Book Review: CHILDREN OF TIME by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - first book of duology


Book cover for CHILDREN OF TIME: title in white on space with a green planet above and a spaceship below


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?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here. Find it on Amazon UK, UK, and the Book Depository (affiliate links)


I originally read this way back in 2017, and honestly, I couldn’t remember much about it, beyond spiders being very clever.

There’s a real episodic quality to the book, helped along by the fact that it is split into 8 parts (though one’s effectively a prologue and the other is an epilogue, so really it’s 6 parts.) There’s a new generation of spiders (though given the same names each time) and a new crisis for Holsten to wake up to every time. And then it completes its little story before the next one begins that continues the overall story.

I don’t think I’ve ever read another book that has such a clear, separated out feel. It is undeniably the same book, but you could (like with a TV show) conceivably miss out a section and still be able to follow along. It’s a very interesting structure to read.

The other interesting thing is that the spider cast both changes and doesn’t change with every section. It is technically generations and generations gone, but by giving the characters the same names (“Portia” for the main spider, “Bianca” for the second, and “Fabian” for the main male) it feels like a continuity of characters, particularly as their journeys and roles often follow on from one another.

There is a mix of “human”/digital tech and “biotech” in the book. There are the human colonists in their ship that gets more and more strained as the years go past. And then there’s the ant farms and biology based technology of the spiders that reaches the same heights as the humans. I loved the contrast of the tech, the breaking of the old contrasted to the inventiveness and the progression of the new.

Now onto the sequel, which has been on my shelf (and TBR) for a while now!

Read my reviews of other books by Adrian Tchaikovsky:

Children of Time (this series):


The Final Architects:

Dogs of War:

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