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4.4 out of 5 stars29
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 January 2012
With book 7 we finally catch up with the remaining "lead" character, Tynisa, who we haven't seen since the end of "salute the dark". Her story is quite a sad one and it's an interesting journey watching her make all the wrong choices and how one person's loss can have an effect on thousands. Adrian does a great job of expanding on his world with the commonweal and it's interesting to discover it's not quite as romantic a place as the dragonfly-kinden Salme Dien had us believe.
It was also good to see Thalric and Che again. Che becomes more fascinating with each appearance although I do feel that Thalric needs to get his edge back soon as he's a little too "nice" in this adventure. The most interesting characters this time around are the various wasps. Varmen is a complicated character and his loss is tragically romantic and Gaved is a "simple" opportunist. Adrian is basically showing us that the wasp-kinden can be human too and it's the empire that gives them the bad reputation.
I was slightly disappointed with the Khanaphes and Seda subplot. I initially thought they were going to be a big part of the book but they disappear completely about a third into the plot. It's all useful set-up but it does feel a bit tacked on.
I'm not sure whether book 8 will merge all the stories together again but I'm hoping they will as I think the various stories work better together than separately. It's been an interesting experiment though (The scarab path was excellent) and it's allowed Adrian to play around with some different styles/approaches. I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 17 December 2012
Ah, I've been saving this book up until a slightly quieter time, and now is that time. It's just lovely to slide open the book to that first page and read Adrian Tchaikovsky's familiar tone coming through straight away. I think that's one of the charms of the Shadows of the Apt series; his writing style is quite unique, and it draws you into the world where you can escape into your (and his) imagination as you follow the stories of these wonderfully crafted worlds and their peoples.

This is the seventh of the Shadows of the Apt series, and it re-introduces old and familiar characters, and introduces new ones. Tynisa seeks redemption or at least escape from her memories of Tisamon, Achaeos and Salme Dien; Che seeks to save her sister, and Thalric follows her for reasons he does not yet understand. In this book we are largely in the land of the Commonweal, although the earlier actions in Khanaphes and the Wasp Empire also have their part. Seda, the Wasp Empress, seeks to make the world her own, and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Loyalties shift and settle, old friends and enemies meet new, and the action is non-stop in this great book. A worthy addition to the series, and it left me really keen to get hold of the eighth book and see what happens next. Totally recommended. This is a must-have for anyone already reading the series; and I can totally recommend the whole series for anyone looking for a fresh new series of adventure, imagination, magic and dark forces to dive into.
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on 14 December 2011
So far I have read the previous six of Adrian Tchaikovsky's books in the series Shadows of the Apt., all have been engrossing and imaginative. I wasn't disappointed with number seven either. Great story now waiting for number eight.
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on 25 October 2011
The latest in the Shadows of the Apt series continues to deliver as the reader is taken on a journey to the Commonweal. Fans of previous books in the series will be pleased that Che and Tynisa are at the heart of this novel, and the scale of the story's ambition is apparent in the growth of both of these characters, whilst exploring another of Tchaikovsky's created kingdoms. The pace of this adventure varies dramatically in the novel, with a slow, languid tempo at the outset raising dramatically in the central section. The Commonweal is thoroughly explored, with a wide cast of characters in the story that help to bring to life the struggle that the princedoms had in the Twelve Year War with the wasps. At first the sheer number of new introductions is a bit intimidating, and at times it can feel that the movement in the main characters arc, combined with the scale of ambition, gives a feeling that the book was in need of tighter editing to draw some of the strands closer together. However, this is a minor quibble to level at the novel, when it delivers enticing storylines and character developments in the way that Heirs of the Blade does. Similar to the previous novel, this is set outside of the wasp - rest of kinden conflict, and the absence of battles as set pieces allow strong character development in their place. There's real payoff for some of the major storylines in this instalment, and Tchaikovsky continues to delight in the vivid sketching of his players - no mean feat when placed against the exploration of a whole culture, as presented here. Subtle treatment of some larger topics are presented here too, such as the relationships between parent and child, the legacy of conflict, and how ambition and technology combine to have far reaching effects on the world.
Overall, a real gem of a read. With the large cast, and ambition of the novel, it is a more demanding read than some of the earlier stories, but whether you're an avid fan or relatively new to the series, this book offers escapism and adventure aplenty.
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on 18 April 2012
Another excellent book in the Adrian Tchaikovsky series relating to conflict between the 'makers' (those with Aptitude or Apt) and those who are In-apt using mysterious powers to undertake their tasks. This book expands yet again the world view that has steadily grown in the series and covers conflict and intrigue between the various species (Wasp, Ant, Mantis, Beetle etc). There are many twists and turns primarily covering Tynissa (Half breed mantis) and Cheerwell Maker (beetle apt). Although self-contained in its own right, experience of prior books in the series does help follow the story. The conclusion gives evidence that further books may be forthcoming - can't wait.
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on 6 February 2012
After feeling mildly disappointed with the latest instalments in the series, I began reading this book with ambivalent expectations. However, I was not disappointed at all. Adrian Tchaicovsky showed what a fine writer he is with Heirs of the Blade, one of my most absorbing reads in some time. I encourage readers of all genres to dip into this series, and those who have read the first six books to delve into this instalment as quickly as possible - you will not regret it!
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on 25 April 2012
Book 7, and still keeping it all together!
What a fantastic world to be involved with. After 7 books in the series, I still don't want a conclusion.

The world, full of people with special abilities similar to that of different types of insects (i.e. beetles - tough and hardy, some can fly some cant, wasps - can fly, sting and want to colonise everything). The characters are still so engrossing, many of which we met right at the start, and feel they are part of your family, some have died, but still have a legacy, or even the occasional ghost! Each book has a story, and yet is a continuation of the overall theme - the wasps wanting to take over the world; lots of wars, a bit of politics, magic, mystery, a whole range of human emotions, tragedy, loss, victory, even moments of love and joy - all the ingredients for a fantastic journey on so many levels.
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The latest in Adrian's Shadows series and one that demonstrates why for me, he's one of the top new fantasy writers of recent years with his well thought out world, cracking prose and of course cast of characters that have been hard to put down. Events take their own time to unfold as usual and when you add the emotional aspect as well as torment that some of the characters go through within, it clearly demonstrates that it's a series about the people as much as the cultures.

Add to this the authors unique "voice", a decent plot line and of course a few new twists woven within to be picked up later and you know that the Adrian is continuing to go from strength to strength. Magic.
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on 11 June 2016
After reading The Sea Watch - which don't get me wrong I enjoyed, but was a bit more heavy going than the earlier books - I had not got back to this series for a bit. However this is just fantastic. It follows the two sisters until their paths converge. The other main character is the Empress. Those that complain about the lack of and stereotyping of female characters in fantasy should really be looking at this series. Again I failed to foresee a lot of the plot developments and remain astonished at Adrian's imagination. The copy I got of this paperback when ordered however was enormous, as large as a hardback. So I now have 3 different sized books which is hopeless for putting on a shelf.
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on 9 March 2012
Another compelling read that takes you further through the epic art that Adrian has created. The characters and world are rich with a interesting twist. One of the finest fantasy series around.
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