I picked this up along with 11 other titles in a recent audible sale, they were running a minimum of like 65% off and how could I resist? I have fallen in love with this author this year. It started with Children of Time which is like a sentient spider ecology book which I never knew how badly I needed in my life. From there I have just devoured everything I can of his as fast as I can, while also making room for SPFBO, and review requests. I had only ever read his Sci-Fi, so I picked up this title expecting something more along the lines of an urban fantasy. That was kind of true? I suppose perhaps Adrian enjoys adding Sci-Fi elements to most of his books, or I just haven’t hit a straight fantasy-only book of his yet. Which is fine!
Okay, so the most striking aspect about this book is absolutely the second person perspective narration. It has been such a long, long time since I read anything in the second person. I think the last time was just the intro to one of Gareth Hanrahan’s books. Second person perspective is very different and in most aspects it turns me off. This was so wonderfully executed. Really just sublime.
“You” are a human in an Ogre dominated world. You’ve got a semi-powerful father by human standards, and despite your hijinks you’ve never really gotten into serious trouble. Steal an apple here and there, nothing serious. But, then you hit an Ogre, and shit hits the fan. Ogres are enormous, they eat people when they feel like it, and they have complete control over this world. They are the ones that have the magic and technology, while humans are usually illiterate IIRC. Ogres don’t get sick like humans, they don’t break like humans, and they can eat meat. In this world meat makes humans sick, they can’t digest it, and so the deer and boar of the woods are solely for the Ogres. Ogres are enough like us, though, that they have dalliances with the village girls whether they want to or not. It’s a dark, grim, oppressive world for humans and “you” live through it with the character which gives it such a sense of intimacy and expediency.
This is just a novella, I crushed it in a night, it didn’t take me long at all with the audiobook. Also, as I’ve discovered with this audible sale, not only does Tchaikovsky push out book after book of quality work, usually set in unique worlds and different worlds from his other series, but he also pushes out novellas in the same way, and ALSO HE NARRATES HIS OWN BOOKS AND HES GREAT. This one is actually narrated by Emma Newman, but some of his others are self-narrated. I’ve said it before, but I think there are people who are just wells of talent, and all the talent kind of circles around and drops into their bucket, leaving not much left over for the rest of us, which explains me.
I highly, super, super recommend this for everyone interested in SFF. This was a really creative blend and I enjoyed the audio so much. There is so much crammed into a single serving story that left me wanting for nothing.
- Plot: 13/15
- Characters: 13/15
- World Building: 14/15
- Writing: 14/15
- Pacing: 14/15
- Originality: 14/15
- Enjoyment: 9/10
Final Score: 91/100