“Elder Race” by Adrian Tchaikovsky

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a book review. As usual, life has been busy, so there has been less time to work on them. But I’d love for this to be the year in which I complete reviewing all the books I read in it. That has never happened for me before. There’s always a spillover into the new year because I procrastinate on chatting about what I read. I try to review everything I read in the order I read them. But that hasn’t been the case this year.

The order in which I review things this year has been as haphazard as my reading. The result is that I now have six books to review that range from completion in early April (about seven months ago!) to just a few weeks ago. That means I’m foggy on the details on some of the books I’ll try to wrap up in the coming weeks, but I’ll try my best, of course.


Sci-Fi; Fantasy





My thoughts

This is the one I completed back in early April, about seven months ago! And although I haven’t read as many books this year as I’ve done in previous years, I’m finding it hard to recall some of the details of this story. All I remember now is that I enjoyed what I read, had a wonderful time with this book, and consider it one of the best books I’ve read this year.

What is it about? It’s a sci-fi/fantasy novella about Lynesse, the fourth daughter of a queen, who embarks on a quest to seek the help of Nyrgoth Elder, a sorcerer who’s the last of the ancient race, to defeat a demon terrorizing the land. It’s also about an anthropologist, Nyrgoth Elder, who was sent to a distant planet to study (but not interact with) the people there. Nyrgoth arrived on the planet with fellow scientists, but a threat back home called the others away. He was left alone for many years and eventually his loneliness drove him to break the rules of his profession and help the locals. (Goodreads)

That’s the gist of it. The amazing thing is that the character’s perspective you’re reading from — Lyn or Nyr — determines the type of story you’re reading — fantasy or sci-fi. From Lyn’s perspective, we get a traditional fantasy quest where the hero goes against the rules to gain the help of a sorcerer who can help her people. But from Nyr’s perspective, you get the story of a scientist trying to accept that he is the last of his kind on a foreign planet (possibly in the universe), wondering if his friends and fellow scientists will ever return for him, and trying to come to terms with the identity the locals have given him, that of sorcerer, despite his many attempts to explain that he is a scientist and that the wonders he works are actually purely scientific.

My favorite parts of the novella are when we are able to read from both characters’ POVs at once. Basically the page is divided into two columns. In one column, we read the situation from Lyn’s POV and in the other, we read the same situation from Nyr’s, and we get to see how two people can undergo the same incident but walk away with different opinions and experiences of it. Other parts I enjoyed are Nyr’s exploration of his emotions. Or rather his avoidance of them to stave off his depression.

I’m only able to recall large swaths rather than details, so unfortunately I’m unable to share much more than this. But if what I’ve said here piqued your interest and you’d like to know more before reading the book, check out Lisa’s review, which is what led me to add the book to my TBR, buy and read it.

Overall: ★★★★★

It’s a good read with lots packed into just under 200 pages. It’s certainly one of my favorite books of the year.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

Quotes from the book

“I feel as though the emotional parts of my mind are like a cellar in which I have locked dead things, and when I open the door … maggots, carrion flies, flooding out.”

“Because myths miss out all the sordid realities and preserve only What we wish we’d done, rather than How we actually did it.”

“How much worse to think yourself wise, and still be as ignorant as one who knew themselves a fool?”

“Magic is just the secret ways of the world.”


19 thoughts on ““Elder Race” by Adrian Tchaikovsky

    1. Thanks!
      And I get that. That happens for me too. In those cases, I end up lumping several reviews together. Other times I think I don’t have much to say and surprise myself by writing a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Very glad to see how much you enjoyed it. I also loved this one. It’s so jam packed for such a short book. And when I say jam packed, not to overfilling, but just right. I’m impressed you go back and review these older ones. I’ve had times when I left things that long and just gave up on reviewing them. 🙂


    1. I agree with you about it being jam packed but not overflowing. Tchaikovsky managed so much in it. It’s one I’d love to read again.
      Lol! Sometimes I feel like not bothering with reviewing those for which a lot of time has passed, but I know my future self will be super annoyed about it, lol.


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