Hey guys, it’s new series time!
I figured, seeing as this is an author site, I should spend more time talking about books. But there’s so many awesome books out there, where do I start? The plan is to work my way through my Goodreads ‘read’ list and tell you a bit about each of them, maybe you’ll see something that sparks your interest. Or things that you’ve read too and you completely disagree with what I say about them…
I’ll probably group most things by series as I get to them and if you want to check out what’s coming up here’s a link.
For the first post I get to talk about one of my favourite series of all time, woo hoo! Today it’s all about Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky.
This is an incredible mix of fantasy and steampunk with some of the most original world-building I’ve ever come across. The races of humans living across the world are each connected to a different insect and have abilities relating to them, like the Ant-kinden can speak to each other telepathically and the Wasp-kinden can shoot stings from their hands. People are also either Apt or Inapt, which means they are proficient with either technology or magic (the more traditionally mystical kind, separate from their kinden abilities) and utterly ignorant of the other; Inapt characters can’t even operate mechanical locks or fire crossbows, and Apt characters refuse to believe magic exists at all. Just with these ideas, there’s a lot to play with to make each character unique and create plenty of tension between them.
But the best thing about Tchaikovsky’s characters is their three-dimensional greyness. There’s a side to every protagonist that is flawed in some way, and each antagonist has solid reasoning and a real conviction that what they’re doing is the right thing. Sometimes it seems the ‘bad guys’ are more redeemable than the heroes.
Another thing I adore about this series is the perfect unpredictability. Sure, there are some typical fantasy tropes used throughout, but you will be shocked, blindsided, and heartbroken over and over again. There’s no such thing as plot armour in this world. George RR Martin would be proud.
The main criticism I have is that the story slows down around three quarters in. This is a mammoth ten books long (I love long series so much) and they average about 600 pages, which is great for me because I hate when series come to an end, but I could see it putting off a slow reader or someone that prefers a quick 300 page a piece trilogy. It only feels slower for a couple of books and then picks back up again as some major plot is resolved and new threats arise, and the eventual conclusion is extremely satisfying.
I’d class this as a must read for anyone brave enough to take up a decalogy, you’ll be gripped by the characters and engrossed throughout the whole saga. My personal favourite is the fifth book, The Scarab Path, I was reading this one evening and just couldn’t put it down until I got to the end. Then I looked up, bleary-eyed and realised it was getting light outside and I’d stayed up all night to finish it. Oh, and this was the second time I’d read it- I already knew what happened…
So, what are you waiting for? Click this link to go to the Amazon book series page to get all ten!
Has anyone else read Shadows of the Apt (or part of it)? What did you guys think? Or are you frantically pressing the ‘buy now’ button to get your own copy?
I hope you enjoyed hearing about this series that I’m obviously smitten with, and look out for the next On The Shelf where we have a beautiful bit of Discworld discussion going on!