This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Bear and the Serpent
Series: Echoes of the Fall #2
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
Asmander has returned to the River Kingdom with Maniye and her Steel wolfpack, only to find he is too late and the kingdom is already riven asunder between the 2 siblings vying for control. Asmander’s father continues his manipulation to make the best of a bad situation (in his eyes) and Asmander is finally forced to realize how bad his father truly is.
The male heir, who Asmander is championing, is set upon by assassins and his own supposedly loyal servants. He escapes with the help of Maniye and the Wolfpack and they have adventures out in the swampy swampland. They come across a segment of the Serpent that is trying to make a deal with the plague people, who are their mythical enemies. However, the plague people are on the run from the soul-less people from over the ocean. A lot of pointless crap happens and Asmander finally sneaks his two friends (the siblings) together so they can talk. The female heir takes the crown and her brother takes the number 2 place. Their storyline ends with the news that the soulless have already started attacking the River Kingdom and the Horse People are almost gone.
The second storyline deal with the Bear and his attempt to bring all the northern tribes together when he finds out that the villages of the Seals have been attacked and all the Seal people have turned into their animal forms but lost their minds. He puts together an Olympic style event and everyone does feats of this and that and eventually they go after the soulless people invading their land. They drive them off but with horrific losses and we the readers are shown an airship in the colors of Black and Gold.
That storyline ends with the Tribes victorious but the Bear realizing just how small their victory actually was.
This is the first book of Tchaikovsky’s that I’m actually disappointed in. Even when I read Spiderlight back in ’16, I was more pissed off than disappointed. I was bored for most of this book and it felt like it was re-treading so much from the first book in terms of the Tribal abilities and the reveal about the Wasp Kinden being the soulless people, while it should have been wicked awesome, just left me feeling kind of “Oh, ok, whatever. Next!”
I can remember halfway through when Maniye and her crew are dealing with the male heir and all I could think of was “throw that pussy to the crocodiles and get this story moving, please”. The Bear story didn’t please me any more with “fear” just turning everyone into animals. Whatever. Master your fear or you DESERVE to go extinct. Needless to say, I was not feeling generous and nothing in this book made me feel like being generous.
Now, with all of that being said, the reason I gave this 3 stars is because it is completely up to par in terms of technical writing. Tchaikovsky can write like a master wordsmith and even in books like this where I’m just blah’ed out, I can still appreciate the skill even while not really enjoying the ride.
My expectations for the third and final book have really taken a nosedive with this. Poop.