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4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,662 ratings  ·  293 reviews
The Church of Armes of the Light has battled the forces of Darkness for as long as anyone can remember. The great prophecy has foretold that a band of misfits, led by a high priestess will defeat the Dark Lord Darvezian, armed with their wits, the blessing of the Light and an artifact stolen from the merciless Spider Queen.

Their journey will be long, hard and fraught with
Paperback, 291 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by
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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,662 ratings  ·  293 reviews

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Sep 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It starts like a classic quest, with a party determined to kill the Dark Lord, but becomes decidedly unusual when the questers turn a giant spider into a human because they need a guide into the Dark Lord's territory. The spider-human, Nth, gets a crash course in what it means to be human, and everyone else a crash course on quests and Dark Lords and why they shouldn't be trusted.
It's by turns laugh-out humorous and heartbreaking--the chapters from Nth's point of view, in particular, convey what
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Dark lord, a world of Light under threat by the Dark, an adventuring party and a prophecy that says the path to victory is via the spider's path.

The adventuring party gains the help of a giant spider and transform him into something more humanoid so that he can pass through human lands. There's Dion, a cleric of the Light who is questioning her faith and the methods she is using, Penthos, a powerful wizard whose connection to the rest of humanity is narrow at best, Cyrene, an archer who strugg
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading quite a few of this author's books I had decided that I preferred his sci fi to his fantasy writings. Then I read this book and changed my mind.

Spiderlight begins in an ordinary fashion with all the tropes - a quest, dark versus light, a world full of magic and weird creatures. Even the main characters are what you would expect, including a slightly crazy, fire loving magician, a self righteous man of god and a cheeky, loveable thief. There is a lot of humour in events and dialogue
Brilliant conversion of Sword and Sorcery tropes

Is there anything that Tchaikovsky can't write? It is his first Fantasy book I've read. I'm a big fan of his SF but tiptoed around his Fantasy, cause I don't like Sword and Sorcery that much. Well … I was positively and overwhelmingly surprised.

In the first part of the book I giggled myself through the pages as I followed the fellowship of crazy misfits on their journey to bring the Light to conquer the Dark: A priestess who starts wavering in her
I’ve got a special place in my heart for all things D&D. All I needed was one look at this book’s cover and blurb to convince me to buy Spiderlight, to be honest. I’m that easily swayed!

On the surface, this is the exact story I was expecting, the one that I’ve read a million times by now. It’s very clear that Tchaikovsky generously borrowed some of the bigger D&D tropes to set up what is an immensely traditional fantasy world. Here, he uses the sub-genre’s concept of alignment. There are creatur
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Because of Gabi's revew... even though it is the kind of fantasy I'm not into. ... Done. Oh gosh she was right.

Brilliant, yes. Original. Thought-provoking. Fun. Sly. Meta. All the praise.

So, 4.5 stars rounded up. Maybe I can't recommend it to *everyone* but I certainly can to anyone who reads Horror, or SF, or Fantasy, or Fairy Tales. Anyone interested in Aliens, Good vs. Evil, Questing Misfits, Feminism, Existentialism, Religion, World-Building, or the remaking of Tropes & Conventions & Lore. A
Feb 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-epic
Spiderlight was a fun tale, a vintage sword and sorcery story that hits on all the old tropes.

I have to admit to some trouble with the first half, however, plagued as I was by doubts as to the intentions behind it. Was it a bad parody of old school fantasy, or was it a wink-and-nod homage to the same?

Seriously, it felt as if Adrian Tchaikovsky pulled out his old roleplaying books, rolled himself a few characters, pulled up a few monsters, and then let his inner dungeon master run free with the m
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
4.5 stars

Spiderlight is sublime sword & sorcery with great characters, some serious moral and ethical questions and splendid humour. It kept me guessing and surprised me on more than one occasion, while maintaining a superb pace and still keeping up the laughs.

