February 2023 book blog

‘The Witch in the Well’ by Camilla Bruce was my Jan / Feb crossover book. I’ve reviewed it separately with its own post.

From there, I didn’t move very far away from the Shadow’s of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I kicked off the month’s ‘new books’ with ‘Spoils of War’. This is a mixed bag of tales, set in the universe of the ten novel series ‘Shadows of the Apt’ Most of the stories are back stories for major characters or locations in the Apt series, and some of them really do shine out as great stories. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the short story collections in this universe.

‘Spoils of War’ was an excellent springboard back to the series proper, and I dived straight into ‘The Scarab Path’ The first four books of ‘Shadows of the Apt’ were essentially a quadrilogy within the series. The Scarab Path, whilst definitely a sequel to that story, is a self contained story in its own right, focusing on Che, Totho and Thalric, and their experiences in the ancient city of Kanophus. With fewer battles – but still plenty of fight scenes – the story gives the ideas and characters the chance to breathe. I particularly loved how the Che / Totho story played out.

Book 6 of ‘Shadows of the Apt’ is another thick volume, which introduces new people and settings. What a whopper! I would definitely have read this book faster if I’d had stronger arms. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Stenwold’s adventures under the sea. It was eerily reminiscent at times of China Mieville’s ‘The Scar’ which I read last year. What are the odds of me reading two undersea fantasy stories in the space of a few months? The Sea Watch is a lively and entertaining book, with some genuine moments of horror mixed with the military and political scenes. I loved the octopus / squid people, and the ancient octopus was a great character in its own right.

Incidentally, I got to meet the author at Lancaster Litfest in March. He was charming, amusing, and passionate about writing. It was a pleasure.

I’m taking another short break from Tchaikovsky’s ten book series with a re-read of an anthology about vampires. I’ll tell you more about that in a couple of weeks time.

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