I got this book as a present from my dad. Whenever I get gifted a book, I try not to look at the summary on the back and just go in blind. That’s what I did with Children of Time.
All I knew going in was that it was a Sci-Fi story about evolution. And it was! Children of Time is unlike most novels precisely because of this focus on evolution. While we do follow a couple of specific characters from the start to the end of the book, this is only the case for one half of the cast: the humans. The other half of the cast are spiders.
It feels a bit like a spoiler to say that in a review, but I feel that it’s extremely relevant because of two reasons. One: if you hate spiders, as many people do, this book may not be for you. However, the second reason is that Children of Time is a fascinating exploration of what a society of spiders may look like, had they evolved in a similar way to humans.
I’m not a huge fan of spiders myself. I like the idea of them, but I like to keep some distance between us, generally. However, I really enjoyed the spider chapters in Children of Time. They offer some extremely fun world-building and surprisingly believable characters.
I wasn’t as much of a fan of the characters on the human side, but the writing was solid and both sides of the story made sense, in a way. I think it would be easy in a story like this to paint one side as the “bad guys” which doesn’t really happen here.
One thing I wasn’t counting on but I feel I should warn readers for is the fact that this is part of a series. It’s definitely readable as a stand-alone, and the ending is satisfying enough for me (though I can also imagine people disagreeing very strongly on this). Still, around halfway through I started to feel like I was reading a prequel for another story. It’s very much a story of “how we ended up in this situation”. I was expecting the ship to land at some point, and for there to be genuine conflict between the spiders and the humans, but that’s not really what this book is about. Children of Time focuses mostly on the evolution of the spiders, and the struggles of humanity trying to survive in a time where Earth is no longer inhabitable.
While I really did enjoy this book, I didn’t find myself running to the store to buy the sequel. Most of the story is neatly tied up at the end of the book, albeit very hastily. I’m still unsure whether I think that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Overall I would definitely recommend Children of Time! Especially if you like Hard Science Fiction, good world-building and, of course, spiders.