Happypotamus Crochet Pattern

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After finishing the Lord of the Rings scarf I was entirely sure what I wanted to make. I partly wanted to do something different, or do some stash busting. Stash busting won out, but I also tried something different. I decided to tackle some crochet, and if you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that it’s not something I do very often. I’ve come to this very simple conclusion as to why: with knitting there’s only two stitches, it’s what you do with them that makes the piece. With crochet there seems to be an infinite amount of stitches and things to do with. Plus, I think I struggle to pick up the language with it which frustrates me.

However, I decided to do some crochet. My friend gifted me the Happypotamus pattern by Heidi-bears, available on Ravelry. I read through a lot of the project pages before I decided to dive in. Many people said it was their first crochet project – how? I thought! I gave it a go. The first few motifs I made didn’t quiet work out right:

They were to tight, and were curling up. Plus, they were a bit round.


Once I watched this video though, that all changed:

I made a few modifications to how the video did things, like less chain stitches between the dcs.

I didn’t realise initially that I wasn’t supposed to put the final round on – even though I had read it earlier in the pattern – because I was looking at the pictures rather than the writing. I felt super silly once I realised that – but luckily hadn’t gone too far into the motifs to worry about changing the putting together.

After a while I did find making the flowers a bit boring, but I persevered and had all of them ready in no time. Putting him together was fairly straightforward as well – follow the pattern step by step and it get’s you there. I slip stitched the flowers that I’d put the additional rounds on to make life easier and to reduce the seam/make it less bulky.

I love how he’s turned out, what do you think? I’m going to make more of these for sure!

Kialtho

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Lord of the Rings scarf

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I completely forgot to write a blog about my most recent knitting project! To be fair, it is a pretty simple scarf, but it’s also pretty nerdy so deserves to be shared.

My first knitting project was a Hufflepuff scarf for Alex. I then made another when the first one was stolen as it had been left in a car that was stolen. Recently, Alex asked me to make him a new scarf, but a slightly lighter weighted one as the Hufflepuff one is too warm for him. [It had been really cold, you would think that he would have been happy!]

So I went and made something Lord of the Rings themed. I haven’t read the books, and I also haven’t really paid attention to the films – even though I have seen some of them, I couldn’t really tell you what it’s about except… you know, a ring, a quest, save the world type stuff. I would like to read the books one day, but it’s not something that I plan to rush into.

So here it is:

The Elvish is the poem for ‘one ring to rule them all’, and the other end has the Tree of Gondor. I put it in as I didn’t want the end to be blank. I know red isn’t the traditional colour for the Tree but it had to match the Elvish which I thought was a nice contrasting colour.

I used Women’s Institute yarn for this project. Literally my go to yarn, especially the 4ply version. It is soft, silky, and has a really good drape, especially when it’s had heat applied to it.

This only took a couple of weeks to make – I was impressed with my own speed on this one.

My current project is crochet, so it’s going to be interesting to see if I can finish it. It’s my third crochet project ever so… we shall see.

This is only a short and sweet one today – hopefully I’ll have my crochet done soon so that I can share that as well!

Kialtho

Comedic Happenings… AKA Taskmaster Live Recording and Russell Howard Live

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It was my birthday this week. Whilst I don’t usually broadcast this fact because, well, I just don’t [must be the introvert in me] I did want to share some of my week with you. Mainly because it has been really quite interesting! Let me start by saying  that I usually book a week off work around my birthday as I don’t usually know what to do with my holiday. It’s rare that Alex and I will go away – cost is the main factor there, and now that we have Artie as well, it would make going away a little more difficult. When we’re off we usually do things like go to the zoo, maybe go to London. [We did that, but I’ll get to that later].

Taskmaster

This week started by doing something that I’ve never done before! We went to see a live recording of a TV show called Taskmaster. I’ve never done anything like that before, and it was so interesting to see what happens when a show is being made. For this we went to Pinewood Studios in Slough [which I am sure is very near the Harry Potter Studio tour]. We chose to drive on this occasion which ultimately worked out easier for us. It took a little over an hour to get there which wasn’t too bad at all, and traffic had been quite calm as well. We chose to leave as early as possible, even if it mean waiting around a bit as the tickets are done in a first come first served basis [as they are free, the tickets are over subscribed to allow for no shows etc]. We were a good two hours early, but actually it was worth being early as the waiting area filled up really quickly around 4 o’clock. What was cool, and unexpected was that they gave out free beer to the people who were waiting. [I don’t drink, so it was a bit redundant for me].

