was my personal highlight of this book. Each species gets their POVs, so that the reader can sympathise with every faction and partly understand their motives. A bit of horror elements are also introduced in this book, that let my flesh crawl in several scenes. "Children of Ruin" is a worthy sequel of my all-time favourite "Children of Time". It may have made a wee bit less of an impression on me, since it of course lacks the novelty of the first part. But that doesn't influence the rating at all. Again one of the best SF out there! Thank you, Mr. Tchaikovsky!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Children of Time was an awesome achievement of a book, chronicling the rise of a non-human intelligent species (nano-machine modified portia spiders) over centuries and their eventual contact with humans. It ended with a tantalizing epilogue, skipping another few centuries into the future to the point where humans, spiders and an uploaded partly-organic AI depart their world on a mission of discovery to the stars aboard the Voyager. "Spider Trek" as it were. The story starts with the deep history Children of Time was an awesome achievement of a book, chronicling the rise of a non-human intelligent species (nano-machine modified portia spiders) over centuries and their eventual contact with humans. It ended with a tantalizing epilogue, skipping another few centuries into the future to the point where humans, spiders and an uploaded partly-organic AI depart their world on a mission of discovery to the stars aboard the Voyager. "Spider Trek" as it were. The story starts with the deep history of the destination that the spider/human ship is headed for, where a small human terraformer crew has discovered a star system with two planets, one of which has an alien ecosystem with macro-organisms, and the other is available for terraforming, but would be a water-world afterwards. On that basis, the mission splits to investigate the alien life and to terraform the water planet. Looking after the water planet is Disrai Senkovi, a scientist with a fascination for octopuses and access to the same Rus-Califi virus that Avra Kern used on the spider world. The narrative skips between the history of the alien system and the arrival of the Voyager and the subsequent first contact scenarios with the eventual inheritors of the terraformers. First contact between uplifted octopuses with a very different type of sentience and three different types of allied intelligences is difficult enough, but the voyagers find themselves in the middle of a dangerous situation between the octopuses and something else. The exploration of the lived experience, both internally and externally of the incredibly diverse "alien" intelligences is fascinating and absolutely makes the book a leveling up from the previous one. Fictionalizing the cognitive theory around how octopuses think is amazingly successful. On top of all that, it's a cracking good story as well with the fates of a whole civilization and two species at stake. One of the best SF books I've read this year.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sambora

    Thank you to Pan Macmillan for the early proof copy. *Spoiler Free Review* First let me say; Tchaikovsky's earlier title, 'Children Of Time' is necessary reading to be able to fully appreciate and understand the story this book is telling. This book contains everything I adored about the first installment. Brains, language, spiders, space travel, technology... All while making subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) comments on topics such as over-population, colonisation, religion, sentience, evoluti Thank you to Pan Macmillan for the early proof copy. *Spoiler Free Review* First let me say; Tchaikovsky's earlier title, 'Children Of Time' is necessary reading to be able to fully appreciate and understand the story this book is telling. This book contains everything I adored about the first installment. Brains, language, spiders, space travel, technology... All while making subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) comments on topics such as over-population, colonisation, religion, sentience, evolution... All of it is in there and a whole host more. The world building is fantastic and that term can be taken very literally, I assure you. It's somewhat non-linear, but not overly complicated. The perspectives are a good mix of recognisable and relatable, and completely alien (pardon the horrible use of blatantly on-the-nose terminology). I don't want to go into it too much, to avoid spoiling anything, but if you were as big of a fan of the first book as I was, you'll definitely want to pick this up ASAP. Tchaikovsky is making a very strong name for himself as one of the best current writers of Science Fiction. 10/10; would go on an adventure again.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Donna Backshall

    Children of Ruin closely follows Children of Time, with a richness of speculation and perspective that I rarely encounter in space operas. Adrian Tchaikovsky's ability to put the reader into a wholly unknowable alien species' mind is difficult to explain, but in a word, it is perfection. As well, Mel Hudson's narration in the Audible version brings the frustration, the earnest drive for survival, and the depth of conviction through with each word, each utterance, each explosion of bafflement. Sh Children of Ruin closely follows Children of Time, with a richness of speculation and perspective that I rarely encounter in space operas. Adrian Tchaikovsky's ability to put the reader into a wholly unknowable alien species' mind is difficult to explain, but in a word, it is perfection. As well, Mel Hudson's narration in the Audible version brings the frustration, the earnest drive for survival, and the depth of conviction through with each word, each utterance, each explosion of bafflement. She gives the characters, both human and alien, substance and adds potency to their communications.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Scott Hitchcock

