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Blood of the Mantis (Shadows of the Apt Series #3)

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent Epic Continuation

    Blood of the Mantis (Shadows of the Apt Series #3) entertains the reader with fast-paced multiple story lines which follow internal political strife, undercover intrigue and individual contests, (via flying machines, individual combat and magic).

    The Wasp Empire begins to experience internal problems and is manipulated by an ancient Mosquito-kinden, (a magic using, vampiric kin), who seeks a magical artifact, known as a 'Shadow Box'. The 'Shadow Box' was created at the end of the Days of Lore by Mantid and Moth magic gone wrong and contains powerful but twisted magic. It's been stolen by an independent agent of the Empire who has gone rouge and fled to the far flung town of Jerez. Meanwhile, the the Wasp 7th army awaits reinforcement on the interior lowland plains, and the allied lowlander forces prepare for full-scale invasion. The Collegium has reproduced Totho's 'snap bow', and Stenwold travels to the allied Ant City of Sarn to attempt to shore-up the shaky lowlander alliance.

    The main story lines follow: (1) Stenwold as he attempts to placate Sarn's demand for the 'snap bow' and prevent a splintering between the Apt and Inapt lowlander alliance; (2) Cheerwell and Nero who travel to Solarno, (the backdoor to the southern Spider lands), and attempt to prevent a Wasp takeover of that independent city assisted by a well-known local Fly-kinden orthopter pilot; and, (3) Achaeos, Tisamon, Tynisa and two 'rogue' Wasps, (one of whom is Thalric), who encounter unanticipated problems and unexpected resistance as they search for 'Shadow Box' in the ramshackle and swampy Skater-kinden town of Jerez.

    The book's steam-punk, magical and combat elements are excellent. Further, the characters, conflict and world just keep getting more complex and fascinating. I highly recommend this entire series to anyone interested in epic fantasy and/or military/action fantasy .

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    excellent military fantasy

    With the Darakyon spirits as companions of sorts forcing him to complete his mission, Achaeos reaches Jerez an isolated marsh town. He knows time is running out before the Shadow Box is possessed by the Wasp Emperor. Achaeos struggles with regaining the stolen artifact before disaster strikes as not just the Wasp ruler wants it, so do beasts and traitors desire ownership; all know the possessor rules the world.

    In the Lowlands, the other the tribes of the Empire hope to strike back as the divided groups prepare for a counter surge against the mighty Wasp army expected spring invasion. Led by spymaster Stenwald Maker, they know their chances are bleak once the spring offensive from their enemy begins. However, the real fight is in Jerez.

    The third Shadows of the Apt military fantasy (see Dragonfly Falling and Empire in Black and Gold) is a great tale that contains two strong subplots. First there is the owning of the Shadow Box, which dictates in many ways (but not all) who the winner will be in the conflict and then there is the military preparation leading to the bloody spring offensive. Blood of the Mantis is a wonderful entry in a powerful saga as Adrian Tchaikovsky provides another intelligent parable of the foibles of society with racism, fear-mongering, and loathing the cornerstones of a military-magical solution.

    Harriet Klausner

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    Posted October 1, 2014

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    Posted May 7, 2012

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