Here’s a quick rundown of what Taskmaster is: Comedian Greg Davies sets the comedians tasks to do, and whoever does it the best/quickest wins points for that task. The comedians takings part in this series were Hugh Dennis, Mel Geidroyc, Noel Fielding, Lolly Adefope, and Joe Lycett. The comedians taking part changes in each series and it’s definitely interesting to see who does what and how. And it’s really interesting to see how people interpret the tasks that they have been given.

At the beginning of the show they are each asked to bring something specific in and that forms the prizes for the shows. For the show that we saw, the prizes were favourite subscriptions or memberships. In this case, the prizes consisted of subscriptions to clouds [and not an online cloud based service… actual clouds which felt a bit Night Vale-ian], cheese through the post, bacon through the post and a subscription to a newsletter about Cross Rail. Yep. They were the prizes.

Here’s an example of a task from a previous series:

We then see how they did for each of the tasks set to them, and who won overall and claimed the prizes. Obviously I’m not going to give away any of the tasks, or the winner! I wouldn’t want to spoil the episode for the people who may watch the show. But it was really, really good to watch. There was also a warm up guy doing a bit of stand up and interaction with the crowd – he was so funny! I wouldn’t be surprised if he did his own gigs. It’s a shame I can’t remember his name!

In all it took around 2 and half hours to record the show, which seems surprising considering the edited version is only about 45 minutes. But then, it’s so easy to go of track. There should definitely be an edited/ blooper episode. It was that funny!

Russell Howard

The following day was our London day. It’s quite traditional for us to go to London around my birthday, and we definitely do it more on mine than on Alex’s. Ages ago Alex bought us Russell Howard tickets – another comedian, if you didn’t know – for his stint at the Royal Albert Hall. We’ve been to see him before, when he was doing a warm up gig in the local theatre [total surprise there, and unexpected!] and it was  such a funny night that I knew that it would be good again, even if it was a bigger venue than when we saw him before.

The set up at the Albert Hall was really interesting. The stage was circular, and at the centre of the hall. I thought this was a nice touch because of how the hall is set up, and allowed for extra seating areas on the stage as well. When Russell was performing, he addressed the whole audience, not just one section. He was always moving, always fluid with the way the audience was set out.

We went up with two of our friends who also had tickets to see the show. Even though the show was in the evening we had a day of taking in the sights – and of course – Pokemon Go hunting. I find London very odd for Pokemon. I sort of expect it to be a bit better considering it’s a city, but actually I’ve caught better Pokemon in my home town and in places like Brighton. I have no idea why that is. London doesn’t seem to have all that much variation? What this means is we walked miles and miles. We stopped by Camden for some street food, went to Kings Cross [so that I could get kitted out with more Ravenclaw stuff!] and generally walked through lots of posh parts of London.

I love the Albert Hall. I love how it’s set up, and the ceiling as well! I didn’t take many photo’s though – not because I couldn’t but because I didn’t have my good camera and was relying on my iPhone camera which I find to be not that great. They allow you to take photo’s in the Hall, but for obvious reasons not whilst the show is going on.

Russell Howard was extremely funny. He covered a wide range of topics, from the treasure that is the NHS, the anger at was a stupid decision Brexit is, Teresa May, the politicians, what a twat Nigel Farage is, Trump in the White House, he talked about his family and their crazy antics, about mental health and how he wished he could help save people, and so much more.

What I felt was that Russell is far more in touch with the people of this country than our politicians. He can see what’s happening around him, the country and the sentiment and if only he could do something about that! Could you imagine him being an MP? It was such a great night out, I would definitely go and see him again. I was laughing throughout the whole show. What was really cool actually, a couple of my Facebook friends were also at this same gig. I really liked that touch!

So that was the two big events of the week. They happened side by side, so by Thursday I needed some down time. I picked up some crochet, but that’s for another blog!

I also have a couple more blogs lined up for the coming days as I’ve finished some knitting that I’d like to share separately, but I’ll leave it here today!

