I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Published by Orbit on August 18, 2020
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, General, Science Fiction
Buy on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, GooglePlay, Kobo, BAM, Book Depository, Publisher
Lee’s best friend went missing on Bodmin Moor, four years ago. She and Mal were chasing rumours of monsters when they found something all too real. Now Mal is back, but where has she been, and who is she working for?
When government physicist Kay Amal Khan is attacked, the security services investigate. This leads MI5’s Julian Sabreur deep into terrifying new territory, where he clashes with mysterious agents of an unknown power who may or may not be human. And Julian’s only clue is some grainy footage – showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.
Khan’s extradimensional research was purely theoretical, until she found cracks between our world and countless others. Parallel Earths where monsters live. These cracks are getting wider every day, so who knows what might creep through? Or what will happen when those walls finally come crashing down...
The Doors of Eden is a tome at over 600 pages, but is written so beautifully that is doesn’t feel like 600 pages. It was a delight to read.
I had a really difficult time writing this review. I wrote and rewrote my review before taking a break and then make this final attempt. My review doesn’t do this book justice and some aspects of the book I found had my opinion waffling over whether this was a Very Good Book or just A Good Book. In the end, regardless of my struggles, the crux of this review is: Its a worthy read and you wont be sorry you read it!
This is my first Tchaikovsky book, so going in I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Sure, Tchaikovsky is known as a brilliant voice in fantastical literature, but sometimes an author everyone loves can, frankly, be a slog or often over-hyped. I recently read the Book of Koli by M.G. Carey which had rave reviews on Goodreads, but undoubtedly was one of my least favourite novels of the year thus far. Unpopular opinion? Yes. But a very good example of how a really popular and beloved novel may not work for everyone. Fortunately, this was not the case for The Doors of Eden and I think I found a new favourite author.
The Doors of Eden is an extremely expansive story that tries to tie in science, fantasy and politics in a cohesive but fun package. It was a pleasure to read and captured my attention from the start. The novel also explores the many parallel earths theory without getting too complex or ungainly.
What if cockroaches become sentient long before humanity, or dinosaurs or even plants? What would such a world look like? I loved the “intermissions” between chapters where the history of each parallel earth is outlined and further develops the reader’s understanding of the different parallel universes and how a slight change in Earth’s history lead to divergent evolution.
I also loved that Tchaikovsky captured the feeling of being a government spook. The main characters Julian and Allison work for an intelligence agency and felt surprisingly authentic (or so i imagine) given the fantastical nature of the story overall. I think Tchaikovsky tried to develop a cast of characters who are the modern day “every man” in a diverse set of circumstances: a cryptologist, a set of spies, a touch of LGBTQ and even a CEO with nazi-esque leanings. All of the characters have a part to play at the end of time – some of their roles surprising, some not.
The characters themselves made this review so difficult for me to write: near the end, many of the characters became politicized or unlikable making the story a little less enjoyable. Also, with all the diversity represented in this book, the lack or respect for certain minor characters soured me on the ending somewhat. Regardless, the story itself was fun and filled with so many interesting things and unexpected plot twists, that the characters became secondary to the story itself.
In addition, the end felt a little rushed and could have used some more TLC – but it wasn’t a deal breaker. I’d immediately TBR and pre-order a follow up novel in this universe because I loved Tchaikovsky the uniqueness of The Doors of Eden and am incredibly curious what other creatures exist in this really complex and ODDLY realistic world.