Book Review: Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky - The Fantasy Review

Book Review: Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Fantasy Review’s review of Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, book one in the Children of Time science fiction trilogy.

You can check out our interview with Adrian Tchaikovsky to learn more about the author and current/future works.

Why should we be made thus, to improve and improve, unless it is to aspire?

Children of Time is split into two POVs (mostly); you have the last remaining survivors from Earth (human), and a new, growing civilization from a terraformed planet (spiders). This isn’t a spoiler, as it is the premise of the book, and there will be no spoilers in this review of Children of Time.

Adrian Tchaikovsky is a prolific writer in both the science fiction and fantasy genres, but one of his most well known works is probably the Children of Time science fiction trilogy. It has won the Hugo and Arthur C. Clarke awards, and is generally loved by science fiction readers.

I am no exception. Children of Time is a gorgeous book with a premise that will captivate any science fiction fan. Fantasy fans might also like this book, with some of the science fiction elements feeling almost like magic, watching the spiders evolve beyond what is naturally possible.

Despite a premise that primarily drives the plot, there is a lot of heart in Children of Time. The humans have a complex and difficult struggle surviving on what could be the last remaining arc ship from an Earth now dead and inhospitable to life. Their ancestors had technology beyond what they can imagine, so there are many surprises in store for them on this journey.

The emotional pulse of the novel also runs through the story of the spiders too. Initially I was unsure of these chapters; they creeped me out and the writing style felt awkward; how do you write from the perspective of a spider? But soon I fell into the new rhythm of these chapters and began to root for them, excited by their progress and tense when everything seemed to be falling apart.

In Children of Time there is a fierce critique of humanity’s willful destruction of natural life, and its tendency to devolve into conflict whenever it gets the chance. This theme runs right through the novel and is well done, never detracting from the story taking place, but always reminding the reader that this, or any other kind of dystopian event, could be where we are headed.

Despite thoroughly enjoying Children of Time for now I have no interest in reading the rest of the trilogy, and would recommend that those not sure about starting a series still give this book a read. There is a strong, conclusive arc in Children of Time that I don’t believe needs expanding, and from what I have seen about the following two books, they move on significantly from this completed story. If you have read all these books, please let me and other readers know what you made of the sequels and whether you think they are worth reading!

Overall, I found Children of Time to be engaging and fascinating. It read like a classic science fiction novel, but despite the scope the character work was still strong, giving heart to what could have been a much drier read.

Related to our Review of Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Owner and Editor of The Fantasy Review. Loves all fantasy and science fiction books, graphic novels, TV and Films. Having completed a BA and MA in English Literature and Creative writing, they would like to go on to do a PhD. Favourite authors are Trudi Canavan, Steven Erikson, George R. R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson.

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