After having read Empire in Black and Gold I went to my local bookstore as soon as I possibly could to get Dragonfly Falling. The second book in the Shadow of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky, it was published for the UK in February 2009. I was in a hurry to get back to the Lowlands, considering how Empire in Black and Gold ended and was relieved to find that Dragonfly Falling ups the ante in essentially all aspects.


The armies of the Wasp Empire are on the march, and first to feel their might will be the city of Tark, which even now is preparing for siege. Within its walls Salma and Totho must weather the storm, as the Ant-kinden take a stand, against numbers and weaponry such as the Lowlands have never seen.

After the earlier victory against them, the Empire's secret service has decided that veteran artificer Stenwold Maker is too dangerous to live. So disgraced Major Thalric is dispatched on a desperate mission, not only to eliminate Stenwold himself but to bring about the destruction of his beloved city of Collegium, and thus end all hope of intelligent resistance to the remorseless imperial advance.

While the Empire's troops are laying waste all in their way, the young Emperor himself is treading a different path. His thoughts are on darker things than mere conquest, however, and if he attains his goal he will precipitate a reign of blood that will last a thousand years.
In this novel Tchaikovsky introduces us to the Emperor of the Wasps and to what his dark plans are. We finally get to see part of the mind and person that is controlling the wave of destruction that is the Empire’s expansion. This point of view adds contrast to the novel that was not in Empire in Black and Gold.

Dragonfly Falling also brings the series’ first truly large scale and epic battles pitching the Wasps against an enemy I will not disclose here because of spoilers, but let me tell you: it’s all pretty sweet. The character development is similar to that in the previous book, though this time concentrating maybe a bit more on Totho and Salma, where the first book looked more into Che and Tynisa.

Apart from that there really is not much more I can say about Dragonfly without getting too much into spoilers, and we wouldn’t want that. This book is really in the excellent range, a step up I think even from Empire. This time of course you should wait to read the first one before picking up this one, as logic would dictate.

Summarizing Info:
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Reading Age: 14 and up, as long as you’ve read Empire in Black and Gold first
Violence: Same as in the first one, plus some epic battles
Sex/Language: None that immediately come to mind, so very minor

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s website:

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