The story is based on the age old fantasy staple of a quest (what else are Dark Lords for but to be defeated as per the prophecy?) and a rag-tag team that needs to fulfill it. This is where the real magic is. The team. Oh, how they bicker
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spiderlight is a very entertaining novel that utilizes all the calcified tropes of the epic fantasy genre - warriors of the Light are on a quest to stop the forces of Darkness! - to weave a clever little meta-fable about identity and free will. The plot finds Dion - "The Chosen One" - and her by the book band of adventurers (thief, warrior, mage, etc.) taking a Spider called Nth hostage to force him to guide them to the fortress of "The Dark One". Despite being the "heroes" of the story, their t ...more
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sword and sorcery at its finest! Absolutely loved it!
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016, e-books
4 Stars

Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky is a fun, classic sword and sorcery romp that seems geared towards the young adult crowd. Disclaimer: I am a huge fan of Tchaikovsky and will surely read everything that he ever writes. He gives us an action packed tale of the typical quest to vanquish the dark Lord.

Why should you read this? If you are already a fan of Adrian Tchaikovsky then this is a no-brainer easy read that you should pick up just to experience the lighter side. I am sure as an autho
Timothy Boyd
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy finding a new writer that I like their writing. I love finding a new writer that just blows me away with the first book of their's I read. John Scalzi did that for me a few years ago and now Adrian Tchaikovsky has done it. The only bad thing is he has alot of books out so my reading list just got way longer. Oh well, medical technology is getting better every year so maybe I'll last long enough to get all my books read. Great fantasy novel with action and humor throughout with an interes ...more
Laura Hughes
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, that was awesome! Full review coming at some point on Fantasy-Faction. :)
Apr 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ladies and gentlemen, I ask forgiveness for having them almost two weeks without criticism. I decided to take a vacation, although I have read. At first my idea was to have written the criticism of "the gates of Anubis ' & from_search = true
and after the death of Gene Wolfe
(to who God have in his glory), but as my criticism of "Spiderlight" is enough controversy I've decided to start this to defend myself. My int
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliantly clever novella which uses a traditional fantasy setting and some very original fantasy concepts to explore questions around faith and identity.

Our protagonists decide to compromise their beliefs by allying themselves with spiders, creatures who are of the Dark, in the war against the Dark Lord. We switch perspectives between them and the spider Nth, transformed into the shape of a man, and watch the relationship between them grow and change to something much more complicated than tha
David Stewart
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back in the 90s - I say, dating myself - there were multiple novel series set in different Dungeons and Dragons campaign worlds; mostly Dragonlance and The Forgotten Realms. These included some gems like Salvatore's Drizzt series and the Dragonlance narrative itself. These two sagas were fantasy comfort food that one didn't have to think too much about and that spawned a plethora of imitations - copycat novels that would not be published in today's competitive climate. They were the fantasy equi ...more
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was caught out by this one a little bit, but for all the right reasons.

An intelligent "quest"story but jam packed full of ethics, morals and lessons on human (and spider) behaviour.

A quick and tight read. Also the perfect primer for the authors main series "Shadows of the Apt" which I'm preparing to begin reading in the near future.
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
I will try to make a review in a couple of days.
Suffice to say it's very different. It views some more common tropes from Fiction (mainly fantasy) and play around with them to the point of absurdity.

Very interesting indeed.
Serene  Morticia
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
WOW okay, that was... different.

'The moral certainty of the Light's crusading methods was an easy thing to vouch for, when you only saw it from the side that held the sword and the disc.'

This was a fantastic exploration and analysis of what justifies Good, Evil prejudice and discrimination through resonate storytelling. For those who are familiar with the Milgram experiment, this powerful parable sought to ask questions central to this kind of theme - "How far will a society go simply becaus
Aug 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never read a book that was so much fun and also so incredibly thought provoking all at the same time. A band of rightious adventurers out to defeat a dark lord need a spider to complete a prophecy. But as no one wants to spend months in the company of a spider they turn it into a man, or at least a man shaped thing. Hijinks ensue! And a thoughtful exploration of consent and ideas of self hood. That also ensues. ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one was pretty darn fun to read. As others have stated before, and reviewers far better than, it begins as if you are in the middle of the group's quest. Basically imagine as if the Fellowship from LOTR had entered Mirkwood with the express reason to take a fang from Shelob and get a direct hidden pathway to find and kill the Dark Lord. That is the crust of the bread of this book. The really great part is the inside of the sandwich, the character motivations and interactions. That is where ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stop me if you've heard this one: a cleric, a wizard, a paladin, a ranger, and a thief are on a quest to fulfill a prophecy and defeat a Dark Lord.


