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Children of Ruin cover art

Children of Ruin

Written by: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Narrated by: Mel Hudson
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Publisher's Summary

Children of Ruin follows Adrian Tchaikovsky's extraordinary Children of Time, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke award for Best Science Fiction Novel. It is set in the same universe, with a new cast of characters and a thrilling narrative.

It has been waiting through the ages.

Now it's time . . .

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.

©2019 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd (P)2019 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic Reviews

All underpinned by great ideas. And it is crisply modern - but with the sensibility of classic science fiction. Asimov or Clarke might have written this (Stephen Baxter)
You know you’re in for a ride. . . This book thoroughly engaged me. Children of Ruin is a humdinger of a book I enjoyed immensely (Neal Asher)
Magnificent. This is the big stuff – the really big stuff. Rich in wisdom and Humanity (note the 'H'), with a Stapledonian sweep and grandeur . . . Books like this are why we read science-fiction (Ian McDonald)
Breathtaking scope and vision. Adrian Tchaikovsky is one of our finest writers (Gareth Powell)
Wonderful – big, thinky SF that feels classic without being mired in the past, absolutely crammed with fun ideas . . . Anyone who likes sweeping, evolutionary-scale stories will love this (Django Wexler)

What listeners say about Children of Ruin

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not as good as the previous installment

Had high hopes after reading Children of time. The story could have been a bit more engaging

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

More spider adventures

This book definitely expanded well on its predecessor. The style of writing remains the same, but the ideas are new. Involves ideas of exploration,species engineering, inter-species communication, transhumanism and more.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • NP
  • 22-03-22

A spectacular sequel!

The Children of Ruin is the sequel to The Children of Time. And as you listen to the book, your understanding of the title changes. Ruin takes on new shapes and you’re left with a sense of awe.

Both the books are a mirror to today’s (real) society.
This book takes a step further than the previous one, by showing us a dystopia of ourselves. And that’s what makes this book incredible. You really understand the magnitude of the consequences we are creating for ourselves.

In terms of technical sci-fi content - the children of ruin is definitely a harder to keep up with. The concepts are more abstract compared to the first book.

The narrator - same as that of the prequel - has done a fabulous job and they brought the book to life.

Adrian is a genius. And if you are new to sci-fi like me and want a recommendation to dip your toes into this genre, then do choose this series.

You won’t regret it. You’ll go on an adventure.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Confusing

Very hard to follow the story line and confusing too . First book was way better

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not suitable for audiobook, too much back and forth

I wanted to like this story as I had heard a lot about it. But I found it difficult to keep up with the flow of the story as there is too much back and forth between different storylines in this book. Maybe it is better for reading but I wouldn't recommend it as an audiobook.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great story, with a lot of science-y exposition

Weaving species evolution in a science fiction story is a difficult proposition. After all, evolution, let's face it, is rather boring. Stuff happens over millions of years. And while the science itself is fascinating - both at the genetic and cellular level, and at the social level - it can be a hard story to tell.

Adrian Tchaikovsky surmounted impossible odds in the first book of this series, Children of Time. It was as much a space opera as a single book could be. With all of that evolution stuff in it.

Here, we return to the series, and explore the evolution of 2 different species - octopuses, and a micro-organism. While the spiders and humans are learning to co-exist. There's an AI in the mix too. If that sounds complex, it is. The complexity, then, is really the books undoing.

Tchaikovsky, has to dedicate reams of pages to the workings of octopods (i am just going with the nomenclature in the book. Octopuses or Octopus' or Octopi all sound too awkward) and how they talk and how they behave. There's as much focus on the spider-human communication mechanics, the AI-human mechanics - which is rather tiring. The story is still great. This scenario of two intergalactic species who have made peace with the existence of alien life, seeking out other life forms and the clash that ensues, has phenomenal potential. And I daresay, Tchaikovsky does do justice to it. But... the science part of sci-fi is just too loaded and felt like a chore. The social aspect of the new species is very different from the way the spider society emerges in book 1. But it's also very convoluted, to the point where I will freely admit that I didn't quite get it - much like the human and spider heroes in the book.

I still enjoyed some of the exposition, and the overall story arch. The narration was spectacular too. I daresay these books are probably the hardest to perform with the amount of different perspectives we get. But Mel Hudson does a fantastic job. Absolutely phenomenal. I daresay this one would have been unfinished but for Mel Hudson for me.

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