Can’t Wait Wednesday : Redemption’s Blade: After The War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Redemption’s Blade: After The War by Adrian Tchaikovsky.  I want this book in my life.

redemption.jpgTen years ago, the renegade demigod known as the Kinslayer returned. His armies of monsters issued from the pits of the earth, spearheaded by his brutal Yorughan soldiers. He won every battle, leaving burnt earth and corruption behind. Thrones toppled and cities fell as he drove all before him. And then he died. A handful of lucky heroes and some traitors amongst his own, and the great Kinslayer was no more.

Celestaine was one such hero and now she has tasked herself to correct the worst excesses of the Kinslayer and bring light back to her torn-up world. With two Yorughan companions she faces fanatics, war criminals and the monsters and minions the Kinslayer left behind as the fragile alliances of the war break down into feuding, greed and mistrust.

The Kinslayer may be gone, but he cast a long shadow she may never truly escape.

Due for publication: 26th July 2018


Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Posted On 20 November 2017

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dogs of warDogs of War is one of those books that turned into a very happy surprise for me.  I requested a copy of this because I’ve read this author before and liked his style of writing and so whilst the theme worried me a little, because I imagined it was going to maybe be a bit more military style than I would normally attempt, I had faith that Tchaikovsky would win me over.  I wasn’t wrong.  Dogs of War is so much more than a military style story, in fact after the first few chapters of action and warfare it turns into a different style of drama completely.  This is a thought provoking story that really packs a punch.

Rex is a bioform. I’m not going to try and describe all the mechanics of this but basically he’s a genetically modified dog, part human and with heavy duty warfare installed for good measure.  He’s the controlling unit for a Multi-form Assault Pack, an incredible fighting team that includes the characters Dragon, Honey and Bees.  Each of these have their own unique abilities that I won’t dwell on here but take it from me, this is a deadly team of bioforms that you don’t want to tangle with.  Now, Rex controls the unit and Rex’s master controls him.  Rex wants to be a good dog.  He’s programmed to obey not to think and if he’s told to kill he fulfils his orders with ruthless efficiency.  Unfortunately, whilst his actions and motivations are easy to discern those of his master have gone a little awry and Rex and his unit eventually go rogue.

The story then changes tack completely, it moves through a courtroom style drama and then goes on almost into a conspiracy theory style story but at it’s heart and soul is a discussion about rights.  Do Rex and his team have any rights basically, a similar theme to those explored recently in stories concerning AI.  If you create something, a weapon, a machine – does it have ‘rights.  Should Rex and his team, and in fact the hundreds of other bioforms created be allowed to live if they’re deemed dangerous.  Of course Rex is dangerous, everything about him is threatening, his size, his speed, his voice – don’t even get started on the weapons.  No doubt you’ll have heard the phrase ‘there’s no such thing as a bad dog – just bad owners’ – is there any such thing as a bad weapon and isn’t Rex so much more than just a weapon?  Clearly in this instance he and his team are intended as the scapegoats.

I really enjoyed this book.  It’s incredibly compelling, it does jump around in a most surprising fashion and it’s told from a number of POVs but it’s crazily addictive to read and I could barely put it down.  If I was to pin down what really made this book so good for me I’d have to say the characters and the way in which it really makes you think.  I felt near to tears on a couple of occasions – which is not something I ever expected when picking up a book about warfare and bioforms involving 7 or 8 foot tall dogs, and I kept thinking about it for days after completion.  That to me spells out a winning book.

I think it really speaks of the author’s writing chops that he can make me love a team of fighting bioforms.  Honey is amazing,  Dragon, maybe more briefly sketched and yet still easy to picture and Bees – I won’t go there because I don’t even know where to start.  I cared about them all but I absolutely loved Rex and I was consumed with an equal desire to shout at him for being idiotic and scratch behind his ears (which, apart from the fact I couldn’t reach could be a dangerous thing to do).

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this.  If, like me, you find yourself maybe not drawn to a military style story then be assured that isn’t really the main focus – of course, there’s some warfare involved and to say it’s a dirty war would be an understatement but this book has much more to offer than that.  It makes you think and it definitely provokes strong emotions.

I’m going to leave it there.  I don’t want to give too much away about the nature of the surprises in store, this is a great novel because of the surprising way it adapts, much like the bioforms and other creations within the story.

I would have no hesitation in recommending this.  I received a copy courtesy of the publisher, through Netgalley, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

This review was initially published on The Speculative Herald here.

Waiting on Wednesday: Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week I’m highlighting: Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky, check it out and be warned *scary cover*.  This book looks awesome and sounds fantastic: ‘exhilarating fantasy quest from Adrian Tchaikovsky’ – do I really need to say any more?  I think not, I rest my case and you’re welcome.

SpiderlightThe Church of Armes of the Light has battled the forces of Darkness for as long as anyone can remember. The great prophecy has foretold that a band of misfits, led by a high priestess will defeat the Dark Lord Darvezian, armed with their wits, the blessing of the Light and an artifact stolen from the merciless Spider Queen.

Their journey will be long, hard and fraught with danger. Allies will become enemies; enemies will become allies. And the Dark Lord will be waiting, always waiting…

Spiderlight is an exhilarating fantasy quest from Adrian Tchaikovsky, the author of Guns at Dawn and the Shadows of the Apt series.

