Manual The Scarab Path (Shadows of the Apt Book 5)

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Shadows of the Apt. Books Novels Click on a cover for the Amazon link. The Tiger and the Wolf: Echoes of the Fall book 1.

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Guns of the Dawn. Seal of the Worm: Shadows of the Apt book Che is still extremely distraught, and can't let go, especially as she keeps feeling the ghostly presence of her unhappy dead lover. She also lost her Aptitude at the end of the ritual that killed Achaeos, and now feels doubly lost in a city full of machinery she used to understand.

Meanwhile, the Scholars of Collegium have discovered an ancient Beetle city named Kanaphes on old maps. Stenwold decides to send an embassy headed by Che there, both to get her distracted from ger sorrow, and to possibly help her, as reports indicate that these Beetles may be Inapt, as there is no artifice in their city.

The first person Che comes across in Kanaphes is Thalric, formerly Wasp agent, formerly Collegium agent, now the consort of the Wasp Empress. As the Empress is completely insane and has some very disturbing habits, he has fled there. At the same time, a half Wasp, half Scorpion agent is sent to the Scorpions of the New desert, in order to recruit them to destroy Kanaphes. Which turns out to be the biggest cover-up ever, as somebody really really wants Thalric dead, and will go into any kind of extremes to get there.

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As if that wasn't enough, Totho, now the head of a rich arms merchand consortium, also shows up, still utterly obsessed by Che. As the local population isn't very open-minded, Che and Thalric become rather close, which doesn't make Totho any happier, and leads to some disturbing stalking. Also, there's something really strange going on about the mysterious Masters of Kanaphes, extremely powerful people who went underground centuries ago, and left instructions to keep their subjects from exploiting their Aptitude, keeping them in an artificial stone age, so that the Scorpions, armed by the Empire, make short work of their fortifications.

Che and Thalric finally get to meet the Masters, and there are some interesting revelations I quite liked this one. There is finally some exploration of the Inapt kinden, in a way that they are not depicted as quasi-retarded, defeated by a simple door-lock. While Che feels like she is disabled at the beginning, she finds alternative talents in Kanaphes, as she feels some kind of connection to the Inapt Masters, and finds that she can read writing and maps that don't make any sense to the local Apt Beetles.

So the Apt kinden get technology, but can't wrap their head around anything metaphysical, the Inapt kinden get powerful magic, which more than makes up for the lack of technology especially if you get to keep some Apt kinden in slavery so they can take care of that stuff for you.

The Scarab Path

Which explaines how the Inapt were able to dominate the other kinden for millenia, and balances the power between Apt and Inapt somehow. The character development was quite interesting here. Thalric definetely seems to be related to Jaime Lannister, a not actualy evil man, who has done evil things, and is now seeking redemption. I think Che and him make quite a nice couple, actually.

Totho, on the other hand, is acting like Anakin Skywalker, ca the middle of Episode 3. His obsession with Che is rather disturbing, as she has become the yardstick against which he measures all his actions. Understandably, she isn't too happy about this, as he's pretty much stalking her, going: The fact that he coldbloodedly killed a whole garrison in Szar doesn't help there. He's a bit of an annoying character, really, and I hope we won't see much more of him in the coming volumes. One could argue that Che is a bit of a special snowflake character, as all the special stuff only seems to happen to her.

However, as we're in her point of view a lot of the time, and get a lot of her internal monologue and her motivations, we get to understand her, and sympathise with her, so that you end up quite liking her. Both plot lines, the one about the Scorpion invasion, and the one about the Masters are interestingly done, although personnally, I found the latter more fascinating, as I'm into worlbuilding mythology stuff.

We also almost found out why the Spiders and the Mantis hate each other so much A good transition from the Wasp war to other matters. Nov 23, Jason rated it it was amazing Shelves: After 4 spectacular fresh fantasy novels in this series, I was skeptical at where Adrian Tchaikovsky would take our characters and the story. At the end of the 4th novel we found the war with the Wasp Empire now over, and the death to many of our favorite protagonists, including main line heroes. Tchaikovsky has done it again, in creating a new feel fantasy novel, this one even differing from his previous 4 novels.

This story is tight and focused and centers around Cheerwell and Thalric. These After 4 spectacular fresh fantasy novels in this series, I was skeptical at where Adrian Tchaikovsky would take our characters and the story. These were definitely two of my favorites going into this novel, and now they hold that title to me.

The story here is focused around the mysterious far off city of Khanaphes. The story is the mystery of the city, it is about the growth of Che and it is about the trials and tribulations of Thalric. Magic runs deep through this one, very different from the first books of this series.

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Dark, relentlessly paced, and filled with characters that you can believe in. I loved the first 4 books of this series. They are a great achievement in themselves. This book however read too me on entirely higher level. It was among the best reads of for me and will remain a fantasy novel to beat through out the next year. If you call yourself a fantasy reader than by all means make The Shadows of the Apt a priority to read.

