Hullo, lovely people! It’s time to do something I really mean to make a habit of – have meant to, for an entire year! It’s not gone well.
Anyway: Trope Check returns for Eyes of the Void, following a year-long hiatus after the first book in The Final Architecture was released. I’ll do a list of ten, as I did last time. Disclaimer: this is obviously just for fun; tropes are patterns that you can find in any story; any good piece of literature—as Eyes of the Void is—transcends these patterns to create a rich, intricate world. It is, however, a joy to explore patterns, isn’t it? Our minds work so well at discovering them, we often find patterns where there are none.
You’ve got the spoiler-free review of Void here. From this point hence, we’ve got a ridiculous amount of spoilers ahead!
#01. Honor Before Reason: The crew of the Vulture God is full of goody two-shoes (Olli excluded, Olli hasn’t got a moral bone in her body) who get to choose ethics over self-preservation a little too often. Solas and her Partheni sisters could have killed the squad of Voyenni chasing them down to Criccieth’s Hell. Solas, instead, chooses to act human, leaving the surrendered Voyenni alive. This costs Idris a hand after one of the thugs grabs and attempts to extract him—a mission all the more futile, we as readers know, because Ollie has chosen to invert this trope and slaughter a good part of the Raptorid’s muscle. Likewise, Kris literally stabs her blade into the throat of the Morzarin Ravin Okosh Uskaro but, upon realising what she’s done, does everything in her power to save him. And succeeds, despite how much that sunuvabiscuit deserves to die, gurgling on his own blood. You better deliver on a hell of a character arc for that one, Tchaikovsky… *murmurs incoherent threats*.
#02. Go Mad from the Revelation: Idris Telammier, everyone’s favourite serial kidnapping victim, learns a whole lot about unspace in this one. Plugged into a machine that allows him to map this alien realm, he goes a little whacky—and that’s putting it mildly: “the revelations within him were so vast there was barely room left in his blown-open mind for Idris” (370).
#03: Nigh-Invulnerability: Tothiats are humans grafted with alien parasites, forced into an agony of pain in return for being practically indestructible. The crew of the Vulture God had real trouble putting down the last Tothiat they ran into, but the ones here make him seem a push-over by comparison. They’re not fun friends to have, mental as they are, and they are far worse adversaries.
Until, that is, one of them gets…
#04. Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Tothiat Emmaneth’s final fate is horrific, isn’t it? After you read all about it, you just can’t look at radioactive death-flowers the same way.
For all that she meets her long-longed-for demise, you have to grant her that, Emmaneth was a…
#05. One-Man Army: The way she’d fly around, ripping Voyenni left and right, turning them to jelly—I’m sure a whole subsection of sci-fi fans will soon dream of being man-handled by her, and I may be one of them? We’ll never know, on that account.
My point is, the Tothiats’ whole deal is, theirs is a fate worse than death. So, take it from me, if somebody asks…
#06. Who Wants to Live Forever? Don’t raise your hand. You won’t enjoy how it turns out.
#07. Slavery Is a Different Kind of Evil. It’s underlined again and again how one of the better developed human colonies, Magda, has created its own little society based on slavery or something close enough to it, a novel mode of serfdom to warm your hearts and horrify you to no end. There’s something Russian (or Slavic) about it, too, with titles like “Mortzarin” which can be literally translated to something like “Deathking”. Can’t wait for the Architects to give that planet a touch up.
#08. Hidden Villain. Someone is pushing the Architects against intelligent spacefaring lifeforms. But who? Idris Telemmier dismisses one popular guess, and we are left wondering what malicious influence directs these alien lifeforms.
#09. Space Battle. You might want to put your seatbelts on, folks. The one that takes place above Arc Pallator is a wonder to behold, sure enough.
#10: Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Last time, I pointed this trope out:
“The Essiel fit well into this trope. The Hegemony seems to revolve around harmonic values and spirituality in ways that trigger all kinds of red flags. Worse yet, they can be scary, Scary, SCARY, and at least one of them is liable to sic nigh-immortal aliens on you.”
It bears repeating because the Essiel are even worse here, on account of showing how possessive they are of their culty little humans.When the Architects begin to turn Arc Pallator into jewelry, some human subjects of the Hegemony attempt to flee on one of the Hugh vessels investigating the Originator remnants that had so far spared the world.
The Essiel do not like that and destroy the Hegemony shuttle in an extreme show of force—all because the faithful proved faithless, the Essiel are more than willing to risk war with Hugh. As if things weren’t bloody enough before then…
My personal song of the book: https://open.spotify.com/track/3cCHSnRgPaZf9gWF8AQI3e?si=625dc7224f8448b4 (only because of the line “There’s an architect setting fire to her house”) But the song is called “Beware of the Dogs” so it might also be a great hymn for Tchaikovsky’s Dogs of War?