Seal of the Worm (Shadows of the Apt #10) (Final)

789dd4c03aa1201d12537331a649cff0 This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 by express permission of this reviewer.

Title: Seal of the Worm

Series: Shadows of the Apt #10

Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 624



The Wasp Empire is collapsing beneath Seda’s actions. The Worm’s Empire is breaking free.

And the world as the Kinden all know it is changing.


My Thoughts:

This was more enjoyable and a good bit deeper than I was expecting.  I suspect it had as much to do with my frame of mind [ie, Thanksgiving] than with the actual book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It wraps things up while giving us a rousing good adventure story.

The series overall made me feel like I was on a roller coaster. Not because Tchaikovsky’s style significantly changed, but because it seemed the focus, the sub-genre almost, changed at the midpoint.

From starting out as a Heroic Quest to save Collegium from the Wasp Empire it changed to a much more relational, “think out the consequences” type of story.

I have to admit, I did NOT like the change after book 5. But the stories were still good, just different than what I had started out with.

With this ending book and seeing how everything works together, I do heartily recommend this series to any Fantasy fan who wants something that is just a tiny “bit” different. I did find the whole Kinden aspect to be wicked cool.

War Master’s Gate (Shadows of the Apt #9)


This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 by express permission of this reviewer



Empress Seda and Cheerwell Maker, sisters and enemies in magic, both are trying to gain a magical prize from the Bad Old Days of the inapt.

At the same time Collegium is once again threatened by the Wasp Empire, as is the last remaining Ant City of Sarn.

And through, under, around and over it all is a vague menace from the Past, waiting to burst through to light of day and rule the world yet again.


My Thoughts

Where the previous book, The Air War, was primarily about armies and tech, this book returned to the magical roots of the series

Seda is consolidating her power, Cheerwell is still trying to figure out what her newfound powers mean and the battles for the Wasp Empire’s supremacy go on.

At over 700 pages [that does include an appendix of names and a short story that fills in a specific part of the story but isn’t necessary for it], I never felt like this book dragged.

There was a good balance of magic, tech fighting, politicing both internal and external. It also seemed that Tchaikovsky did a much better job in this book of keeping the scope of his story a little more focused on characters we already knew about. While we are introduced to new characters, they are mainly supporting characters to the main cast.

And you know what? Collegium finally gets conquered. Maybe that will knock some of the arrogance out of the residents, unless it kills them of course.

And the Worm. A “new to us” kinden that was so bad that thousands of years ago the whole Inapt world united to defeat this fearsome foe. And they weren’t truly defeated, simply locked away. So guess what happens here? Seda, in her arrogance, accidentally unlocks them. Oh boy, that can’t be good! The book ends with the disappearances of whole villages, all the people simply vanished.

In the notes, Tchaikovsky does note that the series is wrapping up. I’m glad to be honest. I want some resolution. Even if he continues the story in another series, I need an end to this. I am guessing/hoping 3 more books? We’ll see.


Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky

War Master’s Gate

Shadows of the Apt #9

The Air War (Shadows of the Apt #8)


This review is written with a GPL 3.0 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 by express permission of this reviewer


All is in turmoil as the world moves towards war. In Solarno, the spies watch each other and ready their knives, while Myna sees the troops muster at its border and emotions run high as it vows never to be enslaved again. In Collegium, the students argue politics, too late to turn the tide. In the heart of the Empire, new pilots have completed their secretive training, generals are being recalled to service and armies are ready to march. Their Empress, the heir to two worlds, intends to claim her birthright.


My Thoughts

To date, Shadows of the Apt has been an 1800’s magic warfare. In this book, things went all World War I, possibly even World War II level of tech. Airplanes, tanks and mechanized warfare. I signed up for Swords and Sorcery. And this series started that way.

The characters from the earlier books are dying, getting old, being pushed aside. New characters are being introduced, then either killed or sent on their own little side adventure, thus fracturing the overall storyline even more.

