Target: Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Blood of the Mantis (Shadows of the Apt #3)
Profile: Alternative Fantasy, Steampunk, Epic Fantasy
Despite the fact that all but the 7th book in the Shadows of the Apt series were written before I started reading the first one, I can’t help but feel that Adrian Tchaikovsky somehow channeled my review of Dragonfly Falling when he was writing Blood of the Mantis. It is far more likely that Tchaikovsky saw for himself where his story was going off the rails and acted to correct the problem, but the reviewer in me is a little smug about being right, even if it was 3 years after the fact.
Mantis addressed all the problems I had with Dragonfly, from the sprawling story that proved harder to follow, to the bland characters, and even the minor focus issues that plagued the battle sequences. Unfortunately, he also overcorrected for some of these problems. An expansive world with more than a half-dozen plots is suddenly replaced with a tight narrative at the expense of several unresolved stories and lost PoV characters. The remaining cast starts to flesh out a little, but become strangled by their reduced plotlines. Tchaikovsky also hasn’t stopped introducing new concepts and characters to the still complex setting. These new elements feel flat at best and extraneous at worst. In spite of these weaknesses, the book completely succeeds in its task: prolonging the series and setting up the next book.
Read the rest of the review…
Fofo’s reviews of the rest of the Shadows of the Apt series