    Book 1: 5*+ Book 2: 3.75*'s AT's books tend to do one way or the other for me. Guns of the Dawn and Children of Time are both as good as it gets. Redemption's Blade and Ironclads were snoozefests. The difference in all four of those books was if AT was able to build an attachment for me to the characters. There's no doubt about his world building. The storytelling is vivid and detailed. The problem is at times he gets sucked up in the menusha of the subcurrents of particular details and forgets th Book 1: 5*+ Book 2: 3.75*'s AT's books tend to do one way or the other for me. Guns of the Dawn and Children of Time are both as good as it gets. Redemption's Blade and Ironclads were snoozefests. The difference in all four of those books was if AT was able to build an attachment for me to the characters. There's no doubt about his world building. The storytelling is vivid and detailed. The problem is at times he gets sucked up in the menusha of the subcurrents of particular details and forgets the story and more importantly the characters. This book broke that pattern to a degree. I was never attached to any of the characters minus Kern but that was more a fascination of what he was going to do with this part of her persona. The story itself drove this book forward. I was intrigued and loved the culture clashes. The tension of the parasite and the AI was really well conceived. The cephalopods like the arachnids in the last book had a very defined culture. They're traits so distinctive. As a zoologist nobody writes these parts like AT. The problem for me was it all sort of petered out. There was no big bang ending. No monumental convergence like book 1. I felt like AT had a predetermined outcome with political overtones which in itself is great but he didn't know how to blend that into an epic ending. "We're going on an adventure." Except that adventure could have been something so much better.

  29. 5 out of 5

    William

    TLDR: In my opinion, a must read and worthy sequel to Children of Time. Like Children of Time, Ruin is a deep dive into the difficulty, and value of intercommunication. The struggle to communicate effectively is illustrated as "first contact" scenarios between the various species of the "Time" lore, but the obvious terrestrial parallels cannot be ignored. Children of Ruin tacitly leaves the reader to ponder humanity's fate. Children of Ruin, even more so than Time, spends a great deal of time desc TLDR: In my opinion, a must read and worthy sequel to Children of Time. Like Children of Time, Ruin is a deep dive into the difficulty, and value of intercommunication. The struggle to communicate effectively is illustrated as "first contact" scenarios between the various species of the "Time" lore, but the obvious terrestrial parallels cannot be ignored. Children of Ruin tacitly leaves the reader to ponder humanity's fate. Children of Ruin, even more so than Time, spends a great deal of time describing the process of learning to communicate in a first contact scenario, where there is no common language. If that does not interest you, you might not enjoy this book. As with Children of time, the science fiction elements are imaginative, and provide fresh looks at genre mainstays. I'm a big fan of both the original and derived science fiction elements. Very satisfying. The epilogue makes it pretty clear a third book should be expected, but this is a complete book, no loose ends or cliffhangers. Needless to say I'll be reading the third book as soon as it's available. I would highly recommend reading Children of Time first, as many concepts and ideas from the first book are carried forward. I feel skipping Children of Time, in addition to depriving yourself from reading one fantastic book, would obscure the full richness of the story in Ruin. Final thoughts. Tchaikovsky did it again. So good Adrian, so good.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Outstanding followup to Children of Time, following similar themes of first contact and extra solar terraforming gone horribly awry, mostly as a result of human hubris. Tchaikovsky weaves a fresh, wildly imaginative tale, building on the previous story's foundations. This, however, is considerably darker, and often feels like a thriller, with some definite creepy (view spoiler)[Alien and The Day of the Triffids (hide spoiler)] and apocalyptic vibes. The story is masterfully crafted, with alterna Outstanding followup to Children of Time, following similar themes of first contact and extra solar terraforming gone horribly awry, mostly as a result of human hubris. Tchaikovsky weaves a fresh, wildly imaginative tale, building on the previous story's foundations. This, however, is considerably darker, and often feels like a thriller, with some definite creepy (view spoiler)[Alien and The Day of the Triffids (hide spoiler)] and apocalyptic vibes. The story is masterfully crafted, with alternating narrative timelines and perspectives which build tension and come together expertly in a crescendo of conflict and revelations. The science behind the story, particularly the wholly alien xenobiology involved, is also pretty fascinating.

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