The second in the Shadow of the Apt series...
Following on from the first in the series, Empire in Black and Gold, Tchaikovsky delivers a killer blow to his contemporary fantasy novelists with Dragonfly Falling. It is entirely without fault or flaw, extreme in its deposition of a world at war, bloody in its harrowing battle scenes and mesmerising in its detailed mastery of weaponry and use of Art versus Apt.
We join Stenwold Maker and his comrades once more as they diligently search out allies in their fight against the swarm of wasp-kinden eating up the ground between Collegium and the rest of the Lowlands. No character is left un-turned, as we delve further and further into each of their own fears, thoughts and actions. Although a few will leave the story in this instalment.
The war has begun. The wasps are at Tark's door and ready to overrun them. Meanwhile, Collegium itself is at risk of falling to the Vekken Ants, whose decades old grudge against the city and their blood lust for revenge are kindled by the slights and deviousness of the wasps. Jaw dropping battle scenes are fleshed out with such intensity you feel as though they are being played out in 3D in your mind - every sight and every sound echoing around your head, as you race towards the conclusion... But this is a different journey to Empire in Black and Gold - for friends are turned foe and foe is turned friend. Unlikely allegiances are formed from all quarters, with the Spider-kinden and Mantis-kinden coming to the aid of Collegium in a dramatic turn of events. But perhaps more astonishing and alluring of all is the discovery of some great power that is to be set free - the Shadow Box.
It is hard to be impartial when a series has caught your imagination and set it alight in the way Tchaikovsky's Shadow of the Apt series has, and in all fairness, you would know from the outset if this genre isn't to your tastes. For those who have a rapturous fondness or obsessive love for Tolkienís Lord of the Rings - this series has all those ingredients that will whip you up into a frenzy all over again.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012