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The Doors of Eden: Adrian Tchaikovsky Paperback – April 1, 2021
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They thought we were safe. They were wrong.
Lee and Mal went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor four years ago, and only Lee came back. She thought she’d lost Mal forever, now miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has Mal been all this time? Mal's reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 either, and their officers also have questions.
Julian Sabreur is investigating an attack on top physicist Kay Amal Khan. This leads Julian to clash with agents of an unknown power – and they may or may not be human. His only clue is grainy footage, showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.
Dr Khan’s research was theoretical; then she found cracks between our world and parallel Earths. Now these cracks are widening, revealing extraordinary creatures. And as the doors come crashing open, anything could come through.
'Inventive, funny and engrossing, this book lingers long after you close it' - Tade Thompson, Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author of Rosewater
Adrian Tchaikovsky brought us far-future adventure with Children of Time. Now The Doors of Eden takes us from Bodmin Moor to London and alternate versions of earth. This is an extraordinary feat of the imagination and a page-turning adventure.
Frequently bought together
- Publisher : Pan; Main Market edition (April 1, 2021)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1509865918
- ISBN-13 : 978-1509865918
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 15 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.16 x 1.54 x 7.72 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #837,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Very mild spoilers outside of spoiler tags.
The good thing first. The parallel earths were incredibly compelling. Every one was fascinating and felt organic. Each felt like there was a Children of Time hidden within the details, that we could have spent a whole book exploring the depths of divergent evolution and the stories only hinted at. I devoured the interludes, and the brief chapters we spent in the other worlds were fascinating.
Now the bad.
First of all, I just did not find any of the characters interesting, or care in the slightest what happened to them. None of them felt real to me, they felt like characters in bad Golden Age sci-fi who ostensibly exist with internal motivation and are supposed to be subtextually indicative of a worldview or point the author is trying to make but in reality are transparent plot devices whose feelings and motivations are inconsistent and entirely dependent on plot necessity. (view spoiler)
Then we have the enormous amount of padding in the book. A lot of it felt like the worst of Lost. Weird things are happening. The reader, and viewpoint character, don’t know what’s going on and desperately want answers. There are people around them who have these answers, and the means, motive and opportunity to share that information. But since the mystery needs to be maintained for the reader and answers slowly dribbled out there are absurd contrivances or an inexplicable reluctance for the people with the answers to share them with the viewpoint character. Vague things are implied, but no concrete information when there is no motivating reason for the characters in the know not to share concrete information, and it would in fact make their lives a lot easier to do so. The number of times characters take a long journey somewhere, or rest for an extended period of time, and obstinately provide oblique explanations was frustrating. (view spoiler)
Further padding is by the author’s weird fixation on having all six viewpoint characters be briefed on the exact same information in lengthy separate sections in ways that contribute nothing to the readers understanding of the information, or modify the characters motivation in any interesting or important way. It’s like the worst filler anime episodes, where 15 minutes of each episode are spent explaining the events of the last episode in a slightly different way that adds nothing.
As a fake example, the book would have a few pages on character 1 finding out the sun is exploding. Typical reactions ensue. “Oh no, the sun is exploding!” “If the sun explodes the world I live on that revolves around the sun would not have a son!” “How do we stop the sun from exploding so the world I live on will have a sun?” Then after that character does a few more things to try to stop the sun from exploding, we’d switch to character 2 finding out the sun was exploding. “But if the sun explodes my garden won’t have sunshine!” “My garden is very important to me so we need to stop the sun from exploding!” Then we switch to character 3, “What do you mean the sun is exploding?” etc. Almost all of the time it could be an aside that the character learned offscreen that the sun is exploding, and their reaction is exactly what you would expect.
Finally there’s the inane non-science. I’m not a scientist. Hell, I’m not even good at science. I know enough to make me think science fiction solutions sound reasonable even when they’re probably not. And I don’t expect strong science in science fiction. Science fiction, to me, is all about exploring about how big changes would affect the world that people live in. Small changes can lead to butterfly effects that might not occur to you but seem natural once you think about it. But this book is nothing but tautologies. One character is the multiverse’s greatest mathematician and she’s doing science and math fix problems. That’s not a summary, that’s the complete extent of the information we’re provided. When other characters talk to her she says things like “Well I used math to talk to the aliens.” “I’m trying to fix the problem of the sun exploding with math, but the math of science is very hard math.” I tried doing a search for “math” in my Kindle Web Reader so I could pull some direct quotes but it’s not enabled for searching yet. Might update this later. Most of the time it’s as bad as a character saying “The problem with space travel is you can’t go faster than light. But we did math on some light and found out with math we could mathematically go faster than light.” None of this is helped by the fact that literally every time the mathematician is in a scene the, or someone else, use the word “math” at least once. Usually in conjunction with “science.” I don’t know if that’s true earlier in the book, but I got the suspicion late into the novel and it held true. It’s especially baffling since the author clearly knows more about science than I do. The sections on the parallel earths had science I didn’t know before, and I felt like I learned some things. It’s just that there are vast sections that are just “doing the science!”
If you stuck with me until now, thanks. This book really bugged me because I know the author is capable of so much more. And there were some good ideas in here, just horribly executed. In a lot of ways it felt like a first book crammed with too many ideas, no focus, and no authorial voice.
It's still a Tchaikovsky novel, so it's still pretty good.
The overall plot is fun, and there are tons of interesting creatures and speculative history. I really liked the chapters about alternate earth evolution, and that came together in a satisfying way towards the end.
Overall, it's worth reading if you like Tchaikovsky. If you're unfamiliar with the author, try Children of Time or Cage of Souls first.
Top reviews from other countries
For me this was awful.
It’s basically an unsubtle treatise on some of the evils apparent in our modern (capitalist) society with very little balance and a bad guy who is an establishment figure displaying every phobe known to man. Then (and I hate when people say this normally) there is a deliberate wokeness around LGBTQ which feels cynical because the characters introduced are primarily defined by their sexuality e.g. a trans woman who happens to be a genius scientist rather than a genius scientist who happens to be a trans woman.
There are a huge number of characters who basically are just witnesses to events taking place and in fact nobody does anything of note that influences events in the book. It’s a rambling story of “the universe is breaking down what can we do to stop it’ in which you will be disappointed with the answer.
The multiverse concept is interesting but again, other than intellectually interesting, it doesn’t add to the story, and in fact drags it down.
It’s a non event of a story in which the situation at the end of the book doesn’t feel to have moved on much from the beginning other than we understand what’s going on. The characters are wasted (what the point of Mal and Lee is, heaven knows) and nobody does anything of note.
I felt the science explanation for what was going on was a bit shonky as well.
It’s feels like I’ve just been bludgeoned to near death with a copy of the Guardian newspaper.
Take my advice, if you are after some decent science fiction, look elsewhere.
It's quite different from his 'Children Of' series but I can honestly say I loved it almost as much. I particularly loved the descriptions of the alternate histories of the parallel earths. I didn't feel at all that the author was pushing any kind of trans/LGBTQ or woke agenda at all, in fact I particularly liked the trans scientist's character in the book. She ended up being one of my faves, along with the trilobites.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining read!