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Monday, March 14, 2022

Book review: Ogres by Adrian Tchaikovsky

 


Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adrian Tchaikovsky was born in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire before heading off to Reading to study psychology and zoology. For reasons unclear even to himself he subsequently ended up in law and has worked as a legal executive in both Reading and Leeds, where he now lives. Married, he is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor, has trained in stage-fighting, and keeps no exotic or dangerous pets of any kind, possibly excepting his son. Catch up with Adrian at www.shadowsoftheapt.com for further information about both himself and the insect-kinden, together with bonus material including short stories and artwork. Author Website:

Publisher: Solaris (March 15, 2022) Length: 144 pages Cover art: Sam Gretton


OVERVIEW: Adrian Tchaikovsky is a machine. He writes one excellent book after another, and it's getting difficult to keep up with him. 
 
In Ogres, he delivers a thrilling dark satire told (successfully!) in 2nd person POV. At over six feet tall, Torquell is a giant, bigger than any human around. Compared to Ogres, though, he's punny. Ogres tower over everyone thanks to genetic modification. 

I'm not sure if I should tell you anything more about the plot, as the mystery of what is going on is at the heart of the book. Suffice to say, Torquell gets on the wrong side of his Ogre landlord and finds himself on the run. He soon learns who made the ogres, and how did they become lords of all creation.

Ogres is a future dystopia about power imbalance. It shows the far future, generations after attempting to "manage" the human crisis of overpopulation and shortage of resources. There's a twist, of course, and a bitter look at humanity's worst impulses. Nevertheless, Tchaikovsky's sharp social commentary is brutally logical and on point. And rather uncomfortable.

The second-person narration works surprisingly well; readers won't know (or guess) who speaks to Torquell until the last page, and the reveal is well worth it.  Such narration choice emphasized the "you are there" effect. I can't guarantee everyone will like it, but I loved it and hope others will, too.

CONCLUSION: Ogres is a fun, thought-provoking novella with excellent pacing, a terrifying world, and memorable characters. Do I really have to say more than read this book, read it now?

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