Kialtho

Reyna Shawl

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For the last six weeks or so I haven’t been very well. Alex tells me it’s longer, but basically I  seem to have been hit with cold after cold, a 24 hour sickness bug and more cold. It’s been a rough few weeks. Whilst I feel a lot better, I’m now fed up of looking washed out! Time to crack out the make up for a small while, I think!

During this time I’ve still been knitting – although it has been quite hard the last couple of weeks because the sickens made my concentration lapse. That was more to do with that 24 hour bug more than anything though.

A while back I started a thread asking for shawl suggestions on Ravelry. From that I made a ‘Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair’ shawl – which I love but isn’t really big enough so plan to make that one again with all that alpaca yarn I have – and now I can say I’ve completed Reyna.
The Reyna shawl has really impressed me. When I was making it I was thinking that it wasn’t going to come out how I wanted, and just how could a one skein shawl really look as big as the other projects were showing? All the other one skein shawls I’ve made haven’t come out particularly big. But this one did! img_2540

This one really did open up and become that big.

I made this in The Yarn Tree’s ‘Frozen’ colourway. The colours are just beautiful. The blues came off on my hands a bit, but a soak and rinse for about 10 minutes reduced that, and then a soak in the washing machine as well. I’ll be surprised if there’s any blue left to come out. [I hope not, I gave it as a gift!]. I will be ordering more of this yarn from The Yarn Tree at some point because it’s just so lovely, and the colours are just perfect.img_2484
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I don’t have many – good – photo’s. This is one aspect of my knitting I need to change. Get some better artsy photo’s that show the FO in the best way possible. This will make me feel like my knitting does look as good as I think it does!

This is a pattern that was super easy to follow – and even better was just one page. I will be making more of these in the future as it is literally a perfect pattern for the variegated sock yarn skeins I have kicking around. And really, could be made absolutely massive using a Wollmeise 150g skein or something. This is one of those patterns that I’ll have no trouble recommending to anyone.img_2573It doesn’t matter what I make, Artie has to inspect it! Also, the blocking mats weren’t big enough for this, even though I thought they would be. Alex got me some from B&Q that are massive though, so I’ll be cracking those out instead next time.
img_2574I’m currently making a Lord of the Rings scarf. I don’t really do Lord of the Rings so it feels a little strange to be writing Elvish in my knitting. I plan to put a Tree of Gondor in on the other end, even though it’s going to be a bright red as I don’t want the scarf plain at the ends, and I don’t want to put more Elvish there either.

Maybe one day I’ll pick up the book for this series, hm?

Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc – P.K. Hrezo

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When I picked up this book I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for. I had so many tabs open on my MacBook that it was running off the screen. But I kept coming back to this one – I think it’s what I needed.


Synopsis:

It’s the year 2069 and even though eighteen-year-old Bianca Butterman is heir to the family biz, she may never see the day her time-craft license becomes official. When a government agent starts nosing around the operation, Butterman Travel, Inc. gets stuck with a full audit—part of a government take-over scheme to shut down all private time travel agencies. Enter former boy band superstar, Tristan Helms, desperate to retrieve a lost item from his past and willing to pay triple fare for a time-trip to get there, and Bianca has to find a way to complete the job and return home before the government gets wind and shuts down the family biz for good.

Welcome to Butterman Travel, Incorporated; a full service agency designed to meet all your exclusive time travel needs. We’re a family owned and operated business with one hundred years of experience. A place where you can rest assured, safety and reliability always come first.

Anxious to attend some special event from the past? Or for a glimpse of what the future holds?

You’ve come to the right place. We’re a fully accredited operation, offering an array of services; including, but not limited to: customized travel plans, professionally piloted operations, and personal trip guides. *Terms and conditions do apply

Use our Web conferencing to contact our frontline reservation specialist, Bianca Butterman, who will handle all your inquiries in a professional and efficient manner, offering a tentative itinerary and free fare quote, so you can make the most of your time trip.

We look forward to serving you at Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands.

I think what I liked about this book the most was that it was quite light hearted, and didn’t take itself too seriously. Time travel can be really complex to write about – but this book does it in a way that doesn’t necessarily make things hard to understand. There’s the unique language that the book introduces regarding the science of time travel, and how the Butterman Time Travel company works.

