I’ve only read one Adrian Tchaikovsky book until now – Walking to Aldebaran – and really liked it, so I was eager to get into this book. I was sorely disappointed.
Shards of Earth has plenty of ideas – familiar, but presented with sufficient novelty to be interesting. It’s that presentation, though, that’s the problem. While apparently the first book in a new trilogy, it reads – for at least half its length – like the continuation of an ongoing series. Tchaikovsky has chosen an in media res approach that substantially muddies the waters, constantly offering up flashbacks just after they would have been useful. I was genuinely convinced for much of the time that this was a book only for the cognoscenti of his prior work. It wasn’t until well near the end that I was certain that was wrong, and the problem was simply in the structure.
The result was that I didn’t much enjoy the book, intriguing as some of the elements were. I never felt I’d found my footing, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Quirky characters notwithstanding, I seldom felt engaged, and often felt mildly confused.
The book hits on many of my favorite tropes, yet I can’t recommend it. If this had been my introduction to Tchaikovsky, I’d never have gone any further. As it is, I already have one more book on tap, and I strongly hope that Walking to Aldebaran was the norm and this the anomaly.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.