Mark's Reviews > Blood of the Mantis

Blood of the Mantis by Adrian Tchaikovsky
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Jun 18, 2011

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bookshelves: fantasy
Read from June 18 to 20, 2011

The third book of this series is a setup book and the shortest of the three so far. It feels like it. A lot of the action takes place in far-flung locales and to me it seemed like there wasn't as smooth a transition from the second to third book as there was from first to second. I think I would have liked more time spent on the attempt to hold together the coalition in Sarn and trying to recover the shadow box than whatever was going on at the far end of the Spiderlands, but so it goes.

It's probably for the better that the third book didn't pick up the same frantic pace of war as the second. This is a return to some of the espionage and diplomacy kind of stuff, with plots for the most part moving forward just enough to leave the places set for another round of bloodshed, especially now that the snapbows are more widely available and the crazy artificer Drephos is off to try to unleash some new weapon on the unruly Bee-kinden.

There is a lot of intrigue within the Empire and also from the Spiderlands, which I think are made plain enough to the reader but held apart from the characters to create some tension and dramatic irony without getting too deep into any of it. We'll see what comes from the moves made in this volume.

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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Tamara ha! I'm glad to see you're apparently doing exactly what I did, which was pick up Empire in Black and Gold, and then promptly *have* to read all five then available books.

Mark I'm going to be in trouble when I get through the fourth book, too, because that's the last one that exists in the library system at the moment. The fifth one is on order and the sixth and seventh don't appear at all. Maybe the US publisher hasn't caught up to the rest of the world.

Jennifer I had to get the sixth from the UK. Canada had both the UK and US version with the exception of the sixth book. I had the UK version anyway, but it is strange why I can get the first 5 books here, but not the sixth!

Tamara I think its the weakest of the lot too, though in retrospect I remember all the stuff around the lake in the north, which seemed diversionary at the time, really fondly. Salute the Dark is much...well, darker, though its still frentic, and then the Scarab Path is, I think, a significant jump in quality, thanks in large part to slowing down a bit for once.

Mark I thought the Exalsee stuff seemed more extraneous to the plot than the Shadow Box stuff by the lake. At least the box had been set up some in the previous book. Though I guess so were some vague mentions of Solarno. But "keep bad guys from getting MacGuffin" is a lot more straightforward in its relevance to the overall plot than "keep Wasp Empire from invading place not even on the map in the first two books."

It just seemed like a lot of pages to essentially convey the message that the Spider-kinden are playing a deeper game.

William I agree it is the weakest of the series to date and the Exalsee bit of the plot seems a bit peripheral to the main story arc (although I still enjoyed it). I think at times Tchaikovsky is just trying to show as much of his world as possible even if it doesn't entirely fit with the overall direction of the story.

Tamara Mark wrote: "I thought the Exalsee stuff seemed more extraneous to the plot than the Shadow Box stuff by the lake.

Yeah, I suppose it makes more sense ultimately, but at the time it was like the Exalsee had some big political purpose that I figured was going to tie back into the main plot, while the Lake bits were too obviously McGuffiny, thought again, there was a nicely dire atmosphere there, in the setting and in that combination of characters (Thalric, Achaeos and Tisamon! Most depressing buddy comedy ever!) thats stayed with me, while I can remember very little about the Exalsee.

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