I found The Children of Time through a reddit post asking for book recommendations with unusual alien species. Based on the comment’s description, I thought it sounded interesting. When I checked out the book on Amazon, I discovered that it was on sale, so I picked it up. A few weeks later when I was looking for something to read, I remembered it.
Before I was even halfway through the first chapter, I was hooked. Tchaikovsky masterfully describes what the world would look like through senses incredibly alien from our own. He describes a species which develops in a way altogether unfamiliar to us. And yet, despite the strangeness of this world and its inhabitants, we are able to feel their struggles and their triumphs as our own.
Throughout the book, Tchaikovsky perfectly manages the interest curve. Each part of the book ends with with a satisfying resolution, but also serves to build the overall tension of the story. The characters are well realized and easy to follow and root for.
When I finally got to the last pages of the book, I was completely blown away by the ending. I won’t say much about it, so as to avoid spoiling it, but it was by far one of the best endings to a book I’ve read. Even now, three days after I finished the book, I’m still freaking out about it.
If you’re looking for a good, medium-length science fiction book, I cannot recommend The Children of Time enough. This book is just the right length for its purpose, not so long that it gets old, but not so short that it’s disappointing. It has given me plenty to think about how I approach the idea of an alien civilization.