Sunday, 15 July 2012

Review: Dragonfly Falling (Shadows of the Apt 2), by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Dragonfly falling is the second in the quite large Shadows of the Apt series, and follows on from Empire in Black and Gold, which I read perhaps over a year ago. It's a fantasy story, set in a fictional world with various human races, called kinden, who are named after insects/arachnids and have related natural abilities, strengths and weaknesses.

It follows on more or less immediately from the events in Empire in Black and Gold, with the Wasps continuing their military expansionist ways and Stenwold doing his best to persuade the disparate other nations to collaborate (think of Greek city states uniting against Persia).

The cast includes those of the first book but there are also a reasonable number of additions and quite a lot of points of view. Mr. Tchaikovsky does a very good job of using the wide range of perspectives to put together a coherent and broad-ranging narrative. Or, to put it a non-management-speak way: the story's big but still easy to follow.

One possible disadvantage, however, of so many varied viewpoints is that there's less room for character development because each character gets less time. Tynisa, Tisamon and Totho all progress, as does Thalric, but Salma, after lots of early action, seems to drift into irrelevance later on and Scuto never gets past being a gruff and ugly chap.

I also liked the way that the war is described, both regarding battle scenes and the rapid advances in technology which have put a premium on invention and manufacture. On the strategic front, there's a really nice sense of the war being hard fought and slightly unpredictable.

It's been a while since I bought the previous book, but I suspect I'll buy the third rather sooner.


No comments:

Post a Comment