Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Title- Children of Memory
Publisher- Tor books
Publication Date- Nov 24th
Comments- With thanks to Tor books, Mr Tchaikovsky and Netgalley for a free copy. Opinions belong to the reviewer and are in no way influenced by an Alien… influence.
As my guest reviewer, John, is a massive Tchaikovsky fan I have given him the reigns on this one. (He also sounds so much more educated and intelligent than me.) He also wrote this review months ago and so it’s on me that I haven’t gotten around to posting it. Sorry.
Earth is failing. In a desperate bid to escape, the spaceship Enkidu and its captain, Heorest Holt, carry its precious human cargo to a potential new Eden. Generations later, this fragile colony has managed to survive, eking out a hardy existence. Yet life is tough, and much technological knowledge has been lost.
Then Liff, Holt’s granddaughter, hears whispers that the strangers in town aren’t from neighbouring farmland. That they possess unparalleled technology – and that they’ve arrived from another world. But not all questions are so easily answered, and their price may be the colony itself.
Children of Memory by Adrian Tchaikovsky is the third book in The Children of Time Novels. Whether this will be the culmination of a magnificent series, time will tell.
Although Children of Memory can be read as a stand-alone novel, to receive the best experience of this incredible space opera, I strongly suggest reading the previous two volumes, Children of Time and Children of Ruin.
Thankfully the author does give a reasonably detailed summary of the events that led up to the beginning of the book, which is a welcome touch. There is also the useful Dramatis Personae, a list of the characters who play an active role in the novel.
As with the previous books in the series, the Children of Time books can appear complex or vague. But the scientific and technical details within these novels make Tchaikovsky’s books distinguishable from others of their ilk or other books in the genre.
A fractured and fragile colony has somehow managed to survive on the planet, Imir, eking out a hardy existence. Yet life is challenging, and most of the technological knowledge that came with the original pioneers has disappeared due to a lack of knowledge or resources.
Visiting this Imir is a group of space-fairing scientists to study and interact with the supposedly Eden-like planet, but all is not as they had hoped.
The appearance of strangers with new ideas and technology within the community causes ripples among people already at breaking point. Neighbours are at each other’s throats as food becomes scarce, and the unease towards the interlopers becomes toxic. But all is not well with the visitors themselves as they suffer from time lapses and unexplained memory lapses.
Could it be that some alien force may be playing havoc with the planet and its colonists and the space travelling scientists?
Reviewing the book itself, I would put Children of Memory a shade ahead of the previous novel for several reasons.
Firstly the cast was aided and abetted by the Corvids (Ravens) Gothi and Gethli, who stole the show with their antics and humour. That was my personal view of the miscreants.
Secondly, the crew though short in number, played a more central role, especially planet-side, as they attempted to blend in with the colonists.
Thirdly, I thought Children of Memory was more of an emotionally intense novel than its predecessors in subtle ways. It is incredibly thought-provoking and intriguing and poses more than a few fascinating questions.
Fourthly, because of the various traits and personalities of the crew, there is definitely more depth to the characters. With the shape-shifting and all that entails, it really is something to follow their particular paths in this narrative. Avrana Kern, Miranda, Portia, Bianca, Fabian, Jodry and Paul are all aboard the Skipper for this space jaunt.
Miranda has the starring role in the narrative, and her character goes through an emotional roller-coaster of highs and lows. Her friendship with Liff, the young girl from the town, is also a significant and, at times, mysterious part of the narrative.
Once you get your head around some of the more outlandish moments, such as the time lapses, Children of Memory is a terrific novel. Unlike the previous books in the series, this is not heavy with technological and scientific dialogue.
There is plenty of intrigue, tension and suspense throughout. On the few occasions when things become somewhat restless, the author adapts accordingly, with an intense style.
Children of Memory is an intelligent and inventive science fiction novel with phenomenal characters and an intense storyline.
I had thought this might have been the culmination of a trilogy. Still, after reading the climactic conclusion and examining the potential for further developments, it might not be the case.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Children of Memory, and the Children of Time series of books, without a doubt, are the best science fiction series I have ever read.
With thanks to John for his eloquence.