You are missing out if you do not read this. Oct 05, Emma Victory rated it liked it Shelves: Would be a solid four stars if the beginning was better. I can't recall another book which was such a long hard slog at the start but then picked up to become so entertaining pages in. So many times I almost gave up because it was so dull. Jul 11, Clawfoot rated it liked it.

I think someone whose fantasy world includes 3-foot Fly kinden, foot Mole Cricket kinden, and everything in-between should perhaps not use the phrase "as tall as a man" quite so damn much. Jul 13, Matt rated it it was ok. I guess i would have to begin this review by saying up until this book i've thoroughly enjoyed the previous 4 installments of Shadows of the Apt. I do admit that i'm somewhat disappointed with this novel and am by no stretch placing this at the top of my favorites list.

Even after completing the novel i have absolutely no idea why it was titled "The Scarab Path" Even more frustrating for me was that this novel had so little to do with it's predec I guess i would have to begin this review by saying up until this book i've thoroughly enjoyed the previous 4 installments of Shadows of the Apt. Even more frustrating for me was that this novel had so little to do with it's predecessors.

I believe Tchaikovski shot himself in the foot by killing off so many of the "exciting" main characters in the last novels. Being left with a story based almost solely on Che there wasn't enough action in this novel. Almost pages were dedicated to Che and a collection of scholars either travelling to the city of Khanaphes or going about some boring tasks within the city.

Che's plot in the story was very strange throughout. She had been seeing ghosts, having weird dreams, became Inapt, and for some reason beyond my knowledge was "the chosen one" by the Masters of Khanaphes to run the entire city Even the whole sub-plot about the Master of Khanaphes was ridiculous. The idea of the "Fir" and a whole city run by ministers speaking their "masters" was painful to read.

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The way the war ended was an easy way out for Tchaikovsky and added very little excitement to the overall story. If it was not for Thalric's being highlighted as a main plot once again this novel would have received an even lower rating from me. Even Thalric in this novel is a little less himself; he was quite a bit more emotional and a little more lame then i like him. Totho is brought back into the plot heavily, but he is also an emotional mess and his insecurities were a little too much for me to enjoy.

Luckily for all the readers Tchaikovsky left Stenwold out of a large majority of the story so i didn't have to struggle through the chapters with his involvement. All in all i believe this whole story had some very weak connections to previous 4 novels and so many of the great characters were missing. With the losses of Salma, Tisamon, Felice, Archeos,Balkus and any other character you may have enjoyed, there is not much for the reader to look forward to in the next installment.

However, there is one thing we can all look forward to; we know Tynisa is alive somewhere as she was mentioned infrequently throughout the novel Hopefully the author will develop some new strong characters that the reader can grow to love. I will definitely read book 6 when it is published but if it is more of the same i will have to say goodbye to this series.

View all 8 comments. It took me a ridiculously long time to finish this book, not because it isn't engaging it is, oh my goodness, it is! I had devoured the first four books of the series, and the sheer emotional impact of them was starting to wear on me. I finally had to put the book down and take a breather, reading some fluffier things. When I came back to it, though, I fell right back in without missing a beat. Finishing the book was very emotional, after spending so much time immersed in the universe.

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I had t It took me a ridiculously long time to finish this book, not because it isn't engaging it is, oh my goodness, it is! I found myself breathing ever so much more easily as soon as I found a post mentioning books six, seven, and eight. None of them are published yet, of course, but they're coming, and I'm satisfied with that for now. This is a review of the entire series - there are NO spoilers. When I look back at the Shadows of the Apt, what strikes me at first might seem incongruous to most.

There are no unnecessary descriptions of food. Or sex, clothing, family crests, whores or incest. And I loved it. Not a single wasted line. There may be many This is a review of the entire series - there are NO spoilers. If I had to choose one, however, its this - Tchaikovsky doesn't waste a single page, character or event in his storytelling - the march of story is relentless through thousands of pages, culminating in a satisfying finale. There are no elves, trolls, orcs or dwarves - instead, Tchaikovsky populates this world with Insect Kinden - human beings of different races who derive their primary characteristics from insects.

Beetle kinden are slow, plodding, hardworking and intelligent with a flair for statesmanship. The Ant Kinden are warlike and live in each other's heads, attempting to work towards the betterment of the Ant city - a frightening and at the same time amusing allegory for communism. The Mantis Kinden live in the woods, are excellent fighters and are generally rooted in arcane magic and rituals - individualists who are dying out due to adherence to traditions which have lost all meaning. There are Spiders, Moths, Thorn Bugs and Flies each with their own definite characteristics that would require an encyclopedia to cover in entirety.

