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Empress Seda and Cheerwell Maker, sisters and enemies in magic, both are trying to gain a magical prize from the Bad Old Days of the inapt.
At the same time Collegium is once again threatened by the Wasp Empire, as is the last remaining Ant City of Sarn.
And through, under, around and over it all is a vague menace from the Past, waiting to burst through to light of day and rule the world yet again.
Where the previous book, The Air War, was primarily about armies and tech, this book returned to the magical roots of the series
Seda is consolidating her power, Cheerwell is still trying to figure out what her newfound powers mean and the battles for the Wasp Empire’s supremacy go on.
At over 700 pages [that does include an appendix of names and a short story that fills in a specific part of the story but isn’t necessary for it], I never felt like this book dragged.
There was a good balance of magic, tech fighting, politicing both internal and external. It also seemed that Tchaikovsky did a much better job in this book of keeping the scope of his story a little more focused on characters we already knew about. While we are introduced to new characters, they are mainly supporting characters to the main cast.
And you know what? Collegium finally gets conquered. Maybe that will knock some of the arrogance out of the residents, unless it kills them of course.
And the Worm. A “new to us” kinden that was so bad that thousands of years ago the whole Inapt world united to defeat this fearsome foe. And they weren’t truly defeated, simply locked away. So guess what happens here? Seda, in her arrogance, accidentally unlocks them. Oh boy, that can’t be good! The book ends with the disappearances of whole villages, all the people simply vanished.
In the notes, Tchaikovsky does note that the series is wrapping up. I’m glad to be honest. I want some resolution. Even if he continues the story in another series, I need an end to this. I am guessing/hoping 3 more books? We’ll see.
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
War Master’s Gate
Shadows of the Apt #9