Nick Reys's Reviews > Blood of the Mantis

Blood of the Mantis by Adrian Tchaikovsky
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Aug 09, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: own, read-2011
Read from September 23 to October 04, 2011 — I own a copy

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadow Of The Apt is quickly becoming one of those series where every new book is highly anticipated. With anticipation, however, comes expectation and when one starts skyrocketing, the other usually does as well. The laws of reading do state, however, that the higher expectation, the more likely becomes disappointment. It’s up to the writer to make sure that anticipation and thus expectation is high where disappointment is avoided at all cost. Guess which series was able to do that?

The thing that made this third book in the series particularly vulnerable to disappointment is the fact that this is quite a different novel compared to the first two instalments. Whereas those were primarily books filled with warfare – and big books at that – Blood Of The Mantis is anything but that. At 430 pages, it is quite a bit less big and also in terms of plot it takes quite a different course. Gone are the big fights and battles and instead the main focus here is on the intrigue and smaller collisions. This book also sees the fighting – if it does happen – taking place in the air.
The storylines lead out in the first two novels are barely touched upon and instead new threads are woven into the existing story. Blood Of The Mantis is nothing but a set-up for the big finale of the current story arc in the fourth book, but that is not to say that things aren’t interesting. Magic is slowly coming back to lay its claim on the world and this is helped by the creepy Mosquito-kinden who perform some very disturbing magic. This book also sees another growth in terms of worldbuilding as we discover new places in the world and get acquainted with some new kinden. Blood Of The Mantis showcases very tight plotting, instead of the big stories from the first and second book and it works very well in this case. It really mixes things up and provides a nice reprieve from all the warfare.
This book also sees in reduction in characters as the crew is split up and we solely follow the story from three POV’s. This makes for a deepening of those characters and the one who profits most from this, is Thalric. He’s always been quite a fascinating character and it has become quite hard to pinpoint which sides he’s actually on. Here, he gets a lot of narrative and you as a reader get the chance to make up your mind about him. I, for one, quite like him despite him being a Wasp and the fact that I don’t trust him. The limitation to only three POV’s also gives the book a nice flow and allows for things to develop quite naturally, instead of the restless shifting between different settings and characters in the previous novels.
The writing also made this book very engaging and to be more specific, the lack of chronology therein. See, at the beginning and ending of the book, there is a shift in time which provides quite a dramatic flavour to the story. If it were told in chronological order, then things would have been way less exciting than they are now. I thought this was quite a clever trick to pull and highly appreciated the tension this brought with it.

In the end, Blood Of The Mantis is mainly setting things up to come to a dramatic conclusion in the fourth book but it sets things up in style. Whereas the ending doesn’t feel forced in any way, it does feel – compared to the first two books – unfinished. There is only one solution for that, and that’s reading Salute The Dark ASAP.
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12/30/2016 marked as: read

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