Firewalkers, by Adrian Tchaikovsky, is a sci-fi story set mainly in the town of Achouka, on Earth. The main characters, Mao, Lupe and Hotep form a group of people called Firewalkers who are dispatched to repair the solar panels which have been destroyed as the Earth slowly dies away. Without the solar panels, there is no way of anything on Earth surviving but despite the inhospitable conditions, the Firewalkers are those dispatched to repair them in order for the Earth to remain functional.
The story follows the lives of the Firewalkers as they enter Achouka, a middle-class town where the inhabitants can afford to live in luxury, mostly oblivious to the danger unfolding outside. They are shielded from danger by people like the Firewalkers and within the book, this becomes especially frustrating for Hotep when they are greeted with an air of disdain and ungratitude by the people of Anchor.
However, Mao falls for one of the people of the town, which causes disharmony amongst the group as they feel betrayed by his disloyalty. Hotep also makes the mistake of trusting an AI, Grand Celeste, whose motives about helping them and aiding them in getting revenge against the rich people of Achouka are not all what they seem.
I am not familiar with Adrian Tchaikovsky and before Firewalkers, had never read his work. However, when I read the plot for this book and learned of Tchaikovsky’s reputation, I was excited to read it for myself. On the whole, the story is enjoyable, but it lacks distinct plot points to give the story a direction and at times, it felt as though I was reading a diary of four characters who set out to put their lives in danger for the sake of others. For this reason, I had to go back and remind myself of some of the plot points in order to write this review.
However, I did read this story to the end, and would read it again to see if I engaged with the plot and understood the story better. In my opinion, this is a book that needs to be read more than once to fully take the story in and in light of current events, my own attention was a little preoccupied at times. But the timing of reading the story was very appropriate!
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. It is available for pre-order on Amazon.