The Hyena and the Hawk (Echoes of the Fall #3) ★★☆☆☆

hyenaandhawk (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Hyena and the Hawk
Series: Echoes of the Fall #3
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 465
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The End of the World has arrived. The Kinden are soulless and whereever they go, they bring that soullessness with them and force The People into their animal shapes and into their animal minds forever.

The People, under the leadership of one of the Bears and with the help of the River Kingdom, prepares a mighty army to resist the Kinden. However, whenever they come into battle, too many of The People are lost by the affects of the Kinden.

Maniye gets captured and realizes that the Kinden can’t transform and know nothing about “the soul”. They watch her as she transforms from wolf to tiger to Champion to human. Beatle researchers are intrigued and one of them tries to transform and dies. Maniye escapes.

There is a big climactic battle and Maniye and some others chase after their gods (who have run away) in the godsland. In the process they allow the gods of the Kinden into their land. Suddenly the Kinden are transforming left and right with no control. They retreat.

Everyone celebrates and prepares for the day when the Kinden return.

 

My Thoughts:

What a disappointment. This is the first book of Tchaikovsky’s that I was disappointed in because I didn’t care one way or another about the characters, the story or anything. If this had been almost any other author I probably would have DNF’d the book.

The whole soul thingy was cool in the first book but then when it kept on going with the Kinden it just started rubbing me the wrong way.

Then the whole “gods” thing pissed me off too. I am sick to death of “gods” being nothing more than some manifestation of the believers will. That isn’t a god. And if the gods were running away from the kinden, good riddance I say. So when the kinden gods suddenly came into being, I rolled my eyes, mentally spit on Tchaikovsky and raced to the very end just to get it over with.

This has really shaken my interest in anything by Tchaikovsky that isn’t directly related to his Shadows of the Apt series. Thankfully I’ve got 4 or 5 books of short stories about them to wash the taste of this dreck out of my mouth.

Highly NOT recommended.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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The Bear and the Serpent (Echoes of the Fall #2) ★★★☆☆

bearandserpent (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Bear and the Serpent
Series: Echoes of the Fall #2
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 465
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Asmander has returned to the River Kingdom with Maniye and her Steel wolfpack, only to find he is too late and the kingdom is already riven asunder between the 2 siblings vying for control. Asmander’s father continues his manipulation to make the best of a bad situation (in his eyes) and Asmander is finally forced to realize how bad his father truly is.

The male heir, who Asmander is championing, is set upon by assassins and his own supposedly loyal servants. He escapes with the help of Maniye and the Wolfpack and they have adventures out in the swampy swampland. They come across a segment of the Serpent that is trying to make a deal with the plague people, who are their mythical enemies. However, the plague people are on the run from the soul-less people from over the ocean. A lot of pointless crap happens and Asmander finally sneaks his two friends (the siblings) together so they can talk. The female heir takes the crown and her brother takes the number 2 place. Their storyline ends with the news that the soulless have already started attacking the River Kingdom and the Horse People are almost gone.

The second storyline deal with the Bear and his attempt to bring all the northern tribes together when he finds out that the villages of the Seals have been attacked and all the Seal people have turned into their animal forms but lost their minds. He puts together an Olympic style event and everyone does feats of this and that and eventually they go after the soulless people invading their land. They drive them off but with horrific losses and we the readers are shown an airship in the colors of Black and Gold.

That storyline ends with the Tribes victorious but the Bear realizing just how small their victory actually was.

 

My Thoughts:

This is the first book of Tchaikovsky’s that I’m actually disappointed in. Even when I read Spiderlight back in ’16, I was more pissed off than disappointed. I was bored for most of this book and it felt like it was re-treading so much from the first book in terms of the Tribal abilities and the reveal about the Wasp Kinden being the soulless people, while it should have been wicked awesome, just left me feeling kind of “Oh, ok, whatever. Next!”

I can remember halfway through when Maniye and her crew are dealing with the male heir and all I could think of was “throw that pussy to the crocodiles and get this story moving, please”. The Bear story didn’t please me any more with “fear” just turning everyone into animals. Whatever. Master your fear or you DESERVE to go extinct. Needless to say, I was not feeling generous and nothing in this book made me feel like being generous.

