This is a spoiler-free review, in case you’re intending to read the previous book, Children of Time.
A sequel to a brilliant book is always a worrying prospect. It has a lot to live up to, so there is more potential for disappointment. Like its predecessor, Children of Ruin is a long novel with the same themes – evolution, terraforming, contact between alien species, the last humans, artificial intelligence. There are some of the same characters, too. This makes Tchaikovsky’s vision of outer space and different worlds seem familiar, so for me it didn’t seem quite as wondrous this time around.
The story is set over various periods, including the immediate aftermath of Children of Time. It follows the quests of two species who are ready to explore space. They get into more trouble than they bargained for. I have to admit that sometimes I didn’t understand what was going on. I don’t know if this was because the paragraphs were quite dense or maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention. As a result, I’m a bit hazy on the plot details. I certainly wouldn’t pass an exam on this book.
In summary, Children of Ruin is a great achievement and a worthy sequel but somehow I just wasn’t into it.
First published in May 2019.