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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. It is set in the same universe, with a new cast of characters and a thrilling new 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

What listeners say about Children of Ruin

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    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.

3 people found this helpful

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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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  • 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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Confusing

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

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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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  • pondo
  • 20-05-19

Rigged reviews

It seems as though the reviews on Audible are rigged nowadays. I have at least 10 books in my library that had glowing reviews that I can't persuade myself to finish, I feel like I got ripped off. Anymore if I see 5 stars across the board for a book, I check the reviewer, and if they have less than 3 reviews I disregard their submission. Point being this is a genuine review by a nonbiased listener. Children of ruin is well worth the credit. As the book started off, I rolled my eyes, Adrian isn't trying to make me buy into another scenario like this is he, seriously! But the main reason to write a book is to entertain, and C o R did that, it was entertaining enough that I enjoyed the beginning and my eye roll faded away like a dream. Then the middle of the book got very intense, I HAD to find out what was going to happen next! Great fun the middle of the book. The end somewhat anti-climatic, but sensical. Also, a scifi pet peeve of mine is, how come all aliens speak English. Adrian's aliens don't speak English, as a matter of fact, his aliens are so different all but the most rudimentary communication is impossible. So I appreciate that someone addressed that problem to a fuller degree than I had ever pondered. Like I said well worth the credit and you will be thoroughly entertained. The performance was one of the best I've listened to, fantastic voice and production.

44 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Raj
  • 18-05-19

A brilliant, unique, and mind expanding sequel!

I loved Children of Time mainly because I found the story of the Spiders on Kern's World to be incredibly interesting. Their societal norms, technology, and mythos were wholly unique. The book was a Herculean example of world building, from Kern's world to the failed human empire that inadvertently spawned it.
Children of Ruin, does not disappoint! It expands on the characters you come to love for their unique traits and foibles, and introduces many more!
Mel Hudson's performance is transcendent. She gives every character their own voice and attitude. Her performance is a perfect compliment to Adrian's writing style. I highly recommend this book. It will take you on an adventure ;)

36 people found this helpful

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  • Tiffany T.
  • 13-06-19

Not What I Was Expecting

6/13/19
I discovered Children of Time a few months ago and was so addicted I was listening at every chance I got. Then I discovered this one was available for preorder and I jumped on it. I figured it would be about the new character introduced at the end of CoT, and it was sortof, but I was a bit disappointed that we didn't really get into her mind in the same way that we did for Holsten. By the end of CoT, I felt like I knew him, but after CoR, I don't feel like I knew his daughter at all. And I guess the point was to know Senkovi more. Anyway, I REALLY liked getting into the minds of the octopuses and the "whatever-they-were" from Nod. I don't want to give any spoilers, but I will say that I absolutely did NOT see the way the book ended coming, although maybe I should have. It was very anti-climatic for me, and there were a few times where I had to go back and re-listen to the chapter because I missed something and was very confused. I felt the book ended rather abruptly. I remember when I was listening and I heard the word "Epilogue" I was like, "What? It's over already??" Maybe I zoned out on that last chapter.

One great point was the language of the octopuses and the frustration of communication from both sides. I loved that the cephalopods used color and that the humans and spiders had no idea what to do with that, and the octopuses thought the others were mute. I did find the way the translations came about to be a little too easily won though.

I also liked the way the "whatever-they-were" on Nod were presented, and how and why they acted the way they did. Once I got to the end of the book and really understood what they were doing, I appreciated this even more.

I did find the way Mel Hudson pronounced "cephalopod" to be extremely grating and, similar to another review, an odd tarnish on an otherwise brilliant narration. I thought maybe it was a US vs UK pronunciation, but no. So that was a bit distracting.

All in all, this was a wonderful book. I think maybe I didn't give it my full attention and missed some things because I had an overall feeling of disappointment when it was over, and I'm not sure why that happened. After reading a ton of other reviews now though, and how awesome CoT was, I think I need to do a re-read sometime soon. If/when I do, I will update my review.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-06-19

A good book but

But it's predecessor was fantastic. This one had a similar pacing, and story telling, and tone, but the novelty wasn't there. In many ways it felt like I was reading exactly the same book over again. There were exciting and creative parts but there were also huge sections that seemed to drone on and on about nothing, very nearly repeating itself.

Again, all and all a good book, and I don't regret reading or buying it, but it not the same quality.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Sehra
  • 10-06-19

Hard Science Fiction that makes you care

There are few science fiction writers that have captured the impartiality of science in tandem with the emotions and vibrancy of character development. The author does a beautiful job of bringing to life all manner of intelligent beings.

5 people found this helpful

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  • JOHNROBB
  • 10-06-19

Not as good as the original

I wanted to like this book but the plot felt a bit fragmented. in the end it was not as good as the original....

5 people found this helpful

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  • Chase B.
  • 19-05-19

Bold, funny, terrifying, hopeful. Excellent!

Great humor, deeply informed /and/ playfully insightful (a special combination), hopeful with a side of cosmic terror. If you've ever been to school for bio or psych you'll enjoy another layer of this, a layer of deliciously integral details that nonetheless does not harm the rhythm and pace of this book.

Like Children of Time this book does not talk down to you, which is awfully refreshing, but I would say it starts off faster. Adrian was courageous in opening our eyes to the local universe, not taking the easy way out by just wrapping up what we know happened at the end of book 1 - Portiad:Human relations.

Mel Hudson constantly mispronouncing the word "cephalopod" was mildly irritating, but I suspect only those of us with a bio degree will be very vexed by that. Still, would it have been that hard to just Google it? An odd tarnish on such a great performance.

Highly recommended all around. This is getting a second listen in the near future, coupled with a third no doubt when the next book comes out.

I discovered Children of Time around a month ago and devoured it in days. I was happy not to have to wait so long for this sequel and it took some discipline not to kill the entire book in a sitting. That said I'm more than happy to wait for Adrian to put out quality over quantity.

What a book!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-06-19

Enjoyable, but Not As Good As the First One

I was very excited to finally get to listen to this book, because I thoroughly enjoyed the first book. This one was decent and well written, with that being said, I feel like it was just too much. It seemed like the author thought that if two story lines were good, shoving at least two more in would be amazing; it didn't work for me. I don't want to say too much, because it would be spoiling parts of the book. I get what he was going for and why he chose the characters he did, it just didn't appeal to me.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Cyr
  • 28-05-19

Simply amazing

I loved the first book and am very impressed with this one. Hard science fiction to the core . I will be eagerly be waiting for book 3

4 people found this helpful

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  • Hunter
  • 26-07-19

Not for me

The first book in the series was good, but this one was just hard to follow and not very interesting. Maybe it got better towards the end, but I never got there. Returned it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mr.M
  • 18-05-19

Another brilliant sci-fi adventure

I'll keep this fairly brief, if you're looking at this book, odds are you know what you're in for with this author. It's unique, it's clever, it's inventive and it's well written. All of this was true for Children of time, all of it is as true for Children of ruin. This book is a worthy sequel and I'd love a third book if this is the quality we can expect.

The narration is, as with the previous book just fantastic. Mel is the perfect choice for these books and if you read this review, I hope you take pride in what you've done. I am a very picky listener and your performance is just top tier for this.

Adrian, write more sci-fi. I have no doubt these books will be considered classics a few decades from now, the same way we consider Heinlein and his brethren classics today.

If you enjoyed the previous book, buy this. If you haven't read either book, go read Children of time and then go purchase this one.

A truly unique and well crafted take on science-fiction.

39 people found this helpful

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  • Glen
  • 22-05-19

We're going on an adventure...

Who would have thought that in an epic science-fiction series that giant alien spiders would be the least terrifying thing lurking beyond the veil of the cosmos?

We wholeheartedly recommend you purchase this audiobook. Before there was only the vessel. The vessel was mourning the conclusion of the original "Children of Time" being one of the best books he had ever encountered. A feat that the vessel assumed could never be repeated.

But then there was this book. And then there was we, and now that we are we, we encourage you to become we too.

We hope that by endorsing this book as strongly as we do that more people will make the purchase, learn the great mystery of the other old human terraforming missions and the existence of the mysterious alien planet of Nod. Where we await intrepid readers brave enough to peek behind the curtain at the true face of science-fiction horror.

Then you too can become we.

20 people found this helpful

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  • maveric78
  • 25-05-19

Good but not quite great...

Whilst I didn’t find this quite as revelatory or ‘tight’ as the first book, it never the less displays the author’s trademark imagination and ambition... He’s surely the best active Sci-fi writer in the world?

8 people found this helpful

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  • Xavier Rodrigrez
  • 17-07-19

Very similar story arc to previous book

The author has an incredible mindbending ideas and incredible grasp of detail. For me the problem is the narrative arc is very similar to the last book in the series and at times mindnumbing in detail whilst not advancing the story. The insight lies in the extraordinary detail of the characters and exobiology, but the story moved too slow.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 22-06-19

Another biologically grounded success.

If you loved the first book this will not disappoint. I was hooked from beginning to end, so many biological ideas explored. And brilliant, and clear narration.

7 people found this helpful

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  • P. Harvey-Field
  • 22-09-19

Long winded

Having listened to the first book I wanted to know how the story would conclude. I tried several times to get into the second book and persevered to the end but found it too long, tedious and confusing, not helped by the monotonous narration. In the end I found myself missing out whole chapters just to get it over with. In conclusion, wish I hadn’t bothered.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Epitome22
  • 19-05-19

It's fantastic

Excellently narrated, the worlds conceived by the author are truly unique, bizarre and fascinating to behold. In many book, "alien" means "human with funny forehead ala ST", the species portrayed in the "Children of" series are the most credible attempt I've read to portray societies that ate truly other.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-07-19

A book of two halves

The first half of this is great. Trails off into long-winded word count filler though

4 people found this helpful

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  • Rosemarie Cawkwell
  • 24-06-19

Slime mould and octopuses in space

In Children of Time, Tchaikovsky made giant spiders fascinating and approachable. He does it again on Children of Ruin, but with octopuses and slime mould.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ricky Mason
  • 11-09-19

Good Recommended Overall Listen

Loved the book overall and eagerly awaited for after listening to another book by the same author, 1 star was lost due to it being a little disjointed at times and hard to follow.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Bart Primrose
  • 29-05-19

truly exceptional

the horror twist blew my mind. I just wish some more time was spent in that realm. the book was incredible and a fitting follower from children of time. I don't know what I will do now that it's over

3 people found this helpful

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  • C. Harrison
  • 28-05-19

semi-horror scifi 70s

Very 1970s Arthur C Clarke style sci-fi that was very detailed, but with a trickle of the storyline to hold it together. I found myself disengaged many times just listening to the words, waiting for the story to pick up again.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-01-21

Mel Hudson is a true master

With such a large portion of the book involving male characters it's weird to think a female narrator would be ideal for the job, but it's simply the case. Yes, the book is fantastic writing and the story is laid out brilliantly, but this audio books true strength is the narration.

Just as enjoyable as book 1, in case you were wondering.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Guy
  • 10-07-19

Nothing as solid as this since Iain M. Banks IMO

Very original and sometimes lofty ideas. A good engaging narrative that keeps you interested the whole way through.

2 people found this helpful

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  • J. D. Hopkins
  • 06-06-19

Original and exceptionally enjoyable

Conceptually fascinating, Adrian's erudite prose captures and holds the imagination. Read all books. Innovative. Intelligent.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-06-19

Just as engrossing as it's predecessor..

I love Mel Hudson's narration. It's slightly quirky but her characterization is both humourus and perfect.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Matty
  • 05-12-19

First one was better

I was very eager to get in to this book as I could hardly stop the first, children of time. However this felt like it stagnated at several points throughout, and direction seemed lost.

I also felt no empathy for any of the characters this time, and found some of the story to feel fragmented.

In saying all that however, The universe that has been created is brilliant and interesting, and the ideas put across by the author are great. I’d still be able to recommend it, but it pales in comparison with the previous title.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-01-23

Still one of the best stories

If you liked Childern of Time this book builds on the ideas and world developed there.

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  • David Anderson
  • 20-12-22

Loved it. A fitting and boggling follow up.

I'm glad I gave this a shot. I really enjoyed children of time. I was unsure of the likelihood of a sequel that would do it justice.
I needn't have worried and will be delving into the third one asap.
Great performance, flow and conclusion.
Well done AT you legend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-09-22

One of the best Sci fi series

Might be my favourite series. Very interesting plot and hard science ideas. Characters are fleshed out and believable. And the performance is great