Review – The Beauty of Destruction by Gavin Smith

Posted: April 4, 2016 in Sci-Fi
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In the far future, after the Loss of Earth, war has begun and an unknowable alien race has awakened, intent on the destruction of everything. Here and now, the end of the world has come. And the only way our species will survive is if two augmented humans can fight their way through apocalypse to a faint glimmer of hope. Long ago, the seeds of that apocalypse were resisted by the warrior tribes of Britain, with devastating consequences for them and their lands. And all three of these times will meet on another world …

I’ve included the blurb to give you an idea of the epic scope of this sci-fi series. It’s an enormous undertaking by Gavin Smith; one that he has succeeded in with a seriously intense final novel. The Beauty of Destruction is exactly that: it’s about destroying life; it’s about perceiving beauty in violence; and it’s about humanity trying to overcome the destruction – of beauty in the face of complete annihilation.

It is a novel of huge proportions and massive vistas as the narrative weaves the ancient Britain into the here and now, and then folds it all into a distant and warped future. It’s all about vast energies and powers, immortal perspectives and unknowable alien concepts. The Beauty of Destruction is also about violence, from the struggle to survive to the joy of destruction. Smith has created a wide cast of characters that each approach these ideas in their own distinct and unique way. His characters are relatable and human, unless they are not in which case they are frustrating and bizzare (and rightly so) in their actions.

There’s a lot of war, from the sword and sorcery of the ancients to the all-out apocalypse of the now. In the future death and destruction is a different concept yet it is still the main currency. In the end, Smith manages to bring all this chaos and violence into a coherent whole. The three time lines are all fighting the same enemy; the same massive, alien force that seeks to ease it’s own pain and insanity by erasing the universe it exists within.

The ideas behind all this total war are extremely interesting with alien forces ‘seeding’ the planets with biology and thereby kick starting human existence. Yet from this vast perspective there is also the individual. Each character portraying different yet similar objectives and each displaying the beauty of humanity in the face of death.

The Beauty of Destruction is a brutal barnburner that ends an amazing trilogy; it’s raw and violent yet it’s also brilliant piece of work.

Review copy
Published by Gollancz


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