Adrian Tchaikovsky, Ogres, Rebellion Publishing, 2022.
It is no mystery that I often enjoy Tchaikovsky's stories and this very topical scifi novella is another one I was very happy to read.
You are the loveable rogue in your village. You're young, strong, cocky, and you'll become in time the head of the village, following in your father's footsteps. Until one day you commit the most unspeakable crime: you kill an ogre, your lord and master. Forced to flee, you'll discover the world is more than your simple rural life.
As you can see, Ogres is a second-person narrative. It's a choice you'll adhere to or not. In the beginning, it gives the novella a kind of Fighting Fantasy adventure feel, reinforced by the setting because Tchaikovsky shrouds the genre in ambiguity at first.
That second-person narrative didn't entirely work for me because it didn't give me a grasp on the main character, but I was happy to keep reading to find out about the world.
This is where Ogres really came into its own for me. Tchaikovsky seamlessly takes us from the rural setting to the wider world, and revelations about it.
The novella will feel acutely, painfully topical to many people, and in particular to people from the UK. Ogres is both about climate change and class warfare, while also dealing about hero worship and leadership. Some readers might very well see links with Legend by David Gemmel or Animal Farm by George Orwell.
Having recently read another novel that left me very disappointed in its treatment of class conflicts, I was extremely happy by this one which painted a more accurate and believable picture in so few pages.
All in all, Ogres is a quick read, but one which packs a punch. It enters with ease a conversation with other political fictions while remaining a well told and well paced story. As we enter some frightening times, this novella might prove exactly the story you need to read.
Disclaimer: a free copy was received but with no obligation attached to review it. Thank you to Rebellion Publishing!
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All reviews are spoiler free unless explicitly stated otherwise.
I only review stories I have liked even if my opinion may be nuanced. It doesn't apply for the "Novels published before 1978" series of blog posts.
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