Shards of Earth Book Review | My First Sci-Fi Read of 2021

Thank you Netgalley for the E-ARC & TheWriteReads for having me as a part of your blog tour for Shards of Earth!

Shards of Earth: ★★★☆☆

Adrian Tchaikovsky

Adult Science-Fiction

Book one in The Final Architects Trilogy.

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Shards of Earth Synopsis

The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery . . .

Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.

After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared—and Idris and his kind became obsolete.

Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects—but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain. [Goodreads Synopsis]


Shards of Earth Non-Spoiler Review

Shards of Earth is the first book by Adrian Tchaikovsky that I’ve read, and it felt so good to be back in a science fiction world after drifting away from the genre for so long. This book made me feel so excited to read more sci-fi books this year.

Tchaikovsky is a well-known name in the SFF genre. You can feel his confidence in his ability to write space operas seep into his work. He’s also unafraid to put his characters through hell and kill them off, there were a few surprises in there that I didn’t see coming.

The highlight of this book was unspace. Sci-fi readers will be familiar with jumps through space, but where do they go during those jumps? Tchaikovsky introduces unspace, a dark, shadowy void where only you exist. It’s recommended to enter a pod and sleep during those jumps because when you wake, you might not be the only creature in the dark. This concept felt so unique and eerie and was the shining feature of this book. It felt as though Tchaikovsky brought a little bit of fantasy into space to create something fresh and exciting, capturing both the claustrophobic and dangerous potential for life in space.

The opening scenes were amazing. While we follow a large cast, this book mainly focuses on two main characters, Solace and Idris, former soldiers and lovers who fought against the Architects. The Architects are an enemy that no one knows anything about. It makes them all the more sinister. How do you fight something so unfathomable?

While war is at the heart of this book, a constant, looming threat, there was also a strong theme of freedom. How to obtain it, what it means and what do to with it. How do you achieve peace after the horrors of a war that is not quite over?

The beginning and ending were very entertaining, but I found myself confused in the middle at various points when the plot slowed down. The world building is heavy but detailed (there’s also a glossary at the end which was helpful! ) but the pacing is more world/plot based than character based, which, on occasion, meant that were were just told a meeting or event happened, rather than seeing the characters in those situations. Being a character driven reader, that jarred me out of the narrative occasionally. That’s just down to personal preference.

Overall, Shards of Earth was a nice introduction into what to expect from Tchaikovsky, an author I will read more of in the future. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a plot driven, science-fiction with themes of war, mystery and found family.


About the Author

Adrian Tchaikovsky is the author of the acclaimed Shadows of the Apt fantasy series, from the first volume, Empire In Black and Gold in 2008 to the final book, Seal of the Worm, in 2014, with a new series and a standalone science fiction novel scheduled for 2015. He has been nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award and a British Fantasy Society Award. In civilian life he is a lawyer, gamer and amateur entomologist.


Have you read a book by Adrian Tchaikovsky ? Let me know!

2 Replies to “Shards of Earth Book Review | My First Sci-Fi Read of 2021”

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