Eyes of the Void by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Tor, hardback, £15.19
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
The Architects are back, redeveloping planets to their own intricate designs regardless of the lives lost in the process. One has appeared above Arc Pallator, a pilgrimage planet for Essiel worshipping humans with an Originator city site. While the Architect is held in limbo by the mysterious Originator tech still in the city, Idris and the crew of the Vulture God must explore this relationship, searching for something they can use in their own war against the Architechs. Idris’s research takes him further into unspace, where he alerts the colossal consciousness that stalks humans as they travel the thoroughfares to his presence, and now something worse than the Architechs is hunting him.
Following the Vulture God, Havaer Mundy, Hugh agent, discovers a data packet that contains information on Humanity’s ultimate plan for survival that shakes Havaer to his core, making him question his loyalties.
The second book in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s The Final Architecture series starts a little after the end of The Shards of Earth, with Idris working with the Parthenon to create their own Intermediaries. Idris is still an unwilling hero. He feels he’s done enough for the war effort, sacrificing his mental health for the cause. As the story progresses and different factions make greater demands on his abilities, Idris becomes more inverted. However, he meets people who force him to face the decisions he makes and the danger he puts himself into for his thirst for knowledge. By the end, Idris has changed from an unwilling participant in the war to an active agent, making his own decisions and finding new ways of using his Int powers. I love Idris’s character development, but it also scares me about what will happen to him in the next book.
I can’t talk about character development without mentioning the relationship between Olli and Solace. Olli is disabled and uses a device called the Scorpian to move around, while Solace is a vat-grown Parthenon soldier, designed with an ideal in mind. There is no room in the Parthenon for someone like Olli, but she is the most capable of all the Vulture God’s crew as she is captain, pilot, engineer and a one-woman army when the situation requires it. Solace and Olli butt heads throughout, but this lessens as the two women work together. Solace sees beyond Olli’s disability and respects how Olli adapts to her environment, while Olli sees the Parthenon soldiers as individuals who had no more choice in how they were born than Olli did. There is hope for them in the future.
Havaer has a bigger role in Eyes in the Void, following the Vulture God because he knows them and uncovering Hugh’s bug out plan for humanity when the Architechs reach them. We’ve seen the plan before in disaster stories, but I won’t say what; you’ll have to read it to find out. However, seen through Havaer’s eyes, it is shocking and painful to read. The book was enhanced by having more of Havaer, in my opinion. I enjoyed seeing how he worked in all situations, and it gave me more of an understanding of Hugh as an organisation.
Eyes in the Void is an outstanding follow up to The Shards of Earth. It was fast-paced and so tense that it left me breathless at times. I will be spending my own money on a physical copy, and that is the highest recommendation I can give for you to do the same!