Release Date: May 12th 2020
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars
A thrilling new limited-edition hardcover concerning class and climate change from Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author Adrian Tchaikovsky.
Firewalkers are brave. Firewalkers are resourceful. Firewalkers are expendable.
The Earth is burning. Nothing can survive at the Anchor; not without water and power. But the ultra-rich, waiting for their ride off the dying Earth? They can buy water. And as for power?
Well, someone has to repair the solar panels, down in the deserts below.
Kids like Mao, and Lupé, and Hotep; kids with brains and guts but no hope.
Firewalkers is the bleak and harrowing tale of a world in which Earth is burning, with very little water left. Very little is able to survive, but the rich are able to ascend to ships that have everything they could ever need. While they wait they remain at the luxurious hotel, able to buy water and live and peace. Mao and his team of Firewalkers are tasked with ensuring the solar panels continue to function, to keep the rich people happy. But as the venture into the burning deserts, they find that there’s much more out there than broken solar panels.
This novella might only be 200 pages, but it packs a punch. It’s a fast paced tale that doesn’t let up the entire time. I read it in a day, but I thought about it for a long time afterwards. Touching on themes like class, climate change and the power of technology, Firewalkers is certainly a book that will give you food for thought. With many of the themes being incredibly relatable, it makes for a gripping read. It’s a cleverly woven tale, and one that I think fans of Tchaikovsky will absolutely love.
The characters were really fascinating in this book and despite it being a short read you get to know them really well and are rooting for their survival. Mao, Lupe and Hotep make a brilliant team and I loved seeing them work together to survive the dangers of the desert.
The story does have quite a bleak outlook, with our main protagonists being made to risk their lives to keep the rich in comfort. The story does also have some pretty creepy moments, featuring some monstrous beasties as well as an ominous AI. Firewalkers is a brilliant read, and I can’t wait to pick up more from Adrian Tchaikovsky.