Customer Reviews for

Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted May 10, 2010

    This book stung me!

    A refreshing new fantasy series. I am a big fan of the traditional Tolkien-Dungeons & Dragons type fantasy, with Elves, Dwarves, Dragons and the sort. But this one is a wholly new idea. Humans with a kind of cultural-mystical connection with insect-arachnid species. Beetle-kinden are industrious artificers who build mechanical devices (like fixed wing flyers, trains, automotive vehicles); Ant-kinden are hive-minded warriors; Mantis-kinden are warriors of an ancient tradition, deadly and efficient; Spider-kinden are seductive manipulators, stalkers and stealth experts...all human, but with characteristics (both physical, and personality-wise) tied to their kinden roots. Adding to this is a steam-punk like technology based nation, exciting fantasy combat, magic & mystical abilities, a rich and thorough history (not unlike the depth created by Tolkien himself)...the book paints a picture like no book I've read in a long time. I want to be immersed in this world, I want to play a role playing game set in this universe, I want to play a video game based on this story, I want to see a movie with these characters brought to life. I just finished this book, and am looking forward to reading the next two in the series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Brilliant And Unique Fantasy Fiction

    This was a really great read that I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy fiction. It's the beginning of a really engaging story arc featuring brilliantly realized main characters, spectacular action (ranging from individual combat to full-scale battles) and fascinating emotional sub-plots. Plus, the world created by Adrian Tchaikovsky (aka Czajkowski) is unbelievably expansive and diverse. I LOVE the insect-kinden. Both the concept and execution are very, very cool.

    Note, the Insect-kinden are humans whose ancestor tribes forged a mind link to particular (man-sized) insects giving them certain superhuman abilities and physical traits. For instance: Spider-kinden are usually alluring, have calculating/subtle minds and can crawl up any surface; Beetle-kin are stout and stoic with the ability to manipulate mechanicals; Dragonfly-kinden are lithe and good looking with unparalleled flying ability; and, Mantis-kinden are pale and tall with spines on their forearms and unbelievable warrior ability.

    The book establishes the conflict and world in the first 150 pages, then the characters really come to life. And, the pace just keeps accelerating until the action-packed climax is reached. The character ensemble is composed of: an aging, balding and slightly bulging Beetle-kinden artificer and college master; an embittered mercenary Mantis-kinden weapons master; a mystic Moth-kinden raider; and four young people of various insect-kinden ancestry from the Collegium. Every one of them becomes vividly realized as the book progresses. Even the antagonist, a Wasp-kinden spymaster named Thalric, develops into a complex and arguably sympathetic character.

    I just received delivery of "Dragonfly Falling" and am awaiting delivery of "Blood Of The Mantis." This first book really enthralled me, and the story arc completely captured my interest.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    a powerful fantasy

    Since the revolt decades ago that overthrew the ruling Moths, the city-states of the Lowlands have lived in prosperous peace with one another. The Beetles are probably the most powerful, but they prefer trade as merchants and development as engineers over war. The Spiders are the most aristocratic with their lofty attitudes while the Ant cities prefer internal squabbling with one another as to who has the most royal queen. The Flies live a nomadic lifestyle flying all over the Lowlands. Finally the deposed Moths and their foot soldiers Mantids live in the nearby mountains with hopes of returning to power.

    On the northeastern side of the Great Barrier Ridge is the invincible Wasp Empire. They believe peace can only be achieved through conquest. The Lowlanders ignore the threat as the Beetles are becoming wealthy selling weapons to the Wasps who are at war with the Dragonfly Commonwealth; the ants are too busy with internal fighting; the Moths are angry over losing power; and the Spiders and Flies disregard anything outside their respective lifestyles.

    Beetle Stenwold Maker fought and lost against the Wasp military defending Myna almost twenty years ago. Few are interested in his warning, as he is considered a crazy victim of battle fatigue. However, he has operatives inside of the cities ready to counter the Wasp agents' subversive activity. His key followers are his Spider foster daughter Tynisa, his Beetle niece Che, the combat hardened Dragonfly royal Salma and Totho the apprentice engineering Beetle. They fly to Helleron on a key mission but may be too late with betrayal and Wasps awaiting their arrival.

    With a not so subtle message that racism divisiveness leads to everyone losing and is normally not the answer but sometimes is; Adrian Tchaikovsky provides a powerful fantasy that uses various insect species to create his world. The story line is action-packed once the customs of each genus is introduced. Readers will be hooked early on with this terrific opening act as the insects are personified but within their species prime traits.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

    Wow!

    This book never slows down. It is action packed and well written. The magic system is orginal as is the different races of bug/people. A must read and if you do pick it up, good luck putting it down.

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    Posted November 13, 2011

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