The armies of the Wasp Empire are on the march, and first to feel their might will be the city of Tark, which is even now preparing for siege.
The second book in the Shadows of the Apt series tells of the continuing adventures of Stenwold, Che, Tisamon, Tybisa, Salma, Totho and a host of others, and their battles against the Wasp Empire. Salma and Totho embark on a spying mission to Tark to witness the menacing Wasp army as they wage war against the ant-kinden colony. Meanwhile, disgraced Major Thalric is also on a mission to eliminate Stenwold Maker and bring about the destruction of Collegium and The Lowlands. As the Empire closes in on The Lowlands the Emperor’s thoughts are on other matters...
I was eager to read this novel, having thoroughly enjoyed the preceding book ‘Empire in Black and Gold’. It does not disappoint. It continues where Empire leaves off and I don’t mean Return of the Jedi. In Tchaikovsky’s second book in this exciting series the writing is more assured and the world building is taking shape nicely. The world of the insect-kinden, and their many different attributes, is both fascinating and has provided the first two books with a new flavour in the world of fantasy. The second book concentrates more on characterisation and the telling of the beginning of the war between the Wasp Empire and the Lowlands. The characters are all there from the previous book, although Cheerwell Maker takes a secondary role in this story, while more focus is placed upon Salma and Totho’s adventures. We delve more into the role of the Artificer and this is an interesting addition to the story. An artificer is basically an inventor, repairer and maintenance man in the world of weaponry and machinery.
The story is action packed and Tchaikovsky’s handling of the fight scenes is thrilling. The characters are continuing to grow and we learn more of their motivations. We are also introduced to new characters such as Drephos the Imperial auxiliary-artificer, and Uctebri a sort of vampire-kinden. Although the book is close to seven hundred pages long it never feels it, as the pace and action drive the story ever on. The world is greatly expanded and we learn more of the various insects and their ways. We are also introduced to the Emperor, and a side story is told. Thalric continues in the rich vein that we saw him develop in the first book and brings an occasional humour to the proceedings. Every book needs a baddie and Thalric is a great character.
So there we are, Dragonfly Falling is a more assured book than Empire and continues to deliver the goods. Adrian Tchaikovsky has continued to grow as a writer and the Shadows of the Apt looks set to have a good future if Tchaikovsky can keep up this standard. My only minor criticism would be for a touch more humour and more future telling of Achaeos, a moth-kinden magician, and Che’s adventures. I for one am looking forward to reading ‘The Blood of the Mantis’ and the remaining books in the series and I would recommend these books to someone on the lookout for something a little bit different.
Review by Allan Fisher
1 positive reader review(s) for Dragonfly Falling
Esther from Indonesia
I have read the series upto book 7, and impatiently waiting for book 8. Highly recommended, pls read.
9.6/10 from 2 reviews