Ogres By Adrian Tchaikovsky
Book/Novel Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Book/Novel Title: Ogres
Ogres are bigger than you.Ogres are stronger than you.Ogres rule the world.It’s always idyllic in the village until the landlord comes to call.Because the landlord is an Ogre. And Ogres rule the world, with their size and strength and appetites. It’s always been that way. It’s the natural order of the world. And they only eat people sometimes.But when the headman’s son, Torquell, dares lift his hand against the landlord’s son, he sets himself on a path to learn the terrible truth about the Ogres, and about the dark sciences that ensured their rule.
Ogres mixes a dystopian world with bits of other genres like science fiction and a medieval fantasy and its not clear at first where it’s going. At first, it is like a feudal system as the general populace toil and live simply, but give a large portion of their goods to their overlords, the Ogres. As it unfolds, there are a couple events that take it in an unexpected direction, and our protagonist is thrust into a world unlike any he could have imagined. Interesting and inventive, and a fun read.
While I like the plot, I found the writing style to be odd. The narrative felt rushed and there were parts of the story where I wasn’t sure what was going on. Also the ending left a lot to be desired
I’m already a fan of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s writing from some of his SF work, but when it comes to fairy tales I tend to be pretty hesitant, so the opening to this novella had me very leery. But I kept at it, and boy was it worth it. A fantastic read that keeps up a solid pace and plenty of turns that are thought provoking and significantly deepen the story. Very worth the full price of admission. I’ll have to grab a hardcover for my collection. This is one to re-read. The POV was fantastic here. Really enjoyed the narration and the use of 2nd person POV (I really enjoy good examples of this to use it against the naysayers –> 2nd person is so so so useful and engaging and here is yet another example of that).Don’t miss out. This is definitely a read you want to dive into. Note: I read an advanced copy from NetGalley and am very thankful for that. Still hoping to snag copy of the hardcover though. It was that good!
Interesting premise ruined by a terribly awkward narrative style. I kept reading to see if there was a point to how he chose to tell the story, but it was pointless. I give him credit for trying something different, but it doesn’t work.
The beginning of “Ogres” by Adrian Tchaikovsky seems like a fantasy. Ogres are the masters in this society, which at first seems feudal with humans as the underlings, servants, and slaves living in the country on farms or hiding in the woods.When the masters, an ogre and his son, arrive at the village leader’s farm in a modern vehicle, the idea of a fantasy setting shifts.Events change Tocqueville’s circumstances. He finds himself in a modern city, where humans work as servants, factory workers, etc., while the wealthy, ruling class Ogres live in luxury.From this point forward, the story feels like a post-apocalyptic science fiction novella with a clear dystopian slant. The helicopter on the cover is a clue to genre that I overlooked.As the story progresses, the reader learns more and more about the present and past of this society. I’m not going into detail because “spoilers.”What I liked:I was excited about this story because I’ve wanted to read an Adrian Tchaikovsky book.Here’s a look into the heart of the story:“But when you’re property, it doesn’t matter if your owner treats you well or badly. The ownership is all. We don’t split hairs about who is a better slave master. And you would have been the best owner of all, and that still isn’t enough reason to keep you alive once you’ve decided that owning people is fine, just so long as it’s you that owns them.”This is a story about the enslavement of the lower class and the oppression, brutality, bigotry, and racism that accompanies slavery.The book takes many twists and turns, and has a bit of a surprise ending; however, if a reader pays attention, the ending isn’t quite so surprising. Rather it’s another twist and makes sense.The protagonist’s name is Tocqueville, which clearly references the comte de Tocqueville, the French aristocrat who wrote “Democracy in America” after touring the USA in the 1830s and 40s. The name also hints at what’s coming in the novella and throws a little humor into a story that is often bleak.What I Wasn’t Crazy About:I don’t like second person point of view, and the only reason I finished the book is because I’ve been wanting to read this author for a long time. So I pushed onward. To give Tchaikovsky another chance, I bought one of his other books, which is written in third person.My biggest issue with the second person is I cannot get lost in the story, and I’m always aware of the storytelling and the storyteller.Although a lot happened, the pacing felt slow and sometime tedious. To be fair, I believe those two critiques come from my strong dislike of the point of view.Recommendation:If you don’t mind the second person point of view (“you” rather than “he” or “she” or “I”) give this book a try. The story is worth reading and perfect for the moment with authoritarianism on the rise.If you don’t care for second person narratives, go into the story knowing what to expect. “Ogres” is worthwhile and thought provoking.I’d like to thank NetGalley for an ARC copy of “Ogres”!