The main character, Bianca, is a late teen something operating the check in desk at her parents company, located in Alaska. She’s an alternative type, not into the same schtick that the masses are. So when the latest ‘big thing’ Tristan Helms walks in through the front door wanting a time travel there and then, price no problem… well Bianca doesn’t really want to help. Except… money. To make matters worse they’re currently being inspected by the Department of Time, who would do anything to shut them down.

So naturally, the logical answer is to take a trip through time when Bianca isn’t technically fully qualified with her pilots licence, with a man that doesn’t know how to follow orders and who wants to break the rules. They end up high, they end up stealing some jet packs and evade the Department of Time by going to Woodstock in 1969.

Of course with some more timey-whimy stuff going on Bianca is in a lot of trouble. Butterman Travel is on the brink of collapse because of how she behaved – essentially not keeping Tristan under control and causing potential paradoxes.

Whilst the solution that Bianca comes up with involved yet more time travel and rule breaking, the result is a good one for the company, and Bianca essentially gets away with everything with no consequences to her actions – unless there’s something to happen in the follow up book.

This was a good, light hearted read. It didn’t take much, and I enjoyed it a lot. I’ll probably pick up the next one, although I’m not sure when.

Also: I’m sort of thinking that the author is a knitter, with the detail in which she describes the knitwear and how things are worn. I liked those little details.

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Kialtho

Lace Wild Flower Blanket

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My first big project for 2017 was this Lace Wild Flower blanket – something that I’ve made before and really love as a baby blanket. Considering it’s been super cold this last month as well, it was a pleasure making it as it was keeping me warm at the same time.

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It only took four weeks  to make this one. The previous one I made took a little over six, so I was quite surprised when it was coming to an end.
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I used James C Brett DK Marble yarn for this project. It’s not a yarn I’ve used before and chose it on a whim as I couldn’t find a nice yellow Aran weight yarn – which is what I wanted to use originally. It was an alright yarn to work with, but once the stripes were getting thinner I wasn’t enjoying the yellow hues so much…
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This was made for a work colleague and his wife who are expecting their first child in the spring/summer time. Even though I haven’t got some decent pictures of the whole thing I’m really happy with how it turned out.

When working the pattern I ended up doing an extra repeat of the diamonds as I had calculated that I would need 5 balls of yarn, but in reality completing the pattern as written would have left me with one spare ball (and I’d already bought 6 to be on the safe side – so already have a spare ball). I think if I had pushed to use the 6th ball, I would have run out, so in reality this worked out quite perfectly. img_2497

The yarn itself could be a little splity, but working with my Karbonz needles which are slightly blunter at the points eliminated this being a particular issue. It’s not something that I would have wanted to crochet with, and I did have a quick go before decided to come back to this particular design.

I wish I had somewhere where I could take better photos though as the photos I have just don’t do it any justice.

Cat Hat! A Cat in the Hat?

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I made a new cat hat! I had one that I made a few years back, but when I saw this one I knew I had to have one! The pattern is called “Cabled Cat Ears Hat” and uses super chunky/super bulky yarn and works up in such a short amount of time. I don’t use super chunky yarn particularly often so sort of forget how quickly a project can be finished.

Aside from how awesome the pattern is, I made this for a couple of reasons. I can’t get to the London Women’s march on Saturday because basically I have no money, and train fare just isn’t a priority. I’ve never been to a rally, and there have been plenty of them in the last year for various things, and I think if I did live closer to London I would go, but at this point in time I just can’t justify the money. So I made this in solidarity.

I love the scope of the pussyhat project. I love that fact that it made the national news, even here in the UK. If I had more yarn and more time I would have made some for the friends of mine that are going to the rally, but I only saw this pattern earlier this week, and haven’t been into the other patterns that I’ve seen.

The pattern itself was super easy to follow. The only time it gets a little fiddly was working around the ears, but the end result is just awesome. I think the only thing that I would change if I were making this again – and had more yarn to play with – would be to increase the brim so that it was either a. longer, or b. able to roll over a bit. As it stood I only had a small amount of yarn in my stash – I was using one ball of Rowan Drift that I had left over from a couple of projects a few years back. I was fully prepared to unravel another hat I’d made with this stuff so that I could finish this one.

The first night I wore it a dog barked at me. And Artie swiped it off my head to go and ‘kill’ it. This has both really amused me and makes me feel like I have definitely won with it.

