Thursday, October 06, 2022

BOOK REVIEW: Eyes of the Void (The Final Architecture, #2) by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Eyes of the Void is the second installment in a space opera trilogy called The Final Architecture written by Adrian Tchaikovsky, one of the most prolific and creative science fiction authors working today. His Children of Time and Children of Ruin are two of my all-time favorite books. I’m looking forward to the release of the third installment in that series called Children of Memory in January 2023. However, until then, I’ve also been enjoying reading the first two books in The Final Architecture series, Shards of Earth and Eyes of the Void. I previously reviewed Shards of Earth and now I will write down some thoughts about Eyes of the Void.

The Final Architect series is set in a Universe where humanity exists as a galactically dispersed diaspora due to an apocalyptic event that occurred less than 80 years ago before the events depicted in Shards of Earth. Earth was one of several human-populated planets that were visited by Architects, huge implacable devices that have the power to manipulate space-time and gravitational forces so that they can convert planets to artistic arrangements of matter, apparently oblivious to the billions of sentient lives they destroy on those planets. When the Architects arrived, humanity had been just one space-faring species among several in the Galaxy, but with the destruction of their homeworld the fracturing of human society into various factions was accelerated and solidified. 

One of Tchaikovsky’s great skills as a writer is his depiction of alien culture, morphology and consciousness in such a way that it seems relatable to the reader, regardless of how unusual or bizarre they appear at first glance. In the Final Architecture books the aliens are quite other-worldly, in multiple senses of the word.

The main characters in the story are Idris Telemmier (an Intermediary, i.e. a human who has been biologically modified to enhance his ability to access unSpace and propel vehicles across vast distances) and Solace (a parthogenetically created soldier who has a complicated history with Idris). Both Solace and Idris had a role in the last battle which ended the Architects' War 50 years ago. In the events of Shards of Earth Idris and Solace start off on different sides of a conflict that is somewhat resolved in a way that leaves them on the same side.

There are several characters other than Idris and Solace in the series, and in Eyes of the Void we get to spend more time with them. These include snarky robot and academic Architect expert Trine; near-indestructible alien-plus-symbiont called a Tothiat whose name is Emmaneth; a (literally) cutthroat lawyer Kris Almier; disabled computer hacker-pilot Olli who incessantly cursed and kicks butt in her powerful scorpion-like exoskeleton; and a bureaucratic spy and double/triple agent named Havaer Mundy. The interactions between these characters are the primary source of the dramatic tension in the book, as they try and find and eventually rescue Idris after he is kidnapped by another alien who wants to use the Intermediary’s power for their own dangerous plot.

By the end of Eyes of the Void, we have learned a lot more about the mysterious Architects as they continue to devour more planets. Idris discovers that they are being forced to do what they do by even more powerful aliens, whom we have yet to meet (and seem absolutely terrifying!!) Presumably, we will find out more about these aliens who are forcing Architects to do their bidding in the third and final book in the trilogy: Lords of Uncreation.

Title: Eyes of the Void.
Adrian Tchaikovsky.
Format: Kindle.
Length: 592 pages.
Publisher: Tor.
Date Published: May 3, 2022.
Date Read: June 4, 2022.

GOODREADS RATING: ★★★★☆  (4.0/5.0).

OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).


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