Book Review: CHILDREN OF RUIN by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 2 stars
Series: yes - book 2 of duology



Thousands of years ago, Earth’s terraforming program took to the stars. On the world they called Nod, scientists discovered alien life – but it was their mission to overwrite it with the memory of Earth. Then humanity’s great empire fell, and the program’s decisions were lost to time.

Aeons later, humanity and its new spider allies detected fragmentary radio signals between the stars. They dispatched an exploration vessel, hoping to find cousins from old Earth.

But those ancient terraformers woke something on Nod better left undisturbed.

And it’s been waiting for them.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I have really enjoyed the previous book, and so was looking forward to this one – but just didn’t get around to it because I was rarely in the right place (covid!) when I was in a sci-fi mood. However, I was in a sci-fi mood when I picked this up, but the structure didn’t work for me, and I found myself glazing over at times.

Unlike in the previous book, where it was episodic, but thematically the humans and spiders were linked, and there were enough links between them that were hinting towards the final confrontation, the two parts were very separate. It was told in alternating past/future segments, rather than alternating human/spider chapters, so 70-odd pages would go by before returning to the other section. This very effectively split the two apart from one another, making them feel like very separate books.

There isn’t anything really linking the two – no Kern spurring them onto action or being reached out. The threat of the alien thingy (still not sure what it is) doesn’t come up for long sections, so it feels like less of an inevitable clash. And without that inevitability or anything drawing them together, it wasn’t all that interesting for me because I couldn’t see why I should care about the other half when reading about one of the story sides.

I have to say, though, octopuses are a far cuter species to be working with than spiders!

Read my reviews of other books by Adrian Tchaikovsky:

Children of Time (this series):


The Final Architects:

Dogs of War:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s