ARC Review – Lords of Uncreation

Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing a book that I’ve been waiting to read for so long, the epic conclusion of The Final Architecture series. Lords of Uncreation by Adrian Tchaikovsky completes this fantastic series in a satisfying way, although with a few bumps in the road. If you’d like to see what I thought about the first two books, check out my reviews of Shards of Earth and Eyes of the Void.

From the Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author of Children of Time, this third and final novel in an extraordinary space opera trilogy depicts humanity on the brink of extinction—and reveals how one man’s discovery will save or destroy us all.

Lords of Uncreation is the final high-octane installment in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Final Architecture space opera trilogy.

***Thank you to Orbit Books for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***

I’ll address the question most everyone will want answered right up front. Does this book stick the landing? Yes, more or less. It finally provided concrete answers to some really big questions, and I found them satisfying and thought-provoking. The motley crew of characters was back, and I still loved them all so much. They each had endings that perfectly served their arcs and personalities. Unfortunately, though, the approach to the landing had a bit of turbulence and was super rough in places.

Before we get to my quibbles, I want to gush about the things I really loved. I cannot say enough positive things about the world-building in this book and entire series. All of the different species were so much fun to explore, and the history of this universe and all its conflicts was almost mind-blowing in scope. Before reading this series, I would have never believed that a civilization of god-like sentient clams could be captivating characters in a story, but here we are. This book added even more depth to their culture and customs, and I absolutely loved it. They are probably the highlight of the entire series for me, which is saying a lot because there is a ton of cool stuff here. I would love to get more books about their civilization.

The characters were both a plus and minus for me in this one. I love each of them so much, and this book highlighted Olli in particular, which was a lot of fun. She was her usual crass self, and I enjoyed all of her interactions with the clam overlords. The ending of her story was actually really perfect for her, but I’m not going to spoil it here. I still liked all of the other characters and where they ended up, as well, but they all seemed somewhat static. I don’t think there was a ton of character growth, and I’m fairly certain the extremely high number of POVs played a role. There were so many plates spinning in the air that the characters felt like chess pieces in the plot rather than the people I fell in love with in the first book. It also didn’t help that two throwaway antagonists got so much POV real estate in the first half of the book. I didn’t like them, and their perspectives felt like a rehash of the conflict from the second book.

This leads into the major problem I had with this book. The first half was a chore to finish. It had tons of awesome stuff in it, but it felt a bit like pointless fluff. It added very little to the overall story, and at the middle, the situation the characters found themselves in was very similar to how things were at the beginning of the book. I liked the exploration of the infighting between the factions of humans in the second book, but here it just seemed repetitive. The second half of the book, though, gave me exactly what I wanted from this finale. The exploration of unspace and the fight with the Architects and their masters was truly epic. The revelations made perfect sense, and the resolution was honestly genius and surprisingly simple. I loved how each character played a significant part in the final conflict that played to their individual strengths. It took me weeks to get through the first half of the book, but I flew through the second half in a couple of days because I could not put it down.

The revelations about unspace were a highlight of the book for me. The intense exploration of this realm led to some breathtaking imagery and the tackling of incredibly powerful themes. I particularly liked how the author explored how people in power often use fear to keep their place at the center of things. Despite really liking the answers about unspace, I didn’t exactly love how they were revealed. Idris just kept getting random revelations without any real explanation of how he figured things out. The logic and science of it all felt super fuzzy even when the final answers made sense. I wish the author had spent a bit more time explaining how Idris did the things he did and less time on the infighting in the first half of the book.

Despite my grumblings, this book, and the series as a whole, was a solid space opera with a lot to love. If you enjoy sweeping science fiction with a variety of species, locales, infighting factions, and universe-level mysteries, this is a must read series. My complaints pale in comparison to the things I loved, and I definitely recommend this book and will be on the lookout for new work from this author. Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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