I did not expect this book to be this good.

Damn, this man writes some great stories. Shards of Earth is a Space Opera, complete with alien races, bickering humans and bad guys, but it’s all scenery for the real story, the crew of the Vulture God, who, through no fault of their own, get mixed up in some deep shit.

Many times throughout this story, I’ve taught to myself, this is the book I wanted The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet to have been. I still remember that one, vividly, but not fondly. I remember the cookie cutter, fisher-price crew with their “let’s all be friends” attitude and it still annoys me to this day. But Shards of Earth takes those same concepts, and makes them work. Not the “let’s all be friends”-attitude though. That one doesn’t fit with a bunch of rugged spacers, but there’s is a family feel to the crew. When they lost 2 of their own early on, it hit home for me. The same happened when Cpt. Rostand died. The trick to writing this believably, is to not shy away from the hard stuff, and Tchaikovsky nails that. I cared for every single one of these characters and I liked a great deal of their adversaries as well. A varied bunch, if ever there was one. But a cohesive bunch too.

This book has everything I wanted:

  • Great characters
  • Lot’s of different species & backgrounds
  • Some politics
  • Outstanding humor
  • Sadness
  • Spaaaaaace (and cool space ships)
  • Resolution

Shards of Earth is quite a hefty book, with the audiobook clocking in over 18 hours. The story makes some great twists and turns and you never have a clear idea of where it’s going. None of that detracts from the experience though, as I didn’t want it to end (luckily there’s 2 more books in this series). Not that it needs too, because Shards of Earth doesn’t end on a giant cliffhanger. Sure there’s still plenty of room for more story, but it also wraps up just enough that you can leave it at that, if you wish. Which I think is a nice touch.

--- ---