Adrian Tchaikovsky – Salute The Dark

After a wait of four weeks I continue with the Shadows Of The Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky with the fourth novel Salute The Dark (2010). I’ve already said a lot about this fantasy series in my previous reviews and most still applies to this novel. Luckily there are some differences I can mention.

A big difference is that this time we are not visiting new places but mostly revisit old ones. That might provide some room for world-building, involving those places, but Tchaikovsky has little interest there and focuses on action and character interaction. I still only have a limited idea of the different cities and kinden (as the different races are called). The reader doesn’t learn more than necessary. Perhaps it is that I’ve twice been reading the James Bond novels, before starting on a batch of the Apt novels, which are noted for their rich detail. So that could explain why I miss it in these books.

Tchaikovsky tries to add some character development but he switches between the points of view from the minor story arcs so often that I didn’t get the time to get involved or feel attached. This lack of attachment to the main characters remains a bit of an issue for me. In this novel finally some of the more prominent characters are written out but I hardly feel any loss for them.

Even though the novel is a bit shorter than the previous novels the pace of events are greater, especially with the wider range of locations and points of view, Tchaikovsky manages to cram a lot together without losing coherency. There weren’t any real flaws, but with the fairly straightforward storylines it would be hard to step out of place. Like the previous novels this book is a good and entertaining read without much real complexity or larger background. To me the series remains right in the middle between mainstream and masterpiece. This is certainly not bad, but the insectile element of the races has great potential due to its original concept. Unfortunately Tchaikovsky is lacking sorely there and after four books I’m not expecting the series to grow beyond its current boundaries. Still that doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying it. I surely do. It is just that in the past I’ve read great concepts which also didn’t deliver as the author was unable to exploit is beyond the idea and just told a standard story. Tchaikovsky compensates this by adding a strong steampunk element and a wide variety of his original concept but it nowhere surprises or impresses me. Maybe I’ve read too much, but I know I can still enjoy something simple. Either way, I will continue with book five and see where the story will take me next.

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