So, here we are at book 3 in Adrian Tchaikovsky's epic Shadows of the Apt series.
There is a lull in the fighting/Wasp Empire invasion of The Lowlands due, mainly, to the onset of Winter and also to the military events in book 2 and this gives the author and the reader chance to visit more of the world only partially revealed so far. This actually turned out to be a bit of a relief as the first two books had seen a lot of fighting/warfare and this was a welcome change of pace.
As before there are new Kinden (races) introduced here and new characters ( I was particularly taken with the Fly Kinden pilot Taki - a great addition to the cast from the very beginning of the book). We also get more into the character of Uctebri, the mosquito Kinden, who I'm sure will be at the centre of everything bad and evil before too long.
As I said before, Blood of the Mantis is less about the fighting, so there is more espionage/politics but it does not make it any less of a gripping ride. Many questions - who is working for who, who can you trust etc. and I guess the rule would have to be trust no-one.
Add into the mix the chase for a magical McGuffin (in this case the box that was stolen in book 2), which leads the story down more traditional fantasy paths and what you have here is another intriguing chapter in what looks like becoming one of my al time favourite fantasy series.
AND IT HAS AN EXPANDED MAP!!!!!!!! (sorry about that but I do like a good map)
The only downside to this book is that at 424 pages it is a good bit shorter than the previous books in the series but I guess it was as long as it needed to be. Normal Big Book service will be resumed as soon as possible ;-D