Something a little different this time.
I have a guest reviewer for Shards of Earth. John doesn’t have his own blog but was so effusive about Shards of Earth that I had to let him have his platform. So this is John’s review for this science-fiction masterpiece.
Author- Adrian Tchaikovsky
Title- Shards of Earth. The Final Architecture Book one.
Publisher- Tor books
Publication date- May 27th 2021
Comment- Was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review via Tor books and the author. This in no way influenced my review. All opinions are my own. With thanks to Adrian Tchaikovsky, Jamie Lee Nardone and Tor books.
The Architects, creators of destruction, destroyers of worlds, murderers of billions, doing so without logic or reason suddenly vanished from existence. Gone but not forgotten. In a universe where politics is the new vogue, the salvage ship “Vulture God” and its crew become a pawn, drawn into a game of chess. When Captain Rollo and his crew find the “Oumaru”, signs are the Architects are back. What now for the whole of the universe and all the species it contains?
The Earth has gone, destroyed like so many planets before by the Architects, an Alien race with no morals and no mercy.
But the Architects have a weakness. In the hour of need, Xxvienne appears, a young female with the ability to reach inside the Architect’s mind. No one knows how or why, but they use her to enlist a small army of volunteers, hopefully with the same ability, to repel the next attack.
But it has other beneficial side effects. It lets these become the perfect navigators capable of tapping into Unspace and travelling immense distances in a short period. After the war these navigators or intermediaries become rare.
Idris, the navigator of the salvage ship “Vulture God” and survivor of the last Architect attack, finds himself teamed up again with his friend and ally, “Solace”, a female Partheni warrior. When Captain Rollo and his crew aboard the ‘Vulture God’ are used in a political chess game, little are they aware of the dire consequences it will have on each one of them. Idris has stared death in the face before; he’s not afraid for himself. He fears for others.
The main characters of the book were Solace and Idris. Solace, a female warrior, grown in a vat to be the perfect warrior, is very much a stereotypical hero. She is always rushing in where angels fear to tread and as she is front and centre from the very start you knew she was a major player.
Idris on the other hand less so. To me, Idris came over as your typical anti-hero. He is a volunteer who has done his bit for the cause and has truly had enough, but when the time comes, he will do his utmost for his friends.
That doesn’t mean to say that there isn’t and wasn’t (no spoilers) other important characters within the book. The crew of the Vulture God have their part to play within the story. You have your various aliens, religions, cults etc. You have your bad guys and even worse guys.
What I did find myself doing was finding comparisons with other books and movies. There were times when I found myself thinking, Fifth Element, Star Wars, Event Horizon, Star Trek and more. But when so much Sci-Fi has been written it’s hard to find new angles.
But after saying that, it didn’t spoil a very fast-paced thriller of a book. The politics got me annoyed at times but they were part of the plot and you tended to know what was coming anyway.
I do wish sometimes that Mr Tchaikovsky would employ an illustrator for his books because some of his descriptions of the alien and biological species are mind-boggling.
It is pure Science Fiction, with little or no humour and I managed to get to page 33 before the F-word was used, but it doesn’t occur as often as I expected. The gore factor is average for these types of books. If I was to give it a classification, I would say it’s Adult to Young Adult, but be prepared for the bad language.
I loved the book even though it was a long read. The fact it got straight into the action was a major plus, making me want to progress to the next chapter.
Thank you John for your review! Hope you all liked it.