Adrian Tchaikovsky is certainly on fire this year with three books, in three separate series, all coming out in a short period. How one man can have so many disparate interesting thoughts in the course of a single year is astounding. He even has a fourth book coming out in December, and we have multiple of his 2023 releases slated for our best-of list at the end of the year. If you are curious about the first two, you can read our reviews of Children of Memory and The City of Last Chances, but today we are going to talk about the finale of Tchaikovsky’s current space opera—Lords of Uncreation.
Unsurprisingly, the book is fabulous given Tchaikovsky’s astounding recent track record. Lords of Uncreation presents a hauntingly insightful window into the various minds of many fascinating individuals as they witness the end of times. If you are just joining us, go away, and read the amazing first two books Shards of Earth and Eyes of the Void. Or don’t, I am not your boss and I am not going to spoil anything. In book three things are going badly. The foreshadowed threat of the first two books is on the horizon, people are reacting in a myriad of interesting ways, and we get to hear the inner monologues of a lot of very different individuals as they cope with their presumed incumbent death. It’s an imaginative look into the minds of very complex characters as all of them search for answers. Some are trying to use the chaos to get even, others are trying desperately to build unity. Some are looking for a sense of purpose to the universe, while others are simply looking for some agency to affect it. Everyone is going through a lot, though, especially the reader.
Lords of Uncreation does its job impressively well. When I think back to my favorite endings to big science fiction series, I look for a number of things. Do the themes all come together? Do the characters all have satisfying arcs? Has the initial conflict/premise had a satisfying conclusion? Does the world feel like it will live on, evolving, as we stop reading about it? Does the ending question something about the way we live our lives in the real world? Has the examination of this question spurred introspection in me the reader? Lords of Uncreation checks every single one of these boxes and once again leaves me bereft of space opera greatness as it closes its last page.
As with all of Tchaikovsky’s stories, the incredible worlds and premises hide the true golden children of his work: the characters. While I don’t want to go into the minute details and spoil the joy of discovery for you, I will observe that almost every character in this book has a fabulous arc. Idris, our most main boy, has the best arc but characters like Solace and Mundy are forever occupying space in my mind. Even The Unspeakable Aklu, the Razor and the Hook, has a satisfying end to their strange story.
Looking back as The Final Architecture series wraps up I can say it has been an unmitigated success. Tchaikovsky’s work is impressive in that it all feels very different in terms of the ideas and themes that it tackles, but it also all feels very him and you can tell it is all coming from the same imaginative and curious mind as all his other stories. The Final Architecture feels like his project with the biggest scope, other than Shadows of the Apt, and it is really exciting to see Tchaikovsky try to work on a bigger scale when all of his novels already tend to be big-picture. With the central themes being about diaspora and refugees, it feels painfully poignant with current events and feels like it has helped me sort through my own thoughts and feelings while providing a larger window for empathy. It is a fabulous series and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a space opera, a story about refugees, or a tale with great character arcs.
Lords of Uncreation – 10/10
The Final Architecture – 10/10
An ARC of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts on this book are my own.