Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dragonfly Falling (Shadows of the Apt, #2)” as Want to Read:
Dragonfly Falling (Shadows of the Apt, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dragonfly Falling

(Shadows of the Apt #2)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,524 ratings  ·  175 reviews
Two young companions, Totho and Salma, arrive at Tark to spy on the menacing Wasp army, but are there mistakenly apprehended as enemy agents. By the time they are freed, the city is already under siege. Over in the imperial capital the young emperor, Alvdan, is becoming captivated by a remarkable slave, the vampiric Uctebri, who claims he knows of magic that can grant eter ...more
Paperback, 673 pages
Published February 6th 2009 by Tor Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dragonfly Falling, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dragonfly Falling

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,524 ratings  ·  175 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Dragonfly Falling (Shadows of the Apt, #2)
Oct 27, 2015 rated it liked it
The good? Non-stop action. It's war and it's really war, with all the grand deaths you could ever hope, and for me, the world-building of all these insect-ish humans helps drag me *out* of feeling emotionally invested, so I could get through so much death and destruction without falling into a stupor of sadness.

Drephos really stands out as mr. mad scientist and I did really enjoy the hell out of him. The artificers in general got me going pretty good and some of the reversals were rather enjoyab
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This is the second book in the Shadows of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

He’s one of my favourite authors. If you're reluctant to dive into a long series without first getting to know an author, I've got a few recommendations. Fantasy: Guns of the Dawn (Austen's Elizabeth Bennet goes to war); Sci-Fi: Children of Time and Dogs of War.

The premise of the Shadows of the Apt series (which spans ten books) is simple: every species in this fantasy series is an insect-kinden, and has got the manne
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Better late than never! Review is finally in!

Review to come; I struggle to avoid gushing right now. The main features are the story (so much happening, so many different story lines balanced beautifully) and the characters. Their development is just uncanny; their morality is dubious in many cases and it makes it for an incredible journey.
I cannot wait to start Blood of the Mantis.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

That was a really good book. Dragonfly Falling took all of the good things from Empire in Black and Gold and made them better. It’s a sequel that improves on what was already a high quality start to the series and takes it to even greater heights.

At the end of the first book Stenwold and his charges had managed to stop the Wasp’s attempt to take Collegium by surprise. But now the real war begins. The hidden strategies are over and the Wasp Empire makes its move to take over the Lowland
Chris Berko
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Definitely an improvement on the first, which was no slouch of a book. Bigger in scope but not hard to follow. There's a lot going on in here, a technological evolution, multiple war fronts, interpersonal drama, politics, a lot of shit. But it is fun throughout and highly highly original. Fo sho continuing the series. ...more
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
"Have you any idea how many bolts we've loosed in the last few seconds? Let Malkan spend his men instead, because they are more easily replaced."

I expected more of the same from the first book of this series, and when I read Dragonfly Falling, I was very surprised, because where the first book is at most a story of duels and skirmishes and guerrilla battles in the streets, this one drops you into a war. And I don't mean that there is a whole book worth of setup and then the war is the climax. Th
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
The second book is even more about war than the first one ... strictly speaking it is one long account of war on several fronts. At first I wasn't sure I'd like that, but as the war goes on, the known characters from book one find themselves in different places and sometimes even on different sides of the battle. Some get even more depth and grey layers which is quite rewarding to witness. My two favs from book one, Cheerwell and Tynisa, didn't get many scenes in this second book, but I was assu ...more
Beaulah Pragg
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
With his series, Shadows of the Apt, Adrian Tchaikovsky has created a vast, detailed world, peopled with a wide variety of races that each have their own, unique looks and skills. Inside this place, there is a war coming... a war that will change the face of the 'lowlands' forever.

The interesting thing about this series, which I must admit put me off a little at the beginning, is the way that everyone is associated with different forms of insects - from beetles through to dragonflies, wasps, spi
Feb 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book the first grabbed me with its adventurous plot and a handful of character relationships that offered interesting drama. In the sequel, Tchaikovsky picks up these two threads and then adds a bunch of political machinations and warmongering. We meet some royal and military personages and we dally in map rooms and throne rooms and other places where big decisions get made by the big bad asses in the story.

All of this maneuvering: not interesting.

BAD GUYS: Let's push this army over here.

Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2010, e-books
This is really such a great novel, that it is hard to believe that is the second book of a series. This is an extremely fast paced, relentless, and unforgiving story that puts all our heroes in death's way. This novel is filled with plot twists and character development all the while it is a novel about war. I really have grown to love the insect kinden take on race and think that it makes for great fantasy. I will definately pick up the 3rd book now and recommend all fantasy readers to jump int ...more
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Dragonfly Falling is the amazing follow-up to Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Empire in Black and Gold. The story directly follows the events of book 1. The wasps have increased their hold on the lowlands, and the position of our heroes is much more precarious. The empire has begun its assault and the blood is flowing. Tchaikovsky’s battle descriptions are nothing short of epic, bloody, and gritty, with nail-biting sequences that seem to run for pages. Empire in Black and Gold introduced you to the players ...more
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow this one took forever. It's not a bad book, exactly, but it's long and so much of it is about fighting. I do not really like reading about fighting. I wish I could have read an abridged version of this book that was about half as long but covered the same plot and character points. The pacing was also strange, the battles in the first half are lovingly detailed and then the last quarter of the book it's like "this happened, this happened, this happened."

