By: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Publisher: Orbit Books
Genre: Science Fiction
“The Architects had returned. As though trying to erase the history of their previous failure, they’d been busy. First they had descended on Far Lux where, half a century ago three Intermediaries had met with them and ended the war. This time, almost nobody had got off-planet before the end.” Adrian Tchaikovsky, Eyes of the Void
Eyes of the Void is the second entry in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s The Final Architecture series. The Architects have returned and they are even more dangerous than before since the Originator artefacts are no longer protective. Mr. Tchaikovsky builds an elaborate space opera with an intense plot, amazing science fiction, and the continued development of the characters we met in Shards of Earth. I have to say that it took time for me to get into this book, as it was a little slowly paced in the beginning. Once I passed that point, it was a non-stop, page turning adventure, packed with action. It’s a race against time to find a way to stop the Architects. It’s also a pursuit through space between various factions to seize Idris Telemmier, the only Intermediary who has been capable of reaching the Architects. Eyes of the Void is space opera at its absolute best and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
The main characters are the same, with the exception of Havaer Mundy, an Intervention Board agent. While we met him in the first book, he plays a larger role in Eyes of the Void. The characters continue to develop and further their arcs. Their basic personalities have not changed, which is more realistic, as most people’s personality typically does not change. It’s the interactions between these characters that has grown. Some of the tensions that we once saw has subsided, and we get to see sides of them that haven’t before. While Olli and Solace will never be best friends, Olli’s resentment is no longer as palpable. She has a grudging respect for her and vice-versa. Much of this can stem from Idris’ choice to “defect” to the Parthenon. He refused to go back to the Intermediary Program, and be used by them, becoming property, with no autonomy or choices. With the Parthenon, Idris is free, and he begins to help make an Intermediary Program. Because he knows how damaging the process is, as many die not only in the procedure, but during the travel through unspace as well, he will only take volunteers in his program. For helping the Parthenon, Idris is now viewed as a traitor:
“He was the one who’d driven the Architects away from Berlenhof.
He was the man who betrayed the Colonies…
And so everybody knew. At the same time, what anyone knew differed from what everyone else knew, over space and time…
Even Idris himself wasn’t sure what he was anymore.” Adrian Tchaikovsky, Eyes of the Void
The crew of the Vulture God are a family and they are extremely protective of Idris. As various bureaus and individuals seek to capture Idris, the crew is there to protect him. If he is taken, they stop at nothing to rescue him. The comradery and chemistry between the characters is a strong point in Eyes of the Void.
Mr. Tchaikovsky is extremely talented at creating characters that have a basis in real science, which, as a scientist, is fascinating. The Tothiats are an excellent example. The species, the Tothir, live as symbionts with another species. The symbionts we see are human. The Tothir is painfully attached to the back of its symbiont, where it lives. It is described as crustacean-like, and it is not hidden. The human symbionts are in constant pain in this relationship. The payoff is that they are nearly impossible to kill. Wounds heal almost instantaneously, and they are strong and agile. Symbiotic relationships exist widely in nature, the type of relationship varies between the two species involved. The Tohiat, while having the creepy crustacean attached to their backs, is just one example of Mr. Tchaikovsky using naturally occurring processes to construct an alien species. The other of course is the Parthenon, all female, born through the process of parthenogenesis.
The pacing and prose were excellent. As I mentioned, it was only a brief period in the beginning that was a bit slow. It picked up speed and simply never let up. It was evenly paced action, from the Architects return, how to stop them, and trying to protect Idris. I liked reading about how the Architects looked and re-made planets. They look like crystalline beings, and in their destruction, planets become giant spheres of crystals. Now that they are not stopped by the Originator artefacts, Idris may be the only salvation for a universe on the verge of destruction.
“A dozen crystal shards had lanced down from the Architect…but they weren’t just shards anymore. They’d already got to work, their substance shifting like thick liquid until they were mobile, stalking or slithering or scuttling. Each was remade into a different shape of faceted, translucent stone in imitation…of some living thing…” Adrian Tchaikovsky, Eyes of the Void
The story is told in the third person of the main characters, with the addition of the voice of Havaer Mundy. Some chapters are devoted to one character, while others have two characters in them. This method is never confusing. It gives the reader insight into the motives of the characters, and we see their further development. They have certainly come together as a more cohesive group in Eyes of the Void. When the pace picks up, having more than one character point of view in chapters adds to the excitement that is building up. It’s fast-paced, but not rushed. It is brilliant storytelling, and science fiction at its finest.
Eyes of the Void is an excellent second book in The Final Architect series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The Architects have returned and Idris is once again being pulled by factions for his gifts to ward them off. The characters we met in the first book, Idris, Olli, Kris, Kit, and Solace have developed more, and their chemistry as crew and “family” really comes together. I am truly in awe of the many unique species he creates. One of the more interesting to me were the Tothiats, a symbiont Tothir with another species. It’s interesting that many of the species have resemblances to our natural world. Mr. Tchaikovsky is a brilliant writer and weaves so many complexities into an action packed, race against time to thwart the Architects. I loved finally seeing what The Architects looked like, and they were walking crystals, and not terrifying looking beings. The pacing and prose were excellent. The narrative is told in the first person of the main characters, with the addition of Havaer Mundy, who we met in Shards of Earth. The story takes many twists and turns, all of which is heart pounding action. Eyes of the Void is a stellar space opera and I highly recommend not only this book, but Shards of Earth as well.
Summary (from NetGalley)
After eighty years of fragile peace, the Architects are back, wreaking havoc as they consume entire planets. In the past, Originator artefacts – vestiges of a long-vanished civilization – could save a world from annihilation. This time, the Architects have discovered a way to circumvent these protective relics. Suddenly, no planet is safe.
Facing impending extinction, the Human Colonies are in turmoil. While some believe a unified front is the only way to stop the Architects, others insist humanity should fight alone. And there are those who would seek to benefit from the fractured politics of war – even as the Architects loom ever closer.
Idris, who has spent decades running from the horrors of his past, finds himself thrust back onto the battlefront. As an Intermediary, he could be one of the few to turn the tide of war. With a handful of allies, he searches for a weapon that could push back the Architects and save the galaxy. But to do so, he must return to the nightmarish unspace, where his mind was broken and remade.
What Idris discovers there will change everything.
My thanks to Orbit/Hatchett Books for providing me with a copy of Eyes of the Void
My thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy an eBook in exchange for an honest review.
Learn more about Adrian Tchaikovsky on his website https://adriantchaikovsky.com/