Vernor Vinge’s “Zones of Thought” novels are imaginative, epic space opera, but I was never really convinced that he could do justice to the genre the way Peter Hamilton can. There was always the Star Ocean tendency to confine most of the action to a single underdeveloped planet – interesting nonetheless, but not of that same massive scale.
In Children of the Sky, Vince goes back to just after the first book, when the Blight has just been neutralised. However he forsakes the grand perils of the higher Zones of Thought and focuses on the conflicts on Tines Worlds. Unfortunately the book finishes without resolving any of the main plotlines, at the smaller scale or the large, leaving a sense of disappointment at the wasted opportunity.
I found most of the characters stubborn, naive and annoying, thoroughly blind to the fairly obvious treachery being practised upon them. Vinge’s interest appears to be the industrialisation of Tines World – similar to the technological development in the second novel.
Ultimately I see this third book as just a stepping stone to the next one – given how inconclusive this one its, Vinge clearly intends to publish the next one sooner rather than a decade later (as with the other books in this series).