Now, with all of that being said, the reason I gave this 3 stars is because it is completely up to par in terms of technical writing. Tchaikovsky can write like a master wordsmith and even in books like this where I’m just blah’ed out, I can still appreciate the skill even while not really enjoying the ride.

My expectations for the third and final book have really taken a nosedive with this. Poop.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Tiger and the Wolf (Echoes of the Fall #1) ★★★★☆

tigerandwolf (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Tiger and the Wolf
Series: Echoes of the Fall #1
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 603
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

In a world where people can “step” into animal form and they have all formed tribes from time immemorial, Maniye has been born with 2 souls. One of the Wolf from her father and one of the Tiger from her mother. Maniye’s mother was killed right after the birth, as she was the Queen of the Tigers. Unknowingly, Maniye was trained up to use both of her souls so that when she came of age, her father could use her to claim the Tiger throne and complete the conquest that the Wolves had been working towards for a generation.

When her father’s plans are revealed to her, her father says he’ll marry her off to a strong wolf ally, the man who killed Maniye’s mother. Maniye rescues a snake priest and together they escape into the wilderness to elude the Wolves. They take refuge for the winter with a Bear, who knows the man who killed Maniye’s mother. This man, Broken Axe, has successfully tracked her but due to both friendship with the Bear and some other considerations, gives his word he won’t bother Maniye until the Spring Solstice.

At the same time, we follow Asmander and his companions. Asmander is of the crocodile tribe from the far south, where a succession war is brewing. He has been sent north by his father to recruit the Iron Wolves, who are the only creatures known who can work iron and make it their weapon. He is helped out by the Horse tribe, traders across the whole land. Eventually, he is taken to a special holy place where he can meet Akrit, leader of the Iron Wolves and Maniye’s father. This special meeting is for all the tribal priests at the Spring Solstice.

The Bear must attend the Solstice and Maniye and the priest accompany him, hoping to find a guardian at the rites from Broken Axe and Akrit, little knowing that both will be there. Everyone comes together and Akrit tries to take Maniye by force and she kills several of the wolf clan in a sacred circle. She escapes and makes her way to the Tiger’s last standing city, where she finds that Broken Axe did not kill her mother but simply released her back to her people. Her mother rejects her as she can’t get past the fact that Maniye is a child of rape. Maniye tries to fit into Tiger society, but her two souls are continually fighting and she shows as much Wolf as she does Tiger. She escapes her mother, who has decided to sacrifice her to the Tiger and is on the run yet again.

She meets up with Asamander and the snake priest and everyone is on the run from both Wolves and Tigers, who have resumed hostilities. Battles ensue and finally Maniye must try a forgotten ritual to resolve the conflict of having 2 souls. She travels to the Other World and chooses a third soul, one that bridges Wolf and Tiger and learns its form. It is a form stronger and more powerful than anything the northern tribes have ever seen. Broken Axe challenges Akrit for control of the Wolf clan and wins. Between him and Maniye, an uneasy peace is brokered but shamans, priests and fortune tellers are still predicting a doom that will engulf the whole world.

 

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this. That being said, I wouldn’t want to read this by itself as a standalone again. Maniye does nothing but run for 90% of the book and it became wearisome. She didn’t have any choice, but still, it’s not real fun to read about a character who just runs away all the time.

Once I see how this trilogy resolves, a re-read option will be on the table.

Tchaikovsky definitely brings his A-game to this story. Not so much in terms of excitement but in terms of working out how a society would turn out that has these abilities. He describes the fights in great detail and the way warriors slip between their animal and human form to give themselves advantages and their opponents disadvantages is great. Like the fact that the animal form can incorporate whatever the human form was wearing at the time. The Wolves have learned to have iron claws and built in armor. Tigers have brass claws, etc.

On a bigger scale, it is obvious something is coming. Whether it is a natural disaster (honestly, my first thought was an asteroid strike) or some new empire that will simply sweep over the land, it has all the inhabitants of the land seeing visions of war and fire and ruin, for everyone. I am looking forward to seeing what it turns out to be.

Now that Maniye has found her Champion form (the 3rd connecting soul), I suspect she won’t be running in the next 2 books. Of course, knowing Tchaikovsky’s penchant for lots of character arcs, it wouldn’t surprise me if we go somewhere else and with a completely new set of characters for the the next book.

I might have enjoyed this more if I hadn’t had such a streak of bad reading before it. But regardless, this was a good book and I enjoyed it.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)