I find the overall plot to be pretty s
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
More reviews at

Welcome back to the Lowlands, where the wasp empire is expanding its reach across the world with the threat of war at the doorstep of the other Kinden. If you thought there was no way Adrian Tchaikovsky could possible top the incredible ride we all experienced in Empire in Black and Gold, you are sadly mistaken. Dragonfly Falling has so many themes, twist, character growth, and the harsh realities of war that I can’t consider this sequel anything short of
Nutshell: survivor of genocide uses general belligerence involving all prior protagonists as cover to retrieve numinous object.

The number and variety of perspectives increases beyond the point of easy management in this volume. Narrative twists and turns like a twisty turny thing as the plot assimilates added perspectives and kills off plenty of folks.

Volume opens with what is a standard ruling class perspective, the emperor of the wasp empire; this type of narration is fast becoming my bete noi
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

In Dragonfly Falling, second novel of Shadows of the Apt, the plot that began in Empire in Black and Gold continues at a breakneck pace. We meet new characters, find new motives in old characters, and are shown a multitude of twists that come completely unexpected.

Dragonfly Falling is about war. The entirety of the novel takes us from siege to siege, battle to battle, and duel to duel. We live through the sieges, from frontline infantry to generals in comm
Ben. Newland
You know what’s cool?




So, clearly, a fantasy story with bugs would be awesome. This is the second book in the “Shadows of the Apt” series. I enjoyed the first more than well enough to partake of the second. Fortunately, the same neighbor who had the first loaned me the second.

Much of what I said about the first novel applies again, though I felt like this one was even better. The plot was more fluid, the characters better defined, and the emotion clear and poignant. Part of this
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it

Dragonfly Falling is Adrian Tchaikovsky’s exciting sequel to his debut Empire in Black and Gold, and is book two of the SHADOWS OF THE APT series. While the principal narrative is that the Wasp Empire has now fully commenced its war on the Lowlands in its endless quest for power, I agree wholeheartedly with Terry when she notes that the war itself isn’t the most engaging part of this novel. Rather, it’s all espionage and politics, which is all the more comp
Luke Taylor
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whilst carrying a deceptive title more psychological than physical in meaning, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s second brick in the enormous architectural structure of his epic Shadows of The Apt series slides a few new characters into place and provides those we’ve grown attached to with their own moments to stretch and grow and ultimately shine in the tangled web of spycraft and the spear-toothed gears of multi-ethnic war. As with Empire In Black And Gold, this novel feels long and tremendously detailed, ...more
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An enjoyable second volume in the "Shadows of the Apt" trilogy. The novel is fast-paced and the quality of the writing seems improved from the first novel. The world-building is still one of the most notable aspects of the book, it is very original and imaginative and despite being alien in many ways Tchaikovsky does make the world sound fairly plausible and well thought-out. The plot was compelling, and I like the way the focus is gradually moving away from the Wasp Empire invasion that initial ...more
Dec 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Bugs bugs bugs


This world building is so good!!!!

Plot is pretty decent as well, but the battles were a bit drawn out + there were too many of them so it was difficult to keep track when one ended and the next began. I would say the same about the abundance of perspectives, but all the characters are distinct so that didn’t pose too much of an issue.

Bugs! bugs! bugs!

Madhurabharatula Pranav Rohit Kasinath
This is a review of the entire series - there are NO spoilers.

When I look back at the Shadows of the Apt, what strikes me at first might seem incongruous to most.

There are no unnecessary descriptions of food.

None at all.

10 books, each of them 400 to 700 pages in length - covering battles, history and multiple points of view - and not a single one of them had any descriptions of food.

Or sex, clothing, family crests, whores or incest.

And I loved it.

Not a single wasted line.

There may be many
Rudi Opperman
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This is an amazing series, the scope of imagination and the intricacy are incredible. Has all the elements you would look for in fantasy.
Highness Atharva
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Shadows of the Apt Book 2
*Dragonfly Falling*
Chapter by Chapter Analysis
1.The new Emperor of Wasps, Alvdan ii is brought into limelight and the family information is presented like an article. The ancestral history and other data is also presented. Its good to see the Emperor of Wasps. Back at the Collegium we see Thalric meeting with the Wasp spies and after the loss at the ‘Pride Battle’ he conspires to murder Stenwold Maker. A very notable and a solid chapter with a quick recap.
2.We see some n
Will R
Mar 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This series is getting stronger as the books move through. The insect-driven racial divides begin to reveal deeper texture than initially thought, as Tchaikovsky shows more and more ethnicities and divisions. The hints at the bigger picture start coming through.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
What a wonderfully wrenching book. So many battles that feel truly awful - and that's a good thing! War isn't fantasy here; isn't about glory or heroism - it's about survival. It's a war of aggression, of imperialism... and that makes it all the more interesting that we are beginning to get glimpses into the men and machinations behind the scenes.

