I finished Children of Ruin last night. It was a bit of a battle by the end. The latter half lost all pace and I struggled to maintain my interest sufficiently to finish it.
The second book lacks the electricity of the first, and the rhythm of the story is more of a heart attack towards the end. Moments stretch out for chapters, and generations last paragraphs. I even re-read the last chapter, worried that I'd absently skimmed something important; but no, it was just extremely hurried, for whatever reason.
I'm not relieved to be finished, but I'm happy to be onto something else. I'll certainly pick up Children of Memory when the paperback is released.
I have previously torn through trilogies as a single volume - The Fifth Season; Ancillary Justice, move into their next volumes as naturally as a new chapter, but the Children books reset to their original timeline and follow a fresh branching path. It's not a terrible structure for a trilogy but it has felt quite repetitive thus far. The same story being told from a different viewpoint, in a different medium; the end of each strand converging to fall back and be re-woven into a new thread. It's elegant in principle but, in practice, I think I'd have benefitted from more of a break. I was excited. We all make mistakes, especially when driven by emotion.
I've moved onto Too Like the Lightning, which was briefly everywhere on my radar, and is now not. But it was there just enough to grab my interest, and at just the moment where I had some Amazon voucher balance to use.
I'm two chapters in, and the world-building is incredible. Scope is such an inconsistent concept in storytelling because Children is set in solar-systems over the course of thousands of years, and I don't think there was ever a point that any of it was as detailed as the first chapters of Lightning. It's not problematic or anything, but it is noticeable. I feel like I've physically inhabited Lightning's world, but I feel like Children is just something I've read about. I'm excited by Lightning in a way I never was about Children.
Kate Bush - Cloudbusting