Children of Time / Adrian Tchaikovsky

Title / Children of Time
Author / Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publication Date / 2015
Genre / Science fiction
Series or standalone / standalone
Page no. / 600
Star Rating / ★★★★
Goodreads synopsis: The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age—a world terraformed and prepared for human life. But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare. Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?

 

 This is a fantastic sci-fi book with a unique premise and compelling plot. I’m not going to go into too much detail about the book  because I think this is one of those books that you should read knowing little about it. I only had a vague look at the blurb when I decided to pick this up. I’ve never read anything quite like this and I loved it. First of all, the writing is fantastic and I thought the two perspective used in the narration was so good. Basically as you can see from the blurb, we have the human perspective but we also have the perspective of the other civilisations on the terraformed world. I’m not going to say anything more about the other civilisation because it can be seen as a bit of a spoiler. Just known that these ‘other’s are incredibly well written. The use of both of these perspectives creates such an interesting and engaging story, because we get to see both sides of the story/conflict, whereas normally when there are ‘aliens’ involved we only get to see the human side of it. The plot itself is incredible. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it but I was blown away. The timeline spans thousands of years and it was fascinating to see how things changed for each civilisation.  You can clearly tell that the author has done his research because there is so much depth and detail to this world and characters. I loved learning about this world and the culture of the other civilisation. There is a wide range of characters that are all wonderfully well written too.

 

This book is epic in scale and I’m impressed with Tchaikovsky for managing to tell this story without us being bogged down or being sidetracked from the main story. Do not be intimidated by the size and scope of this book. At 600 pages it is a long book but it is well worth the effort and time commitment.  I have to admit that I was a little intimidated at first as someone who doesn’t read a lot of sci-fi but there was no need to be. There are many good things to say about this book, from the innovative story to the fantastic world building to the writing that will have you gripped from early on. If you are looking for a fast-paced, action-packed sci-fi book then this probably isn’t for you, however if you are a big sci-fi fan then I think this is well worth checking out.

 

Overall I loved this book. If you are looking for a new sci-fi book to read then I highly recommend checking this book out, especially if you want one that handles the whole alien thing a little differently. Have you read this book? Or have you read anything else by this author? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Under Heaven / Guy Gavriel Kay

Title / Under Heaven
Author / Guy Gavriel Kay
Publication Date / 2010 (first published)
Series or standalone / book 1 of Under Heaven duology
Overall Star Rating / 

 

 

Under Heaven is set in a fictionalized version of the Tang Dynasty of 8th-century China and contains a masterful story of family, intrigue and power. It is a historical fantasy and it is the first book in the Under Heaven companion duology; the second book is River of Stars which is set in a world inspired by the Song dynasty.

 

The world is not something to be understood. It is vanity, illusion to even try.” – Li-Mei

 

This was my first book by this author and it will definitely not be my last. Simply put, this was a fantastic book. From the beginning I could tell that every word is so well placed and that the writing is very well thought out. It was a pleasure to read this book, because the writing is so good. It immerses you in this world and characters, and makes you want to read on. It is quite a long book at over 500 pages and at times the pacing makes it quite a slow read, but the writing and characters will keep you engaged throughout. Some may find that the slow but steady pacing results in the story dragging, however I had no issues with this. Even in the slower moments, the book was compelling for me. The first few chapters really hook you into the story and from then on it never loses momentum, even when the pacing is slow. The plot is compelling throughout and once I’d started reading I didn’t want to put this book down. Another strength of this book was the world building. Under Heaven takes place in Kitai, which as I’ve mentioned is an alternate version of the Tang Dynasty. From the very beginning of the book I was completely immersed in the world. It is clear that the author has done a lot of research on this period of history. Now I do not know a lot about Chinese history, so I cannot comment on authenticity, but I can say that this complex world is richly painted. Not only do we get a good understanding of the world as a whole, we also get to see some of the inner workings of court intrigue. The politics and intrigue are fantastic. I love political intrigue in fantasy and Kay has done it so well. Everything unfolds at just the right pacing, without rushing it, and it was a pleasure to watch to all unfold.

 

Although we mainly follow Shen Tai, there is a fantastic cast of characters that we meet in this book too. This is primarily a character driven story with compelling narratives for each character perspective. As I’ve mentioned Shen Tai’s perspective is used the most, but each perspective is as compelling as the last and the flow is never disrupted by a switch of perspectives. All of the characters are incredibly well written. There are so many characters that I loved in this book but one of my favourites would have to be Wei Song. She is such a strong and intriguing character and I would love to know more about her. There are many more characters I could talk about, including Li Mei, Sima Zian and Meshag, but then this review would be incredibly long. Just know that all of the characters in this book are all complex, flawed and wonderfully vivid. Even with a character you dislike, Kay manages to make you think twice about them and to see them in a more sympathetic light. The relationships between the characters are also well written. It was so interesting to see all the different relationships between the characters and how they developed throughout the book. The characters are definitely a massive strength of this book and I think I will pick up on new things about each character when I reread this book. Put simply, I adored this book and I want to recommend it to as many people as I can. Everything about this book is well thought out and I loved reading every second of it.

 

Overall, I loved this book and I cannot wait to read more from this author. This is a wonderful mix of historical fiction and fantasy that has resulted in a compelling and fascinating read. The characters are so well written, the plot is compelling, and the writing is fantastic. Kay has managed to weave these elements all together seamlessly to create a complex and layered book. This is the kind of book that you just don’t want it to end and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It has definitely moved into my favourites. I would highly recommend reading this book, especially if you enjoy a mix of historical fiction and fantasy, and/or enjoy character driven stories. However, if you want a quick, action-packed fantasy read then this probably isn’t the book for you. I will definitely be checking out the other book in this companion duology, River of Stars. Have you read this book? What did you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Favourite Fictional Places

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I have some more favourite fictional places to share you guys. There are so many I could talk about but I’ve limited myself to four for this post. I’ve done 2 other posts about my favourite fictional places so if you think I’ve missed any be sure to check out those posts too – part 1 and part 2. Some of these books don’t have maps of the world which is a bit of a shame because I love maps but each of these worlds are fantastically written and basically amazing. Let’s get started.

 

The world of The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi – this is such an interesting and vivid world that I love. I would love to see a map of this world and to see more of it.

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Buckkeep from the Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb – there are so many amazing places in the Six Duchies but I think my favourite is Buckkeep castle and the surrounding town.

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Ebora from the Winnowing Flame trilogy by Jen Williams – the once great city of the Eboran empire, this is one of my favourite places of this series. It is so well written. 

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Pellinor from the Pellinor series by Alison Croggon – Pellinor is a city within the world of Edil-Amarandh and is the place of Maerad’s (main character) birth.

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That’s all for today. Be sure to check out my other posts to find out about more of my favourite fictional places. What are some of your favourite fictional places? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

T5W: Favourite Buzz Words

Top 5 Wednesday was originally created and run by Lainey aka gingerreadslainey (Youtube channel) but it is now being run by Sam aka Thoughts on tomes (Youtube channel). Each week there is a different topic. You can check out the groups Goodreads page here for any more information and the future topics. This month is a Rewind month, so you can use any topic that you may have missed or just fancy doing. For this week I have chosen the topic of favourite buzz words – words used to describe a book that will make you want to buy it. These words aren’t a guarantee that I’ll read a book but they will definitely interest me in checking a book out. Let’s get started.

