Stars: 5 out of 5
I love discovering a new series that I thoroughly enjoy and knowing that there are still at least two more books I can look forward to. Strangely enough, the only book by Tchaikovsky I have read before this one was One Day This all will be Yours, which is a novella about the consequences of time travel and a time war. And I had loved it as well, but I hadn’t tried his scifi series until I found this one on my TBR list. Well, Mr. Tchaikovsky, I’m a convert now. You write it – I will read it!
The premise of this book is interesting. Sixty years ago, humanity stood united with other alien species, locked in a desperate battle with an alien treat that destroyed entire planets in a matter of hours. They were desperate, they were on the brink of extinction, and all they could do was evacuate as many people as possible before the Architect showed up and destroyed yet another planet. Then an Intermediary, a specially modified human, managed to make contact with the vast consciousness of the Architect, and the Architect just… left. None has been seen since.
It’s been 60 years, and none of the desperate unity remains. humanity is squabbling for power and dominance. The war’s heroes are now humanity’s pariahs, mistrusted and hated by regular humanity. Who aren’t much fond of other alien species as well. Tempers are high, and the known galaxy is on the brink of yet another bloody war, until the crew of a small salvage freighter uncovers proof that the Architects might be back. Now the whole galaxy is after them, and not everyone’s intentions are friendly.
Most of the time, characters are what makes or breaks a book for me. I had been known to read stories with wobbly worldbuilding and giant plot holes because I was in love with the characters. I’ve also been known to walk away from a wonderfully constructed story with a lot of thought put into the structure of the world because the characters were one-dimensional or I simply couldn’t connect with any of them.
Fortunately, it’s not the case here. I LOVED the crew of the Vulture God! Idris was damaged and confused a lot of times, but loyal to his friends, and with a strong sense of what is right and wrong. And willing to die for humanity when that was needed. Solace was wonderful as this grizzled soldier who started caring about the crew of the Vulture despite herself. She could also relate to what Idris was going through because she experienced the war with the Architect first hand as well. And I am still so so salty about Rollo. That particular death really packed an emotional punch.
This book answered some questions, but left a lot for the following books. Even though the wreak was a hoax, the Architects are back, and they will continue exterminating inhabited planets. Not because they want to, but because they have no choice. So all sentient life in the galaxy is in danger. Everyone would have to band together if they want to survive what’s coming. And the crew of the Vulture God will be right in the middle of it. And I will be along for the ride.
PS: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.