I do need to give it a soak to soften it up a bit as it’s a little itchy at the moment, but it’s a hat, and that will probably never be a priority of mine as it’s so cold out at the moment as it is.

Have you made any of these hats? What’s been your favourite pattern to use? Are you attending any marches?

Kialtho

Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) – Rachel Hawkins

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After taking so long to get through Children of Time I wanted a book that wouldn’t be too hard on my brain. One that wouldn’t take too long to read, and one that I would, hopefully, enjoy. Hex Hall was that read – although I didn’t expect to read it in such a short amount of time. But then… I did want a quick read.

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Synopsis

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

This was such an enjoyable little book. I read it in three sittings, and read the bulk of it today. Sometimes when you come across books that are short, they don’t feel complete, or fleshed out – but this one did. Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved more to it, but I don’t feel as though we were inherently rushed toward the end.

We’re introduced to a world where witches, fairies, shapeshifters and vampires exist. They are just under the radar, and those who are deemed a risk to exposing their magic are ‘sentenced’ to Hecate Hall until they turn 18. Our main character Sophia is one of those sentenced. Sophia is blissfully ignorant of how things work, how even her own magic works – except it doesn’t work very well. She’s a little like Mildred from The Worst Witch, except she has a sense of humour and is quite witty.

There are some typical YA attributes in Hex Hall. A love triangle of sorts between Sophia, Archer and Elodie. Another reviewer on GoodReads mentions how it’s like Mean Girls with witches – not going to lie – I enjoyed even more after reading that as Mean Girls is a pretty awesome film. [Pink Wednesday, anyone?].

Sophia has a Vampire for a roommate. She’s into Hot Pink, and is decidedly not Goth. I liked that her character was a lesbian as well. It’s one of those things that the author didn’t need to include, and nor was it something that was made into a Big Deal. Jenna was the main suspect for the going-ons in Hecate Hall as the victims all have puncture wounds on their necks, and were drained of blood. Of course, she’s Sophia’s best friend, so she couldn’t be the bad guy.

Despite being a quick read there were definitely some twists and turns I didn’t expect to see. Once the first reveal came I thought that was it, and then we’d have some decent summing up. Then, we’re back with Alice, and there was her own reveal. And even then, linked with that was Elodie’s reveal. Aside from Alice, who I had my suspicions about in the beginning, I didn’t expect the other two. In fact, I was thinking that the headmistress was actually going to be the big bad. I thought it was a good finale at least.

This is one of those books that I wouldn’t be surprised if it got made into a TV series or something. I’d definitely give it a watch!

I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series, hopefully that will be as interesting as this one!

Have a good evening folks,

Kialtho

Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair

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About a year or so ago I ordered a subscription/surprise yarn box from an Indie dyer that I follow on Instagram – ForTheLoveofYarn. When the box arrived, I was thrilled, but I didn’t know what to make with the yarn [I’m not a natural crochet-er so I didn’t want to do the pattern that was supplied]. I relatively recently asked on Ravelry what they’re suggestions were to make with the yarn – approx. 200g of a beautiful gradient ready caked and itching to go. Aside from the usual responses of ‘check out this group’ or ‘check the yarn page’ [responses that happen all too often, especially when someone is asking for specific information or personal preferences…] I did get a list of shawls going. I eventually decided to make “Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair’. I kept coming back to that particular design as the one for this yarn set.
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A boy, am I glad I did!

Made from the bottom up – something that I hadn’t done before – with a lace border that eventually works its way into a cabled section – it was also a design that was unique and pleasing to look at. Plus, I had never worked cables in a pattern like that before.

When I bought the pattern it was 21 pages. 21. I immediately thought ‘WTF have I got myself into?’ But the pattern makes so much sense, and not all 21 pages are used. The pattern is divided into sizes, and then specific pages deal with specific sizes. There’s a couple of tutorial pages at the back for beading – I didn’t do that with this one – and the introduction.

I love how this shawl came out:img_2428
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I love the colours. I feel like it’s a very springtime shawl, bright and bold colours that mix well together. I did have to alternate the yarns, but I also had to disengage yarn for bigger sections than I anticipated, but it’s worked out so well together, and the colours just blend so well.
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It’s not as big as I would have liked, but clearly my tension was off. I had 72g of yarn left over, and should have had a minimal amount. That being said though, it sits around my neck nicely and keeps my neck warm – something much needed in the coming days with a wintery storm front approaching.

I used my Chiaogoo needles with this one. 3.5mm, as per the pattern recommendations. I usually do go up a needle size to account for tension – I know I’m a tight knitter – but I wanted to ensure that I wouldn’t run out of yarn this time around. The strange thing is though, these needles really hurt my hands time around. I don’t know if it was simply because I was fatigued from the Christmas knitting – which was more accidental more than anything – or because it was the needles. I’ve not been rushing my current project because of it, and my hands are feeling a bit better. I do still need to invest in that stress ball though.

I was waiting to write this blog until I had some better photo’s taken with my DLSR. Except I took the Christmas tree down, and I need to come up with a decent way of photographing them that doesn’t make me look like an amateur. [I love those Christmas tree shawl photos!]. Maybe I can come up with something with my wood working hobbiest partner of mine. [Space and lighting in the flat does cause some problems…]

Anyway, that’s all for now folks… What’s on your needles?

Kialtho

Children of Time – Adrian Tchaikovsky

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I bought this book on a whim from Amazon when buying something else (probably knitting related, because why not?). Something about it intrigued me from the moment I saw the advert for it. I have to say I wasn’t let down in any sense of the word – except in how long it took me to finish!

Synopsis:

A race for survival among the stars… Humanity’s last survivors escaped earth’s ruins to find a new home. But when they find it, can their desperation overcome its dangers?

WHO WILL INHERIT THIS NEW EARTH?

The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age – a world terraformed and prepared for human life.

But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare.

Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?

There are so many post-apocalyptic space novels out there. Some are rather questionable, like The 100, and some are ingenious, like Planet of the Apes. Children of Time, for me, falls into the ‘ingenious’ side of things. The world building was immense – literally Space: the Final Frontier. Except there’s no-one else out there.

I think what makes this book stand out in many ways – aside from the story telling itself – is the use of ‘real’ science fiction. Space is harsh. Time is short. The ship is built to last, the human travellers stored in cryogenic sleep as ‘cargo’. One of the things that really stood out for me was the use of time, and how it felt like it was passing. The book is set of several hundred centuries, possibly even a millennia or two. [It was hard to keep up with it, if I’m honest] – but it was set out as though only a few weeks or even a month had passed.

Holsten, our main character is woken from his sleep several times throughout the journey, experiencing the weeks rather than the years. He is one of the few that studied the Old Empire – the Earth of nowadays that destroyed itself, and left Holsten’s people to inherit a poisoned Earth. In the few times that he is woken up, there’s some new problem to deal with – an Old Empire satellite that’s just a little bit deadly and doesn’t like to share, megalomaniac commanders that want to live forever in the computer, the creation of the ship wide Tribe, the constant threat of the failure and the loss of the human race. Love. His own child – except not really as she exists only as an embryo in stasis. The woman he comes to love grown old with command whilst he’s been in his own stasis.

In a concurrent storyline we’re introduced to the spiders. Exposed to a nano virus from the Old Empire they’ve become intelligent and formed a society. They’ve become scholars, hunters, fighters, scientists, leaders, biochemical engineers. They are a species that overcome their own evolutionary setbacks – eating the male after mating for instance – to become the dominant species, to rule the roost.

The spiders were probably my favourite part of the story, the way that they evolved from hunter to societal wonders. Although – don’t read about intelligent spiders before bed. They will invade your dreams! Portia, Bianca, Fabian they were definitely the highlights. We were treated with insights into their world, their development from conquering others – the ants – developing religion – the Messenger – developing an equal society – matriarchal society dominating for the longest of times – being a tolerant society – which is something that is key to the ending, and certainly something that I didn’t see coming.

That ending – it wasn’t what I expected, and very much in a good way. For a start I couldn’t pick a side to win the war – the spiders were my favourite part of the book, but I still had to root for the human races survival!

was such a good read. The only downside for me was that it took such a long time for me to get through it. [Life, job, knitting]. That – and I couldn’t quite figure how big the spiders were. I think they became quite big, but then the humans were referred to as giants, so who knows?

If you enjoy space travel novels, the post-apocalyptic survival, and science fiction at it’s best, then give this book a go. One of the best books that I’ve read in a while!

What are you reading at the moment?

Kialtho