See, Spiderlight is a "however" book. There's a Dark Lord controlling a horde of Dark creatures, however, he's not the first one. There's a prophecy, however it involves our heroes doing less than savory stuff. There's our heroes, champions of Light, however they're, eh, less than likeable on occasion. There's a noble quest to save the world,
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. A band of adventurers and a resentfully helpful spider are on a journey to defeat the Dark Lord Darvezian. The characters are both familiar and refreshing, with a unique take on the typical fantasy templates. I found it really hard to pick a favourite, but if I had to choose, I'd go with Lief. Or Cyrene. Or Nth. No goddamit I can't choose- Adrian how do you do this every time?

Others have mentioned the parallels here with the polarisation of today's politics. It's definitely a
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great Fantasy tale. Witty, well written, with great characters and smartly built on all that came before. For my money, a must read. Even if you are not a Fantasy reader (which I am not).
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy


A dark lord has risen...again...and is marshaling his forces of darkness against the Church of Armes of the Light and all its followers, and it's up to a band of adventurers to stop him from extinguishing all the light in the world. Dion: priestess and champion of Armes, Lief: the sly, quick-witted rogue, Penthos: the master magician, Harathes: the holy warrior, Cyrene: the ranger, and Nth: a spider-turned-human forced to aid the fellowship in their journ
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is awesome.

On one layer, it's a great self-awarely snarky D&D campaign to kill the Dark Lord.
On the next, you get a discussion about the morals of sleeping with somebody who is magically enthralled to follow your orders, and about the nature of good and evil in general.

Almost the level of Terry Goodkind. :)

(view spoiler)
Cameron Johnston
Spiderlight is a wonderful slice of swords and sorcery adventure with the fantastic twist of one of the party being a magically transformed man-spider - and nobody gets into the mindset of an alien species quite like Adrian Tchaikovsky.

The main plot itself is nothing overly complex: a group of adventurers of the Light (with their own personal issues) setting out to defeat the lord of the Dark with the aid of a prophecy requiring the guidance of a vicious, intelligent spider leading them through
Jason Smith
I wanted to like this book, but it just seemed so forced. The premise is interesting but not executed well. Suspense never really builds, and despite the twist at the end the ending is still predictable. Most of the characters are static, and the whole story feels like the author doesn't know who to focus on. The narration has the feel of telling someone else's story for them. Also, the profanity is misplaced, and contributes to the author's struggle with diction. ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Itsy bitsy spider

How to turn the traditional epic saga of good vs evil, light vs dark, man vs monster omits head. Simple use everything everyone expects from that sort of story on its head. A brilliant tale of heroes and how they deal with their beliefs when having to ally with what they consider the enemy.
Corey Eiseman
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-sword
Sadly there were no sword-wielding octopods, but Spiderlight was a highly entertaining read. I can't say it was as innovative to Fantasy as the Children of Time series was to SF, but Tchaikovsky is a talented and versatile author. I'll be looking for more from him. (Presumably he writes things without spiders too.) ...more
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ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY was born in Lincolnshire and studied zoology and psychology at Reading, before practising law in Leeds. He is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor and is trained in stage-fighting. His literary influences include Gene Wolfe, Mervyn Peake, China Miéville, Mary Gently, Steven Erikson, Naomi Novak, Scott Lynch and Alan Campbell.

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“You’re a priestess. That means people don’t think of you the same way. But believe me, most of us basically can’t talk to a man without him looking us over and deciding whether or not he wants to give us the shaft. And if he does then, whatever else we are, whatever else we do, it’s always there, somewhere in his mind. And if he doesn’t fancy us, then that’s a judgment too, writing us off as a thing without value. You can’t get rid of it. And either way it means you’re always a woman, first. You’re not a warrior, or an archer, or even just a friend to drink with. You’re a woman, and that means you’ve got a place, and a use.” 0 likes
“New food. Different food. That had everyone’s interest. Across the span of the web, that was strung in mistlike sheets from tree to tree across their forest, he felt the others rousing, rising from their torpor. There was always food, even for so many bodies as Mother’s Brood ran to, but variety was welcome.” 0 likes
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