They thought we were safe. They were wrong.
Lee and Mal went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor four years ago, and only Lee came back. She thought she’d lost Mal forever, now miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has Mal been all this time? Mal’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 either, and their officers also have 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 come crashing open, anything could come through.
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Narrator: Sophie Aldred
Audio Release Date: 20/08/2020
Running Time: 18hrs 2mins
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating of ‘The Doors of Eden’: 1 out of 5
I really struggled to finish this. And by struggled, I mean I got to within spitting distance of the end and thought ‘it can’t possibly get any weirder or more bizarre’ only for it to ramp up the weirdness and bizarreness. I nearly quit when I was 95% through. That’s how much of a chore this was. I almost didn’t care about wasting a good chunk of time and just throwing it aside.
Which came as a massive surprise to me as I had this pegged as being an awesome book. The way it started had me incredibly intrigued but, as soon as the unexplained side of it got explained and so in your face it was impossible to care any more, I just wanted it to end. But, it’s a long book. So that didn’t happen.
One issue with The Doors of Eden is the characters. None of them feel fleshed out, none of them feel like they have more than one character trait (so practically zero depth). They all walk into their first scene about as fleshed out and fully-formed as they’re going to get over the lengthy course of this book. Which is an absolute shame. The author attempted to shake things up by adding some diverse characters (we had a lesbian couple and a transgender character who, honest to God, tried to explain what being transgender was to a different species who had zero interest in conversing with her). Sadly, I don’t feel the diversification was done very well. Due to the ‘none of the characters get any character’ aspect, they genuinely felt as though they were there more to tick some diversity boxes than actually represent diverse members of the reading audience. Either that or to give the bigot antagonist someone to direct slurs at.
Another issue is the pacing. Everything just started to happen. And it was all over the place and made zero sense. The strange assortment of creatures that occurred throughout made it feel like the characters were stumbling across bizarre Dungeons & Dragons encounters rather than anything that made logical sense to what was happening at the time.
Nothing was properly explained, either. Things were just rolling on and the reader/listener was supposed to just take it, run with it, enjoy it and love it. I took it. But I did not frolic with enjoyment. I trudged on with the plodding gait of a man who is in the midst of a snowstorm, is miles from home but knows he just has to keep going because there’s warmth and all good things waiting for him when he comes in from the cold. Finishing this was my ‘coming in from the cold’ moment, and I feel glorious.
I also felt the ending just added nothing. It felt like a very nothing ending. I kept telling myself ‘this will tie up really nicely. Just keep going.’ But I feel like it didn’t and that the ending we got wasn’t really worth the journey we took to get there.
All in all, Tchaikovsky seems to be a very 30%/70% author for me and I think I just need to accept that he isn’t for me going forward. I genuinely love the premise of his works, but the execution is rarely matching the promise of what might lurk between the covers.
The overall narration was ok. Really enjoyed her voice for the most part. A couple of the characters were a bit … over-dramatic/not great and the attempt at an American accent for the interludes was a bit cringy. Had to skip those parts.