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A Bitter Draft

Speculative Fiction

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The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard #3)
Scott Lynch
Dragonfly Falling (Shadows of the Apt, #2) - Adrian Tchaikovsky http://abitterdraft.blogspot.com/2013/05/double-review-empire-in-black-and-gold.htmlIn Dragonfly Falling, second novel of Shadows of the Apt, the plot that began in Empire in Black and Gold continues at a breakneck pace. We meet new characters, find new motives in old characters, and are shown a multitude of twists that come completely unexpected.Dragonfly Falling is about war. The entirety of the novel takes us from siege to siege, battle to battle, and duel to duel. We live through the sieges, from frontline infantry to generals in command on either side. We see many vehicles from Empire in Black and Gold such as the heliopter, but now we have tank-like armourclads leading the charge. Outside of the air and land battles, we are introduced to the naval aspect of warfare in the nameless world Tchaikovsky has created. Submarines, floating armourclads, flagships, you name it. No matter the scene, no matter the vehicle, no matter the person, from the sergeant in the Tarkesh army to the Emperor of the Wasps, we're given a gripping tale of warfare; of kinden fighting for their very existence. The steampunk style of technology continues to dazzle and is deftly described in its application to this war.The issue from Empire in Black and Gold where Tchaikovsky fumbled with associating so many characters is more or less resolved, and with even more characters added to most of those from the previous novel. The scale of the series is huge, and Adrian tackles it brilliantly. Throughout the first two novels, I've grown attached to Thalric, an Imperial agent who does what he does for his country, regardless of its goals. He reminds me somewhat of Erwin Rommel, who was a Nazi only in name and did not necessarily agree with what he was told to do - he just followed orders.Anyway, Dragonfly Falling was a fantastic addition to the Shadows of the Apt arc. Just as in the first novel, we're left off with an end that is essentially the calm before the storm. Tchaikovsky has proven himself to be adept at writing endings that aren't the kind of cliffhangers where someone's being held at swordpoint before the text cuts off, but are still compelling enough to make me want more. He only improved from the first novel to the second, and I hope he continues to do so in the third, Blood of the Mantis.