Adrian Tchaikovsky – Dragonfly Falling

The trouble with reading several books of a series in a row is that you don’t want to repeat yourself in the subsequent reviews unless the books are sufficiently different so you can note these. Alas this is not so much the case for Dragonfly Falling (2009) by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This second installment of the Shadows Of The Apt series continues immediately after the events of the first book, Empire In Black And Gold and is thus similar in style and development with the difference that there is no introduction and the reader is put straight into the continuation of the different (and new) story lines. As in the first book there are several mini story-arcs within the main story which by definition are completed within the book. This provides more closure while there are larger story lines left open for the next books.

In Dragonfly Falling Tchaikovsky further expands his cast and also introduces new races based on insect aspects, which forms the original foundation for this epic steampunk fantasy. He adds a bit more complexity as there is more going on with the so-called bad guys of the series which creates some more depth. There is some character development but with the story moving on so fast there is little time for Tchaikovsky to do so.

Events certainly move fast in this book. Plots of which you might expect to linger in the dark for some time get resolved surprisingly fast, forcing development on more quickly. Although this can be seen as a good point, it is also a bad point because it has less impact. In some cases it feels too fast with events happing sooner than one would have expected.

Tchaikovsky keeps moving the characters quickly between places which keeps preventing growing some attachment. The same is the case for the characters. Some I like better than others, but I still don’t feel attached to any of them, which is a weakness in the writing. I am entertained and the original insect-concept interests me greatly, but the plot and developments remain somewhat standard, even as the steampunk elements and insect-related cultures provide original settings and mini story arcs. Of course this is not uncommon, but this series is not grabbing me as I could have while it has sufficient elements to do so. I will have to read more to find out what it exactly is that I’m missing. Luckily I can do so.

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