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Title: The Doors of Eden
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Published: 20th August 2020 – Tor
Format: Hardback – 608 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
I am very happy to be bringing you this review today, it’s a tad later than what I had intended but I’ve been so busy lately that I really needed to take my time with it. I was lucky enough to receive a finished copy of The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky from the publisher, so thank you very much, Stephen Haskins, @JamieLeeNardone and Tor Books for sending me this book, it was such a lovely surprise! All opinions are my own!
Now, you know I’m not a massive science-fiction reader because I personally don’t have a mathematical or scientific mind, so quite a fair bit of science-fiction can go over my head if I’m not fully engaged or the plot isn’t gripping me, but this was a really interesting and maybe a bit dense for me but overall really enjoyable foray into science fiction! Keep reading for my thoughts on this book!
They thought we were safe. They were wrong.
Four years ago, two girls went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor. Only one came back. Lee thought she’d lost Mal, but now she’s miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has she been all this time? Mal’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 officers either, and Lee isn’t the only one with 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 crash open, anything could come through.
The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky is a science fiction book which really took me by surprise and was completely different to anything I had ever read, anything I had ever thought about, and quite frankly the plot has me thinking really hard about our world an evolution. This is probably not going to make much sense to anyone who hasn’t read this book, and I’ll do my best with my not very scientific-mathematical-brain but here goes! So, in this world/setting, there is our planet/Earth that we know and live on presently, but there are also parallel worlds in which everything that evolved and died out on our world is still living in their own but have continued to evolve like us, and there are also completely new things! Does that make sense? It was kind of complicated for me to wrap my brain around this as I haven’t really read that much science fiction and this is my first “evolutionary science” or should I say “alternate evolutionary science” book.
This book started out really well, sometimes with science-fiction I do struggle a bit getting into them because it’s just something so far away from what I know and read. It’s actually fairly hard to believe from a very very big fantasy fan reading the most far-fetched books, but I think that the idea of actual scientific possibilities behind plots such as this one scare me a bit. Now that I have finished this book, I’m not as scared and I’m actually fairly awed at how the author was able to craft such a unique plot with such authentic details and events, it really is such a thought-out and intelligent novel!
I’m blathering a little bit, so sorry about that, but this review is quite hard for me to read as I’ve still not got my head around the book. There are some chapters in the book that are excerpts from a University Professor from California, and my naïve mind thought it was true extracts to start with, but then I started to understand that it had been crafted for the book, and once you get to the end and realise how everything comes together, it’s such a great “wow” feeling, I was basically a bit knocked about by then.
I suppose you could say that this book demands quite a lot of concentration, I mean, it did from me, aha! But once you are concentrated and so much is going in because it’s very dense and there are so many scientific, mathematical and other references that do go over my head a little bit, but then when everything is brought together in the last 70-odd pages, you can’t read fast enough because it’s like “WHAT THE HELL?” I’m making a right hash of this review, aren’t I?
The characters were something that I really enjoyed from this book, and I have to say that maybe the reason I rated this one down a touch was because I’m a plot and character-driven reader, that’s what I like, and I love me some fantastic world-building which it had, but I found it a little flowery and dense for my liking. I wouldn’t say it’s flowery writing as such but more… intense, if that makes sense. So, we have Mal, Lee, Lucas, Rove, Alison, Julian, Kay and a few more that start off in their own chapters and I thought it would all be parallel stories, but once they all came together, it was so intriguing and really pushed up my involvement in the book.
I think my favourites were Mal, Lee, Kay and Julian, there was something about these four that I really liked, they are so unique and they all have big personalities. Despite how dense this book was and maybe my concentrating fluctuating quite a lot during my reading of it, I never got mixed up with the characters and I literally felt like they were right next to me, so I have to applaud the author for making such relatable, real, palpable characters because it helped me (a lot) with understanding and enjoying this story!
For me personally, I think the pacing is a little tiny bit patchy, I like chapters that are on the shorter side because they really keep me invested and make me want to say “just one more chapter” and sometimes I pushed through but did struggle a bit. They aren’t particularly massive chapters, but their density and intensity should I say sometimes weighed the story down for me, even though this book literally never stopped moving and was fast-paced and action-packed from start to finish. The little chapters in between by the Professor cut me out of the book a few times, but as I was getting into the book and understanding it more, I did find these really helpful and actually quite suspenseful actually.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATINGS
I don’t think that my review makes much sense because I’ve been blathering on for ages, but that surely must show how my brain has been turned inside out by this book! Do not go into this book thinking it’s just going to be some quick, light diversion because it’s really not. I needed to put all my focus into the story, the characters, the science and the maths and the (for my part) a little unbelievable aspects, which actually don’t seem anywhere near as unbelievable to me now I’ve closed the book.
Sometimes when you read a book, you don’t really want to have to think, you want it there, to project an image into your brain and just entertain you effortlessly, this book is nothing like that (in my opinion), BUT, because of this, I found it just that bit more enjoyable. I really like books that need my brain and concentration and all my knowledge to really understand what’s going on, for instance, Les Misérables was such a brain sap to me, but I absolutely adored it and it has become one if not MY favourite book. This is akin to Les Mis because of how massively brain sapping it was to me, as a not (at all) scientifically/mathematically minded person, but that’s okay because I know when I reread it, I’ll get a completely different analysis and view of it.
If you’re still here, I salute you, because I’m nearly done aha! Overall, this book was A LOT, I can 10000% see how a total science-fiction fan would absolutely adore this book, be hooked, read it in a few days and rave over it for the end of time, I can see it, but unfortunately, I’m not at that point just yet. I did really enjoy it, it was so engaging, so intelligent, so new, diverse, complex, action-packed, it was just a bit, wow, and I have to say that it was a great choice for me to push myself out of my comfort zone.
I gave this book 4 stars (you can find my ASPECTS rating breakdown below), I really enjoyed it, there were just a few tiny little things that stopped me from giving it 5 stars. I did struggle a little bit and had to go back a few times, that’s on me though, I don’t get science so I was a bit swamped at times and just sort of swimming on the surface instead of being able to dive in. The pacing was a little slow and came across a little clunky in my opinion, the “essay” chapters were really hard on me at the start but then I suddenly GOT THEM and it changed the game. I mean, this book has a lot of things, a great plot, a great cast of characters that all come together to do something amazing (not going to spoil you, you really do need to read it to find out) and it required a lot of me, my focus, my brain, but once I closed it, I got the kind of feeling that my brain had imploded.
Will it turn into a comfort read? Maybe not, but I am definitely, 100%, absolutely going to reread this when I have time to give it and concentration because it needs it, it deserves it because it’s brilliant and I’m sure that my next read will afford me such a new look and understanding. I will be picking up more books by this author, I really loved his work here, it was fresh to me and I just bloody loved it. If this blabber sounds like something you would like or if you’re a science-fiction reader, I would recommend this, completely and utterly to you!
Thank you again to Stephen, Jamie-Lee and the publisher for sending me the beautiful physical copy, this was such a great opportunity!
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post and survived to tell the tale, see you soon, stay safe,
Atmosphere – 7.5
Start – 8
Pacing – 6
Ending – 6
Characters – 6.5
Theme – 7
Style – 6
Total = 47
If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK – Amazon FR – Amazon US – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Audible FR (affiliate link) – Waterstones – Barnes and Noble – Audible UK – Kobo