Children of Ruin (Children of Time, Book 2)
By: Adrian Tchaikovsky
My Rating: Four out of five stars
Best For: 16 and up
Alien parasites, space-fighter octopods, and astronaut spiders–oh my!
I guarantee you’ll never hear the phrase “we’re going on an adventure” the same way again…
Children of Time won the Arthur C. Clark Award for Best Science Fiction Novel of 2015, which puts it in pretty great company. If you’re a fan of ScyFy, you’re going to want to check it out.
Children of Ruin is a follow-up to Children of Time. It’s not a true sequel, but it does build strongly off book 1. Make sure you’ve read Children of Time first. If you enjoyed that, you’re going to enjoy this too.
Future us are reaching for the stars, setting up terraforming stations around potential new colony planets, and developing viral tech that advances evolution of species to help spread humanity far and wide. Introduce the manufactured virus to monkeys, wait a few hundred years, and wah-lah: you have new humans. Back home on Earth, war breaks out between science and religion, everything gets destroyed, nuclear winter begins, and all the terraforming equipment and the teams running them are abandoned.
Those teams…abandoned in space…cut off from Humanity…what do they do now? I know! Let’s experiment with this God virus! We don’t have any monkeys, but what other highly intelligent Earth organism could we give it too…something that can survive on the mostly-water planet we’ve been terraforming–I know! How about an octopus! There’s nothing weird about highly evolved octopods, right?
Fast forward a couple thousand years, and the the ancestors of our Human and Spider friends from Children of Time are exploring space together. They detect some radio waves coming from an unexpected location. It seems to be a planet covered mostly by water…
And there you go: we have our story.
Like Children of time, the story is cool and the science is heavy. Super heavy actually–it could be more than some are interested in. This isn’t light and fluffy Star Trek ScyFy. This is Neil DeGrasse Tyson x Charles Darwin x Albert Einstein stuff. I loved the clever applications of the relativity of time and space travel, and the evolution of the octopods into sentient beings was facinating.
My favorite part of the story wasn’t the evolved octopods, or the spiders, or even the humans, though. My favorite was the unexpectedly creepy space parasite that turned it’s victims in to freaky space alien zombies!
The science was cool. The space zombies were creepy. The ending was a little anticlimactic, but I still enjoyed the story very much.
There was one instance of strong language and no sexual content. There is a bit violence tied to those creepy zombies, but it’s more thrilling than gory. It did feel like a long 600 pages, so if you’re one who likes to move fast and not swim though details, you might get frustrated with the pace.
Best for ambitious teens 16 and up.