At someone's last count there were close to thirty distinct kinden introduced in the series and I belive that must just be scratching the surface. Another important differentiating factor amongst the people of this world is Aptitude. The Apt are those who are skilled in the art of artifice, and mechanics. They are scientists, using the laws of nature to change the world around them. Crossbows, artillery and even primitive air power all based on the principles of clockwork make their appearance in the early pages of the series.

On the other end of the spectrum however, are the Inapt - the erstwhile rulers of the world to whom the apt were but slaves until a long ago revolution altered the power structure forever. The Inapt live in a world of magic, intuition and prophecy - incapable of so much as unlatching a door, their minds unable to comprehend the machine world in form or function.

This status quo is under threat from the Wasp Kinden of the north - a ferocious warlike race which has come into its own and seeks to conquer the world. While this might sound like a cliche far too common to all fantasy fiction there is an important difference - the Wasps aren't inherently evil.

The initial stand off is more one of culture and ideology than of good and evil. Two of my favourite characters are, in fact, Wasps. The only people who are aware of the threat the Wasps pose to the world are the beetle Stenwold Maker, a master in Collegium and his Mantis friend Tisamon.


As the series begins Stenwold sends his niece Che, his adopted daughter Tynisa, a spider and his halfbreed student Totho and the dragonfly prince Salme Dien to the factory city of Helleron for espionage against the Wasp empire. Having turned its eyes towards the university city of Collegium, a beacon of enlightenment and artifice in the Lowlands, the Wasps are determined to stop Stenwold Maker at any cost. Anymore would give away the joy of experiencing the plot for yourself.

Rest assured, things get complicated very quickly, alliances shift and change, people die and before you know you might find yourself rooting for a villain. Over ten books we are treated to multiple detailed accounts of various battles, war movements and deaths. The narrative moves effortlessly between personal accounts of war and one on one battles.

There is a very real sense of forward progression in the book with characters always changing, finding their ideals and comfort zone being challenged on a regular basis and reacting to the world in new ways. These interactions might not always be pleasant and not everyone might walk away from them alive - however, it is wonderful to see such attention to character progression.

No one walks out of this book unscathed or unchanged. Some change for the better, some for the worse - but all changes seem normal, organic and make sense. This series capitalises on this characterisation to make things all the more gripping. SOTA cannot be labelled as grimdark fantasy either. There is war, death, murder, rape and cruelty. There are slave camps, dying civilisations and loss. A large chunk of characters are dead towards the end of the book. However, there is a resilience to all the characters that makes it possible to believe they will eventually find a way out. It might be because the author is British but all the characters have a stoic, stiff upper lip approach to situations which makes even the darkest segments of the book immensely enjoyable.

The dialogue is witty, snappy and fluid - more importantly, it's distinctive in a sense and tailor made to each character. Atrocities, when they are committed are mentioned but not described in detail. This seems to be a more effective method of conveying the horrors of war. I have seen fantasy where rape and murder are described to a distasteful degree under the excuse of realism.

Tchaikovsky actually doesn't indulge in voyeurism which significantly increased the emotional impact when bad things eventually DID happen. Basically books 4 and 10 A standard fantasy talks about heroism in the face of darkness with a well demarcated line between good and evil. SOTA takes a different tack. While set in a fictional world the themes are often all too relevant. The novels are given over to varied themes - whether duty to oneself comes over and above duty to the city state, are we willing to enslave others so that we may be free, the struggle between the old world and new, between science and superstition.

There are also deeper questions about the creation of weapons of war and deterrents- does an inventor take pride in a weapon that has been created solely for killing, and if he is horrified what mental toll does this take? The stark contrast between killing a person yourself and ordering the deaths of hundreds in a mechanised attack is also touched upon.

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The question asked of a lot of the artificers in this series is whether they feel war has allowed them progress and innovation and whether, coming on the heel of the human cost, this innovation is worth it. A lot of the characters might answer yes. The beauty in Tchaikovsky's characters lies in how easy it is to understand if not exactly sympathise this point of view. Over the course of the series, we are also treated to innovation and how it can change the face of war. If you continue to experience issues please contact our team on support mydeal.

Shadows of the Apt: Be the first to review 0 0. Buy Now Add to Cart Add to wishlist. The war with the Wasp Empire has ended in a bitter stalemate, and Collegium has nothing to show for it but wounded veterans. Cheerwell Maker finds herself crippled in ways no doctor can mend, haunted by ghosts of the past that she cannot appease, seeking for meaning in a city that no longer seems like home. The Empress Seda is regaining control over those imperial cities who refused to bow the knee to her, but she draws her power from something more sinister than mere armies and war machines.

Only her consort, the former spymaster Thalric, knows the truth, and now the assassins are coming and he finds his life and his loyalties under threat yet again. Out past the desert of the Nem the ancient city of Khanaphes awaits them both, with a terrible secret entombed beneath its stones