Would've been five stars except that both heteronormativity and misogyny/sexual violence against women really bugs (hah) me in fantasy - look, at the p
Christina Stind
Sep 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, series, 2011
I really liked the first volume in this series - but what I liked the most, was the newness of the insect-kinden that made this book so very interesting. But the question of course was, if these kinden would hold up so that volume 2 would be up to the standards of the first volume. And the good news are - volume 2 is even better than volume 1.
So with how volume 1 ended, I expected that this one would focus on the Wasps military advances. And it did, to some extent, but more, the focus was on so
Jared Millet
I’m really enjoying this series, more than any other fantasy novels I’m currently plowing through other than, possibly, A Song of Ice and Fire. And in this volume, with all his world-building out of the way, Tchaikovsky definitely sets out for GRR Martin territory. Like Martin, he balances dozens of characters and plotlines, each with their own motivations and impact on the thrust of the novel as a whole. And also like Martin, he avoids painting anyone as completely good or completely evil (with ...more
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Whenever you read the second book on a trilogy, quadrology or in a series, it's either a hit or a complete miss, and believe me, I have read a lot, this one Dragonfly Falling is a bonafide HIT!!!!

From the moment I read about the insect-kinden, I was already interested, the perfect blend of insect to human traits, Mr. Tchaikovsky has a true follower with me, a bit wary at first since I truly despise the arachnids(damn heebie jeebies!!!! BRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!), again much to my surprise, I actually lik

Superb continuation to Empire in Black in Gold. Smoother than the original and packed with action and sense of wonder.

The invasion of the Lowlands starts with the siege of Tark. The Collegium is not be suborned by Thalric and his agents, and finally listens to Stenwold so Thalric carries plan 2, sealing an alliance of the Empire with the rogue ant city of Vek which is happy to try and take revenge on the Collegium knowing that the only force that can stop them, the rival ant city of Sarn will
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Siege of Rage and Ruin (The Wells of Sorcery, #3)
  • The Quantum Garden (The Quantum Evolution #2)
  • Call of the Bone Ships (The Tide Child #2)
  • There Is No Antimemetics Division
  • A Desolation Called Peace (Teixcalaan, #2)
  • Light of Impossible Stars (Embers of War, #3)
  • Purgatory Mount
  • The House of Styx (Venus Ascendant, #1)
  • The Lessons Never Learned (The War Eternal, #2)
  • Fleet of Knives (Embers of War, #2)
  • The Trouble with Peace (The Age of Madness, #2)
  • How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It (The Siege, #2)
  • Unconquerable Sun (The Sun Chronicles, #1)
  • The Fires of Vengeance (The Burning, #2)
  • Folklords
  • Destroyer of Worlds (Saga of the Forgotten Warrior, #3)
  • The Trials of Koli (Rampart Trilogy, #2)
  • Antony and Cleopatra
See similar books…
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.

Other books in the series

Shadows of the Apt (10 books)
  • Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt, #1)
  • Blood of the Mantis (Shadows of the Apt, #3)
  • Salute the Dark (Shadows of the Apt #4)
  • The Scarab Path (Shadows of the Apt, #5)
  • The Sea Watch (Shadows of the Apt, #6)
  • Heirs of the Blade (Shadows of the Apt, #7)
  • The Air War (Shadows of the Apt, #8)
  • War Master's Gate (Shadows of the Apt, #9)
  • Seal of the Worm (Shadows of the Apt, #10)

News & Interviews

Psychological thrillers that will leave your head spinning. Cold cases, detectives hot on a trail, unreliable narrators, and a dash of poison...
151 likes · 87 comments
I was young at Myna, that first time. When had the change come? He had retreated to here, to Collegium, to spin his awkward webs of intrigue and to lecture at the College. Then, years on, the call had come for action. He had gone to that chest in which he stored his youth and found that, like some armour long unworn, it had rusted away.

He tried to tell himself that this was not like the grumbling of any other man who finds the prime of his life behind him. I need my youth and strength now, as never before. A shame that one could no husband time until one needed it. All his thoughts rang hollow. He was past his best and that was the thorn that would not be plucked from his side. He was no different from any tradesman or scholar who, during a life of indolence, pauses partway up the stairs to think, This was not so hard, yesterday.
“Ah, but it is an interesting thing, that these things can so seldom be proved. If I were to perform some piece of, hrmf, magic for you, here in this room, you would claim a thousand ways it could have been done. Indeed, those ways might be exceedingly unlikely, but you would cling to them rather than accept the, mmn, the chance that magic, the eternal inexplicable, might be the true agent, and if you were strong enough in yourself, unafraid, unthreatened, here in your own chambers, well perhaps there would be no magic worked at all. It is a subjective force, you see, whereas the physical laws of the artificers are objective. A gear-train will turn without faith, but magic may not. And so, when your people demand, mmn, proof, there is none, but when you have forgotten and dismissed it, then magic creeps back into the gaps where you do not look for it.” 4 likes
More quotes…