 

  1. East- Asian influences – I’m really interested in this area of the world and love reading books set in worlds inspired by it.
  2. Animal companion – need I say more
  3. Assassins – pretty self explanatory
  4. Blurb from one of my favourite authors
  5. Strong female protagonist – this doesn’t necessarily mean physically strong, just any woman who can take care of herself

 

There are more that I could mention but I think I’ll leave it at that for today. What are your favourite buzz words? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

 

Favourite Book Covers

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. So last month I did a UK vs US cover post focusing on 2018 releases and it give me the idea to share some of my favourite covers of this years releases too. There are a lot of exciting releases this year and there are also a lot of fantastic book covers, but I’ve decided to share 8 of m favourites out of 2018 releases that I am waiting for. Two of the books mentioned I have already read and loved so I’ve put in my star rating for those ones. Let’s get started.

 

The Girl in the Tower / Winternight trilogy book 2 / Katherine Arden / 
The Bitter Twins / Winnowing Flame trilogy book 2 / Jen Williams / ★ / 08/03/18
The Hyena and the Hawk / Echoes of the Fall trilogy book 3 / Adrian Tchaikovsky / 05/04/18
Circe / Madeleine Miller / 19/04/18

 

 

The Poppy War / R. F. Kuang / 03/05/18
The Queens of Innis Lear / Tessa Gratton / 17/05/18
Wrath of Empire / Gods of Blood and Power series book 2 / Brian McClellan / 17/05/18
Age Of War / the Legends of the First Empire book 3 / Michael J. Sullivan / 03/07/18

 

I was going to try to pick a favourite right now, but I really like them all and I’m rubbish at picking favourites :). I love doings these posts so I hope you guys like them too. I don’t the names of the illustrators of these covers but these covers are all amazing. Which cover do like the most? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

5 Reasons To Read Jane Eyre

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I have a new 5 reasons to read style review and I figured I’d talk about one of my favourite books, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I’ve reread this book multiple times and decided to share my love with you guys. I know a lot of you may have already read this but I wanted to do this anyway.

 

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“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

 

  1. It is well-known and well-loved for a reason. This book deserves it and definitely lives up to the hype surrounding it. It is one of my all time favourite classics and I would recommend it to everyone.
  2. Jane is a fantastic female protagonist. I love that she sticks to her beliefs and I love her development through the book. All of the characters are so well written.
  3. It is so well written and you can tell that each word is chosen for reason. She doesn’t waste any words and this results in an immersive reading experience. Bronte does a wonderful job at creating an atmosphere through her writing, which really lends itself to the story. Basically the writing is fantastic.
  4. Despite the length of this book and the fact that when you think about it not a lot happens in this book, the plot is still compelling. I think even in the slower moments, the writing and the characters really pull you through.
  5. Now I’m not particularly big on romance but I love the romance in this book. The relationship between Jane and Mr Rochester is just so good. They are both flawed people but I think they are so well matched and I enjoyed seeing how their relationship developed.

 

“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”

 

As you may be able to tell I love this book so much and I thought it was about time to share my love with you guys :). It is one of the few books that I have multiple copies of… I think I only have two other books I have multiple copies of. Anyway have you guys read it? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

T5W: Auto-buy Sci-fi and Fantasy Authors

Top 5 Wednesday was originally created and run by Lainey aka gingerreadslainey (Youtube channel) but it is now being run by Sam aka Thoughts on tomes (Youtube channel). Each week there is a different topic. You can check out the groups Goodreads page here for any more information and the future topics. This week’s topic is your auto buy science-fiction or fantasy authors. Now I don’t really have many auto-buy authors because although I love all the authors I’m going to mention, if the books synopsis doesn’t interest me then I’m not going to get it. All of the authors I am going to mention are ones that I would definitely be interested in checking out any new books though.
  1. Robin Hobb
  2. Alison Croggon
  3. Adrian Tchaikovsky
  4. Ken Liu
  5. Kij Johnson
Honourable mention to Guy Gavriel Kay. I’ve only read two books by him so far but I loved both so I want to read all of his books. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any new releases from him.

 

These five authors have written some of my favourite fantasy books, so of course I would be interested in any new releases from any of them. There are more authors I could mention but I think these are my top five at the moment. Have you read any books by these authors? Who are your auto-buy authors? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa