I’ve previously read two Adrian Tchaikovsky books: Walking to Aldebaran, which I quite liked, and Shards of Earth, which I thought was something of a mess. I picked up Elder Race to see which evaluation was the more correct. I didn’t really find an answer.
Elder Race is much more like Walking than Shards – it has a small, contained cast; a clear quest; a linear timeline; and a developed story that flows well. At the same time, the end of the book left me wondering what the point of it all had been. It’s descriptive, sometimes emotional, but never really poignant, and with less tension than one might expect. It felt, overall, like an exercise in worldbuilding – either testing out an environment for a larger story, or fleshing out an aspect of an existing story. Except that this story doesn’t really allow for either of those, in any direct sense. While readable and pleasant, it seems to me that Tchaikovsky missed the target on this one; there was just too much of a feeling of So what? at the end. It’s a shame, because I think the concept, while not novel, had good potential, and the framework and characters of the story were well in place.
Note that, by my count, this is a novella, not a novel.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.