Due out August 2nd


The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Tiger and the WolfHaving just read Adrian Tchaikovsky’s contribution to the Monstrous Little Voices book (which I loved) I was very keen to pick this book up, plus, who am I kidding, the whole idea of shapeshifting tribes combined with the beautiful cover, I was simply hooked.
The story is really a coming of age tale set in the bleak North where life is harsh, temperatures are harsher and war seems to be imminent.  The world here is one of clans who can shift into the form of an animal depending on the tribe’s totem and in this respect the book includes many different forms of animal, even fantastical creatures such as dragons.
At the start of the story we are introduced to Maniye.  Maniye’s father, Akrit, is the chief of the Wolf clan.  He’s an ambitious man who keeps a harsh rule over his tribe.  Akrit now looks to expand his realm and his eye is fixed on that of the Tiger clan.  The two have warred in the past and the peace between them is very fragile.  Using his daughter Akrit plans to make the tiger clan bow to his rule and in doing so hopes to become the automatic choice to lead all the wolf tribes.
Maniye is something of an outcast.  The tribe have a cold dislike of her and don’t see her as one of their own and her own father seems to deeply resent her – not only for the fact that she is his only child, and a female, but because of her own biological make-up.  Her mother being from the Tiger clan has left her with a strange inheritance and warring souls.  Maniye can shift into both Wolf and Tiger forms, an ability that she must hide from her clan as they would tear her apart.  She must however choose one in order for her body to find some peace from the conflicting demands of having two animal’s souls constantly striving for dominance within her. Unfortunately, after passing the tribe’s initiation ceremony into adulthood, Maniye finally learns of her father’s true plans for her and in a moment of rebellion she runs away.  Of course her rebellion is a shattering blow in itself but Maniye also releases a prisoner who she takes with her.  Hesprec, a man of the snake clan and a priest.  Captured by the wolves this man was to be sacrificed to the wolf god.  Desperate and fearing his control slipping Maniye’s father sends a man called Broken Axe in pursuit of his daughter.   Broken Axe is a lone wolf, a murderer and a man who holds the fear and respect of the tribe.  He is also the man who murdered Maniye’s mother at the request of Akrit and he is now on her trail.
It’s at this point that we’re introduced to a number of other characters.  Asmander comes from the south and is the champion of his tribe which means he can shift not only into the animal of his clan (a crocodile) but can also take on the form of an unnamed beast.  He has his own reasons for travelling to the cold north that I won’t divulge.  Asmander is accompanied by a man called Venateer.  Of the dragon clan Venateer is now Asmander’s slave following his defeat in battle and the loss of his name.  He stays with Asmander in the hope of regaining his name and status and the relationship between the two is tense and angry.  The two are accompanied along the way by a female called Shyri who can shift into a hyena and seems to have joined their adventure purely to cause mischief.
I really enjoyed The Tiger and the Wolf however I did have a few niggles.  I think the story gets off to a fairly slow start although personally I enjoyed the set up and thought the gradual build up helped to give us a good idea of Maniye’s standing within the clan and also helped me to understand why she felt the need to run away.  What I did struggle a little with was a slight feeling of going around in circles during her flight and also what felt like something of a never ending display of small fights between different clans that felt a bit unnecessary on occasion.  It also feels like there’s an awful lot going on in terms of characters.  They certainly are an unusual bunch to bring together.  A wolf, snake, crocodile, hyena, dragon and eventually a bear (Loud Thunder).  Not to mention other clans who play brief roles such as the horse and bird clan and also the tigers who are at war with the wolves.  All these tribes have their own culture, religious beliefs and means of survival but there are so many introduced into the story that it would be impossible to thoroughly explore all of them which left me wanting a little more.   I understand that this is a trilogy though so it’s possible these other clans will undergo further exploration in the next instalments.
In terms of the characters, clearly Maniye takes centre stage.  At this point I feel a little so so about her  and I think that hit me most during the final scenes when I was more concerned and interested in reading about what was taking place with some of her companions and the conflicts they were experiencing rather than feeling over anxious about what was taking place with Maniye.  Strangely enough I think Broken Axe was my favourite character.  He has a surly stubborn streak and although he appears quite fearsome there’s more to him than at first meets the eye.  I also really liked Hesprec and Loud Thunder – both really interesting characters with intriguing clans and back stories that I would have liked to take a deeper look into.
I think the Tiger and the Wolf is very well written and contains some wonderful and unique concepts.  I think it suffers a little from having such a lot to introduce within the timeframe involved.  Personally I didn’t particularly love all the fighting between the clans which seems to happen quite regularly and spontaneously but I figure the author is showing us the animal nature of these characters so whilst I probably would have liked less I can see the point and also I’m guessing that other readers will probably love those elements of the story and would probably balk at anything less.  There’s certainly no lack of action and I think that will definitely appeal.
Overall this is a really good read with some incredibly unusual flights of fancy and very emotive writing.  This is an author who can really make you feel the cold, the hunger and the despair of his characters.  Very evocative writing and a world that I would love to explore further.  Wrap up warm, grab a mug of something hot and tuck in!
I received a copy courtesy of the publisher through Netgalley for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.
Review first appears at The Speculative Herald.
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