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Dragonfly Falling (Shadows of the Apt #2)

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  3,803 Ratings  ·  135 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, 465 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Pyr (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Rating details
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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
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Beaulah Pragg
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
bald mage review photo 21676689-0e69-45a6-908c-2a05ad200d70_zpspsu1qg21.jpg

"Among his own people, death was a swift insect, gleaming black, its wings a blur - too fast to be outrun and too agile to be avoided, the unplumbed void in which he swam was but the depth of a single facet of its darkly jewelled eyes.”

Drogonfly Falling is the second instalment of the shadows of the apt series and follows the adventures of Stenwold, Che, Tisamon, Tybisa, Salma, Totho and a host of other characters in their fight against the massive and foreboding Wasp Empire.

Led by their powe
May 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Benjamin 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
Kevin Wei
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Shelves: fantasy
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Highness Atharva

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
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook-only, 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
Sep 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, fantasy, fiction, series
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
Бранимир Събев
Империята на осите продължава да се разраства, но така е с големите империи - трябва постоянно да растат, да обсебват нови територии и ресурси, защото в противен случай просто ще загният и ще се разпаднат. Следващата цел са основните, важни градове в Равнините - Тарк, крепост на мравкородни, всеизвестният с фабриките и престъпността си Хелерон и... космополитния Колегиум, средището на Академията, философията, занаятите и родно място на нашите герои.

Докато обаче войните текат по куп фронтове, Имп
Jared Millet
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
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

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
Илиян Маринов
Добро продължение на поредицата "Сянката на Умелите". Първата книга от поредицата, беше нещо като въведение в историята, света, героите и взаимоотношенията между всички раси, което прави първата книга по-лека. Втората книга ни впуска в самата война и няма страница, на която да ѝ липсва напрежение. Книгата е сложно написана и самият факт, че сюжетът се развива бързо и е написана възможно най-детайлно, доказва колко добър е авторът и как добре развива и намества историята си в жанра. Единствените ...more
Petr Čapek
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pád vážky jenom potvrzuje fakt, že Tchaikovsky patří mezi nejlepší vypravěče fantasy a rozhodně si své místo zaslouží. V cyklu Stíny vědoucích nalezneme vše, co by si pravověrný fanoušek fantasy přál. Očekávejme hrdinské činy, intriky, velké lásky i náznaky, že Impérium Vos není vše, co nás v této sérii čeká. Všem, které Tchaikovskyho cyklus zaujal nezbývá než doufat, že se nad námi Zoner smiluje a vydá i další knihy z tohoto cyklu.
Petra Machová
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Skvělé pokračování. Jednotlivé postavy se vyvíjí a mnohé ne pěkným směrem. Světem pořádně hýbe válka a hlavní hrdinové s tím musí poprat každý za sebe. Miluji tuhle sérii. Svět lidí s hmyzími aspekty mě dostal, působí reálně a živě, do detailu. Styl Tchaikowského není náročný a rychle se čte.
Kdo nezná, šup do knihovny.
Jen Williams
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tremendous piece of epic fantasy! Loved it even more than the first book.
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great addition to the series, can't wait to read the rest.
Adam Whitehead
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
War has come to the Lowlands. Three great cities - Tark, Collegium and Sarn - are in danger of assault from the Wasp Empire and their allies, with the Empire hoping to seize all of the Lowlands in a single, swift campaign. In Collegium, the spymaster Stenwold Maker finds himself pressed into leading the defence of the city of students and artificers against the disciplined Ant-soldiers of Vek. In Tark, Salma and Totho find themselves aiding the defence against the Wasp onslaught, whilst in Sarn ...more
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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.
More about Adrian Tchaikovsky

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)

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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.” 2 likes
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