- The Doors of Eden.
- Adrian Tchaikovsky.
- 608 pages.
- Science Fiction.
- My Rating: Hellyeah Book Review.
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.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Lee and Mal are nineteen-year-old university students and childhood friends turned lovers who share a love for cryptozoology and the unknown. The pair are cryptid-hunters, enthusiasts of the unexplained and the weird who are fascinated by anything that is not of this world. Together they go on expeditions, holidays to sights of both less well-known and legendary cryptid sightings searching for proof of the fabled monsters of myth and legend.
Mal finds a YouTube video of a remote farm on Bodmin Moor with a cryptid sighting. It could be a hoax, most uploaded videos are, but there’s something about the sighting, the video and the uncommon type of cryptid that the clip ‘supposedly‘ shows that makes Mal believe that it could also be genuine. Intrigued and eager to investigate further Mal persuades Lee that Bodmin Moor should be their holiday destination so that they can explore the area and uncover the truth behind the sighting of the mysterious ‘Birdman of Bodmin‘.
While exploring the Moor, Lee and Mal come across a local landmark and inadvertently fall through a crack between worlds, crossing from out of our world and into another. The pair passed through an ancient doorway, one moment they were on Bodmin Moor and then, the next, they weren’t. Gone were the Moors and in their place, the two girls were staring out at a view of an alien world. The expedition to Bodmin Moor ends in tragedy and only Lee returns. Mal is left behind and lost to the other world. It is four years since Mal went missing and then, out of nowhere Lee receives a phone call from her, a phone call that leaves no record and no trace. It is like Mal has reached out from across the void to contact her.
The strange appearances and the cryptid sightings that have occurred throughout the years are creatures that have either accidentally passed through from their own world or, have purposefully visited our world. There have also been strange disappearances and reappearances, people, like Mal who vanished into thin air and then reappeared years later passing through from ‘here’ to ‘there’ and the reverse passing back from ‘there’ through to ‘here’. The incidents are isolated and rare, individual cryptids and the occasional human, but more and more cracks appearing, cracks that are widening, the walls are breaking down and the boundaries between worlds are collapsing, fracturing and tearing apart. Our Earth is in danger, the fate of our world at stake and so too is the fate of all the other alternate Earths that are out there. Every Earth in the multiverse is heading towards total annihilation and destruction where everything will fade to nothing, stop being and simply cease to exist.
The Doors of Eden is told through multiple POV that weave together multiple threads to create a spectacular interwoven tapestry. Alongside Lee and Mal other characters include Julian Sabreur a secret service agent for MI5, Alison Matchell an intelligence analyst for MI5, Lucas May ex-army and now a henchman who works in private security for the firm Rove Denton that is owned by the villain of the story Daniel Rove and Dr Kay Amal Khan a theoretical mathematician and physicist. Kay, a trans person was a personal favourite character of mine with the prejudice that she suffers, how she deals with it and her acerbic, sarcastic and forthright manner. Another couple of characters who I haven’t mentioned for fear of spoiling parts of the story, but who deserve a name check in my review are Stig and then, Dr Rat who, along with his translator is awesome.
There is plenty of room for characterisation alongside the accomplished storytelling that is on display within the pages of The Doors of Eden. While some of the characters have far more page-time than others and far larger roles to play all of them whether they are human, non-human/not-quite-human and the creatures who are just as humane and in some cases even more so than the human characters are all given the opportunity to shine and enough time to show their true colours regardless of their outside appearance.
Featured alongside the story in The Doors of Eden are interludes, excerpts from the book ‘Other Edens: Speculative Evolution and Intelligence by Professor Ruth Emerson‘ that are spread at intervals throughout the story. The excerpts are akin to an included companion piece that is connected to and is important in gaining a deeper understanding of the unfolding story. As you progress further into the book the excerpts start to make more sense and they begin to fit into place as you realise the significance that they have, their importance and their relevance to the story. With the excerpts that focus on biological development, evolution and history (and some of the bold ideas and high-level science mentioned during the story itself too) there are times where you definitely need to give The Doors of Eden your full and undivided attention. However, even with my own lack of scientific know-how what I was reading while being complex never felt overwhelming or like I was being dragged under and swept away on the undertow. If anything I was invested and totally transfixed by it all.
Everything about The Doors of Eden from the fleshed-out and diverse characters with their own personalities, flaws, fears, strengths and various relationships at play, to the intelligent and expansive story that crosses worlds and spans timelines, to the descriptive writing, to the vivid imagery, to the clever and deep storytelling, to Tchaikovsky’s own very impressive weird and wondrous imagination (rat-creatures, tribes of nomadic bird-like dinosaurs, advanced neanderthals, living giant centipede/woodlouse trilobite ships amongst others) and finally through to the richly detailed and stunning world-building is absolutely stellar.
The Doors of Eden combines elements of sci-fi, portal fantasy, action-adventure and hints of a thriller to create a rewarding and immersive reading experience that is clever, compelling and entertaining.
Purchase The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky.
Follow The Tattooed Book Geek: