Cover Image: Ogres


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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley, Adrian Tchaikovsky and Rebellion/Solaris publishing for allowing pre-published access to this book.

This little novella didn't go in the direction I was expecting, it kept changing focus and each time for the better. What starts as a simple tale of human subjugates to an ogre overlord turns into a fascinating take on biology, politics, slavery, human nature, scientific endeavour and class warfare. 

This was my first Tchaikovsky and it will not be the last. Surprising and packed full of action, I enjoyed Ogres much more than I initially expected.
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Despite having Tchaikovsky's books on my shelf for a while, this is the first one I've read - and I can't wait to read more! From page one I was invested in the story, and in the mystery of the ogres vs the humans. I loved the second person narration, and the payoff from this style is huge. There's just so much in this novella that I know I'll be thinking about it for a while. 

When Torquell has an altercation with the landlord's son, his life changes forever and it sets him on the path to learn about the society he lives in. Encompassing politics, science, and much more (spoilers), this is a great novella that will stay with the reader. 

I would like to thank Netgallery and the publisher for the eARC I received.
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The narrative voice is confident but the story  trajectory of young lower class rogue challenging new son of the grand ogre just seems awfully familiar .. but the writer is adept and lifts the story ot of the 'ordinary'.. I've always wanted to read this author and I'm pleased to be acquainted with his work.
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Ogres are just for some reason fascinating. So take this premise of a World where humans are all vegetarians and servants under meat eating, ruling, huge strong Ogres in a (kind of) Robin Hood story with some coming of age and a plot twist then suspend your belief & expand your mind and sit back and reflect, wowzers!.
Would I recommend?, oh yes!. 
Thank you Netgalley, the author and publisher for providing this arc in exchange for a honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Rebellion, and Solaris for a copy of the eArc of Ogres by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I admit I should've left feedback on this book many months back. I can now say that this book has staying power. 

It is hard to keep up with the prolific output of Adrian Tchaikovsky, but Ogres is well worth your time. I believe that Tchaikovsky's biggest ideas are on display in novella format books. His books often contain politics, but none are as specific as this one is to being a critique on capitalism. This book is the richest 1% on steroids. This class has found a newer way to suppress the working class like never before.
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Ogres mixes a dystopian world with bits of other genres like science fiction and a medieval fantasy and its not clear at first where it's going. At first, it is like a feudal system as the general populace toil and live simply, but give a large portion of their goods to their overlords, the Ogres. As it unfolds, there are a couple events that take it in an unexpected direction, and our protagonist is thrust into a world unlike any he could have imagined. Interesting and inventive, and a fun read.
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I'm already a fan of Adrian Tchaikovsky's writing from some of his SF work, but when it comes to fairy tales I tend to be pretty hesitant, so the opening to this novella had me very leery. But I kept at it, and boy was it worth it. A fantastic read that keeps up a solid pace and plenty of turns that are thought provoking and significantly deepen the story. Very worth the full price of admission. I'll have to grab a hardcover for my collection. This is one to re-read. The POV was fantastic here. Really enjoyed the narration and the use of 2nd person POV (I really enjoy good examples of this to use it against the naysayers --> 2nd person is so so so useful and engaging and here is yet another example of that).

Don't miss out. This is definitely a read you want to dive into.

Note: I read an advanced copy from NetGalley and am very thankful for that. Still hoping to snag copy of the hardcover though. It was that good!
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I love sci-fi novellas, and this is one of the better ones. This takes place in a feudal society with ogres at the top of the hierarchy and humans at the bottom, and how one human leads an uprising. The writing style is well-done but the second person narration might put some people off. Personally I felt it worked for the story and served the social commentary well. It's a short read and a strange one at that, but very enjoyable and highly recommended.
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Excellent Social Satire!

The beginning of “Ogres” by Adrian Tchaikovsky seems like a fantasy. Ogres are the masters in this society, which at first seems feudal with humans as the underlings, servants, and slaves living in the country on farms or hiding in the woods.

When the masters, an ogre and his son, arrive at the village leader's farm in a modern vehicle, the idea of a fantasy setting shifts.

Events change Tocqueville’s circumstances. He finds himself in a modern city, where humans work as servants, factory workers, etc., while the wealthy, ruling class Ogres live in luxury. 

From this point forward, the story feels like a post-apocalyptic science fiction novella with a clear dystopian slant. The helicopter on the cover is a clue to genre that I overlooked. 

As the story progresses, the reader learns more and more about the present and past of this society. I’m not going into detail because “spoilers.”

What I liked:

I was excited about this story because I’ve wanted to read an Adrian Tchaikovsky book. 

Here's a look into the heart of the story:

“But when you’re property, it doesn’t matter if your owner treats you well or badly. The ownership is all. We don’t split hairs about who is a better slave master. And you would have been the best owner of all, and that still isn’t enough reason to keep you alive once you’ve decided that owning people is fine, just so long as it’s you that owns them.”

This is a story about the enslavement of the lower class and the oppression, brutality, bigotry, and racism that accompanies slavery.

The book takes many twists and turns, and has a bit of a surprise ending; however, if a reader pays attention, the ending isn’t quite so surprising. Rather it's another twist and makes sense.

The protagonist’s name is Tocqueville, which clearly references the comte de Tocqueville, the French aristocrat who wrote “Democracy in America” after touring the USA in the 1830s and 40s. The name also hints at what’s coming in the novella and throws a little humor into a story that is often bleak. 

What I Wasn’t Crazy About:

I don’t like second person point of view, and the only reason I finished the book is because I’ve been wanting to read this author for a long time. So I pushed onward. To give Tchaikovsky another chance, I bought one of his other books, which is written in third person. 

My biggest issue with the second person is I cannot get lost in the story, and I’m always aware of the storytelling and the storyteller.

Although a lot happened, the pacing felt slow and sometime tedious. To be fair, I believe those two critiques come from my strong dislike of the point of view. 


If you don’t mind the second person point of view (“you” rather than “he” or “she” or “I”) give this book a try. The story is worth reading and perfect for the moment with authoritarianism on the rise.

If you don’t care for second person narratives, go into the story knowing what to expect. "Ogres" is worthwhile and thought provoking.  

I’d like to thank NetGalley for an ARC copy of “Ogres”!
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Absolute brilliant read. For the amount of books Tchaikovsky releases in quick succession the quality never wavers. For a short read the books packs in an awful lot of philosophical quandaries. If man in an effort to eradicate the wrongs he has wrought on each other and the planet, evolved via gene manipulation, into something else entirely, would they solve the problems or make things worse? Can one man be a cause for change? Or would he fall prey to avarice or keep to his moral code? 

You can enjoy the book for reading pleasure and put it back on the shelf without being concerned by such provoking topics or the philosophical man/woman, can ponder for hours on end on the implications of what if? 

Thought provoking but also entertaining in its own right. I cannot recommend this book enough.
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This story has a lot of unrealised potential, from the writing to the overarching plot and characterisation, I just felt it was quite lacklustre. As a commentary on an eco-disaster and slavery, I felt like this wasn’t adding much to anything that has been previously said, when it could have been so much more.

Apart from my own issues with a second person POV (which I can’t get used to, apparently), I felt like this was too short even for a novella. It was all very surface-level, I didn’t have enough time to get invested in the characters, their actions and aspirations. By the time it got interesting, it ended. I guess the idea of this book is to show where rebellions stem from, but it was done in too little words. The writing style was also not my jam, sadly. I guess that just came with the territory of the novella and how the story was supposed to come across.

What I did like, however, were some of the side characters who added some interesting thoughts to the story. I wish we could have seen more of them, and spent more time in the middle part of the books. The ending’s plot twist was also good and I felt like that was a proper end for a short story that gives enough to satisfy the reader especially after such a quick read.

All around a fairly disappointing read but I will give Tchaikovsky’s other books a go anyway.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I was gifted this novella by Netgalley in return for a honest review.
I really enjoyed the story – the narration style won’t be for everyone but I didn’t find it grating perhaps due to the subject matter.  The story itself was well crafted and was paced well.  The social commentary inherent in the story was delicately handled and I didn’t see the end coming at all.
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This novella is a masterpiece! One cannot say much about it without spoilers but let's just say, it's not what I thought it would be. Adrian Tchaikovsky surprises the reader with sudden turns that let you question your whole perception. The writing style is on point and the perspective was brilliantly chosen. The you-form sets the reader very near to the protagonist. Through his eyes we discover this world in which nothing is as we thought it would be. It starts as a very classical fantasy story, our protagonist lives in a little village, but then the inciting incident takes place and his journey begins. Without too much spoilers it suffices to say: It will not end like a classical fantasy story. Just brilliant!
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Adrian Tchaikovsky is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. I'm yet to read a book of his that I dislike and I've read a fair few of his books in the past two years, including Shards of Earth. Ogres goes up there with some of his best work.

I went into Ogres not really knowing what it was about, other than what its title suggests. But basically, ogres are real, they're bigger than you and they rule the world. It has always been this way. The story follows Torquell, who dares to lift his hand against the landlord's son (his ogre owners). No human can raise their hand against an ogre without losing their life. But this act sets Torquell on a path to finding out the truth about the ogres and how they came to rule the world instead of your standard human.

This is a story that gives little away for so long but sucks you in entirely from start to end. And what an ending it is!

What's impressive is how much Torquell goes through in this novella. It's not a full novel and yet he goes through so much that it could easily be one. From a rascal to a murderer, an outlaw, a slave and finally a hero.

You also learn a fair bit about the ogres thanks to the Ogress Isadora who becomes Torquells master for a time. Through Isadora, you gain more of an insight into how humans are viewed by them.

There are a few unexpected twists along with a lot of graphic content - which you should expect as ogres aren't known for kindness.

As I've found to be a custom in Tchaikovsky's books, there are some thought-provoking moments and morals to be learned. Ogres is no exception.

Ogres is yet another fantastic read. One that could easily have been turned into a full novel. It's not often that I read a novella and think "I'd spend good money to have this in my bookcase", but that's exactly what I thought when finishing this story. It's a thoroughly enjoyable read that didn't go where I thought it would. I highly recommend this one. Once I started I found it very hard to put down.

Rating: 5/5
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I read it courtesy of NetGalley.

It's a really readable and well-crafted novel that's a little bit Swift and a little bit not, and whose best moment comes when the (not that surprising but somewhat satisfying) plot twist happens at the very end. Alas, for a characters or plot-driven novel, it just wasn't fleshed out enough, for me, and for an allegory / philosophical work, it wasn't profound enough or surprising enough. It's not bad - it works perfectly well, and accomplishes all that it's set out to - but it's just not that amazing
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This is the second book by Adrian Tchaikovsky that I have read.  The previous book I have read I didn't like at all but this short book was fantastic. I just couldn't put it down.

I do recommend it.
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A sci-fi novella set in a feudal world where ogres have taken the place of aristocrats and humans have taken the place of serfs, told in the second-person. Torquell, son of a village headman, finds himself in trouble with the ogres, and then finds himself leading an uprising against them. But when the powerful are <i>literally</i> more powerful – bigger, stronger, smarter, more of everything – who is it that can rise against them? 

I know second-person narration is a hard go for many people, though it generally doesn't bother me; in this case, it allows the story to comment on itself, on how it fits (or doesn't) the standard myth of 'village boy rebelling against the dark lord'. For example, the opening lines:
<i>You were always trouble. 
Inevitable, really. And you weren't to know it, but you were following a particular trajectory. The Young Prince is always trouble. A youth, misspent in bad company and oafish pranks, who can mend their ways when adulthood comes rapping at the door, is more prized than any number of young paragons.</i>

The truth and the telling of it hang uneasily together throughout <i>Ogres</i>. Exaggerated stories, stories that can be made to fit certain narratives, stories hidden entirely, all have their uses and their consequences, and nearly every character has their own spin on the narrative. 

Speaking of hidden truths, there was one twist that I saw coming from nearly the first page (what is an "ogre", actually?), and I was pleasantly surprised when it was revealed only halfway through the story, leaving the characters plenty of time to deal with the repercussions. And the ending – damn. I don't want to spoil anything, but the way the final pages played out absolutely slayed me. It's cynical and hopeful at the same time, it's the perfect resolution to everything that happened and was revealed, and it left me wanting to cheer. 

Tchaikovsky has become a buy-immediately author for me; his stuff is just SO GOOD: weird and insightful, full of creative world-building and hard-hitting politics. <I>Ogres</i> absolutely lived up to my expectations. Read it if you too are a Tchaikovsky fan, read it if he's new to you, just read it.
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For all the jokes about Brandon Sanderson being a machine, I’m not sure Tchaikovsky doesn’t deserve those accolades more. He is churning out novels and novellas at an incredible rate, and they’re all excellent. This was my least favorite of all the Tchaikovsky stuff I’ve read, meaning I give it like an A-.

Our protagonist is a troublemaker in his village, one that provokes fond exasperation rather than causing serious problems. Everyone pretty much expects him to grow out of it sooner or later. But his life takes a darker turn when the Ogre landlord and his retinue stops by the village on his annual tour of his estates, and the protagonist doesn’t meekly accept bullying and humiliations from the landlord’s son. The themes and allegories are unsubtle: overconsumption, overpopulation, capitalist exploitation, slavery, class divides, etc. But sometimes unsubtle is appropriate.

Interestingly, it’s written in the rarely-seen second person perspective, with the narrator constantly talking about “you do this” or “you feel that.” The only other book that does that which comes to mind is the Broken Earth trilogy by NK Jemisin; like with that trilogy, you eventually find out who is narrating and it’s an interesting and important reveal.

This book is a great example of why I prefer the term “spec fic” over trying to categorize things as science-fiction or fantasy: whether this is fantasy or science-fiction depends on your perspective, and how far along you are in the book. (Tchaikovsky’s *Elder Race* fits kind of the same niche).

A good work by a great author. Strongly recommended for a nice quick read.
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A unique perspective on a apocalyptic world where a race of super humans subvert the race of normal humans in hopes of eliminating war and famine.  Tchaikovsky intertwines a story of heroism as well as builds up a background full of questions which he mostly answers by the end
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Tchaikovsky is fast becoming one of my favourite novella writers, and not just because he’s so prolific. It’s clear that he really understands the format and how to use the limited word count to his advantage, telling the reader exactly what they need to know to get hooked in the world and the story, without it feeling too bloated, or too thin.

Part of this is that he’s really good at telling what are, on the face of it, simple stories that follow well-recognised archetypes, and then peeling away the parable’s layers to reveal something deeper underneath. Ogres is no exception to this rule. The premise is a basic one: humans live in what is essentially a serfdorm, ruled by a race of ogres. Our main character, Torquell, is a rebellious child, not at all interested in politics, but before long he is spun into a tale of actual revolution, that draws on both examples of the historical oppression of the working classes and the perils that await us thanks to late-stage capitalism and the climate crisis.

The use of second person narration (a trick I love, but one that I know can rub others the wrong way) is often a pretty clear marker that parts of the character’s identity will only be revealed over time, since there must be some reason why we are being asked to experience the story directly. But I will say, without spoilers, that I was surprised by exactly how the story unfolded (even if I could predict the general direction), but that it also made complete sense in hindsight. Again, Tchaikovsky knows what he’s doing when it comes to picking his moments to reveal information throughout the story.

After the successes of Ogres, Elder Race and One Day All This Will be Yours, I am really looking forward to seeing what Tchaikovsky does next – and the good news is, we likely won’t even have to wait that long!
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