So, here we are at book 3 in Adrian Tchaikovsky's epic Shadows of the Apt series.
There is a lull in the fighting/Wasp Empire invasion of The LowlandsSo, here we are at book 3 in Adrian Tchaikovsky's epic Shadows of the Apt series.
There is a lull in the fighting/Wasp Empire invasion of The Lowlands due, mainly, to the onset of Winter and also to the military events in book 2 and this gives the author and the reader chance to visit more of the world only partially revealed so far. This actually turned out to be a bit of a relief as the first two books had seen a lot of fighting/warfare and this was a welcome change of pace.
As before there are new Kinden (races) introduced here and new characters ( I was particularly taken with the Fly Kinden pilot Taki - a great addition to the cast from the very beginning of the book). We also get more into the character of Uctebri, the mosquito Kinden, who I'm sure will be at the centre of everything bad and evil before too long.
As I said before, Blood of the Mantis is less about the fighting, so there is more espionage/politics but it does not make it any less of a gripping ride. Many questions - who is working for who, who can you trust etc. and I guess the rule would have to be trust no-one.
Add into the mix the chase for a magical McGuffin (in this case the box that was stolen in book 2), which leads the story down more traditional fantasy paths and what you have here is another intriguing chapter in what looks like becoming one of my al time favourite fantasy series.
AND IT HAS AN EXPANDED MAP!!!!!!!! (sorry about that but I do like a good map)
The only downside to this book is that at 424 pages it is a good bit shorter than the previous books in the series but I guess it was as long as it needed to be. Normal Big Book service will be resumed as soon as possible ;-D ...more
The army of the Wasp Empire is still carrying on with their invasion of The Lowlands and The Lowlands are fighting back as best they can. And that isThe army of the Wasp Empire is still carrying on with their invasion of The Lowlands and The Lowlands are fighting back as best they can. And that is the main crux of this volume - Warfare. There are several major battles (no spoilers but if you've read Empire in Black and Gold you'll not be surprised to find one of them is the battle for Tark) and these are graphic battles. War is not a pleasant experience and Mr Tchaikovsky makes a great job of making the scenes quite brutal at times. Unlike in many books of this ilk though this, thanks to the Artificers, is a war of invention. People are basically inventing newer and more efficient ways to destroy the enemy and this is another area where the author excels as these people have to deal with the aftermath of what they have created.
As well as many of the old faces from 'Empire' we are introduced to a whole host of new characters, races and places. Not everyone may be where you would expect them to be by the conclusion, but again, they all have their reasons. There is a good amount of foreshadowing which promises well for future books but, to be honest, this series has got its' hooks well and truly into me so I would have been after the in the series anyway.
How good is this as a series? Lets just say I have plenty of books on my To Be Read pile but although I planned on reading 'Shadows of the Apt' one book every month or so, interspersed with others, within a couple of hours of finishing Dragonfly Falling Stenwold, Che, Grief in Chains et al were calling and I had to listen. ...more
What a great way to start a series. I really liked the ideas in this book. The inhabitants of this world all share racial traits with insects i.e. BeeWhat a great way to start a series. I really liked the ideas in this book. The inhabitants of this world all share racial traits with insects i.e. Beetles, Dragonflies, spiders etc. I thought, setting out, that I might have problems getting my head round this but that turned out not to be the case at all.
The world setting is an early industrial one so there are things like factories, transport craft and the start of railroads (so it verges on being a fantasy/steampunk hybrid), which all makes a change from the usual middle ages/ Robin Hood type setting (not that those settings are bad, I just like a bit of a change sometimes).
The story rattles along at a good pace, fleshing out the characters and world as it goes along and the author does a great job of getting inside the heads of the characters.
I am certainly looking forward to the rest of the series...more
Tim Dry has led a varied career. He's been part of performance troupe SHOCK, one half of Tik and Tok (and if you don't know Tik and Tok do yourself aTim Dry has led a varied career. He's been part of performance troupe SHOCK, one half of Tik and Tok (and if you don't know Tik and Tok do yourself a favour and look them up on your favourite video watching channel), he's been a mime and an actor. It's mainly the actor persona here but the music gets a look in too.
The book, as the title suggests, covers the time that Tim was given the chance to appear in the third STAR WARS film, Return of the Jedi and the years following when he was asked to attend conventions of all shapes and sizes.
It is, as you would expect, a very anecdotal book but the thing is, some people can tell anecdotal tales and some cannot. Fortunately Tim Dry can and does so really well. Reading this is very much like sitting in front of a roaring fire, with a comfy chair and a large brandy and just listening to funny story after funny story. Not all the conventions and collector gatherings are the most glamorous of settings but all have a story.
Throughout the book Tim Dry comes across as a bit of a cheeky chappy (my favourite story was the fart noise escapade in Kamen, Germany). The humour is schoolboy like in tone at times but for STAR WARS fans, Tim Dry (in his various guises) fans or just fans of a well told anecdote you won't go far wrong with this book. I will certainly be looking out for more from Mr. Dry in the future...more
A short novella that bridges the gap between Sanderson's first 2 reckoners books. In short, Steelheart, the supposedly immortal Epic is dead, the cityA short novella that bridges the gap between Sanderson's first 2 reckoners books. In short, Steelheart, the supposedly immortal Epic is dead, the city of Newcago is coming to terms with the idea of not living in thrall to him any more. All is well and good until David spots a possible new Epic in town.
This is only a 50 or so page story but there is also a preview chapter or two of Firefight and I do actually believe that if I had ignored this book because of its small size I would have missed out...more
Really enjoyed this. kind of 'reverse superheroes' type story. Classed as a Young Adult book but, in my opinion, it isn't. All ages will enjoy this. AReally enjoyed this. kind of 'reverse superheroes' type story. Classed as a Young Adult book but, in my opinion, it isn't. All ages will enjoy this. Another winner from Brandon Sanderson...more