Stenwald is an old doddering man. Tisamon is a ghost working for the Wasp Empress. Stenwald’s niece is not even in this story, she’s somewhere else, doing something “magic’y”. Her moth lover is dead, Thalric is not part of the story, many of Stenwald’s apprentices are dead.

A lot of the things that I liked in the first 5 books are gone. I just hope the next couple of books improve things.

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Air War

Shadows of the Apt #8

Heirs of the Blade

Heirs of the BladeHeirs of the Blade

Shadows of the Apt #7

Adrian Tchaikovsky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I have enjoyed this series, Shadows of the Apt, since the beginning. A couple of the books were kind of meh, but overall, I have had nothing but solid enjoyment from Tchaikovsky.

This book follows Che, Tynisa and the Wasp Empress [Seda?] on their journeys. Che and Seda are somehow linked due to the Slug Lord magic and Che must come to grips with the fact that she exists in the world of magic. Tynisa is possessed by her father Tisamon’s ghost to fill his dreams of death in fighting.

A good story of fighting, self-discovery and magic. A great story of societal changes, turning back the clock while marching forward in time.

I have the first 5 books in the PYR imprint. Then they dropped him for one reason or another. Haven’t gotten the courage up to buy the other books in a different paper format. I will eventually though, this series is worth it.

The Sea Watch (Shadows of the Apt #6)

The Sea Watch

Shadows of the Apt #6

Adrian Tchaikovsky

4 Stars


It seems like it is Stenwold Maker against the entire Kinden world. I feel pretty bad for the poor guy. Everything seems to go wrong for him.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Not quite as much as the previous books, but I think the Wasp Empire makes a fantastic antagonist, and the underwater kinden made me feel kind of creepy/crawly and Tchaikovsky’s descriptions made ME feel claustrophobic.

I have to say, it sure would be nice if somebody besides Stenwold became the major character. I just have this image of an 80 year old tottering around. I know that isn’t accurate, but from the descriptions in previous books, that is how I see him.

Looking forward, with great anticipation, to the next book, Heirs to the Blade[I think that is the name].

The Scarab Path (Shadows of the Apt #5)

The Scarab Path

Shadows of the Apt #5

Adrian Tchaikovsky

4 Stars


Cheerwell is now inapt, due to some mystical hokum due to her moth lover dying. She mopes about. So Stenwald sends her on an expedition to a city that is apparently full of inapt beetles.

The empire of black and gold is also interested in this city, so Athric, who has been having some real issues with being married to the new empress, jumps at the chance to get out. Lots of things happen and Athric and Cheerwell get together. The city is almost taken, but the Slug kinden, who are major magicians, rouse themselves to destroy the army that has almost taken the city.

Turns out that the ghost of the mantis who killed the emperor has been haunting Cheerwell and the book ends with it going after its daughter, where ever she is, and Cheerwell and Athric following the ghost.

So yeah, a new story arc is commencing. This story continues to feel full, alive, vibrant and interesting. Information about the world is detailed enough to give you a picture of all that you don’t know. Kind of like a tease. I like it.

Salute the Dark (Shadows of the Apt #4)

Salute the Dark

Shadows of the Apt #4

Adrian Tchaikovsky

4 Stars


I tore through this like a ravening wolf. Seriously though, this was a fantastic read. Even though I’m no big fan of characters being killed off, the way Tchaikovsky handles it in his books not only makes sense, but more importantly, makes it palatable.

Which I find to be the biggest accomplishment so far. It takes fantastic writing to convince you to be ok with major characters dying. Unless you are a sicko who like everybody dying [ btw, I’m not a sicko 😉 ]

Blood of the Mantis (Shadows of the Apt #3)

Blood of the Mantis

Shadows of the Apt #3

Adrian Tchaikovsky

4 Stars


the story continues. The wasps take over a spider town, Archeos gets ahold of the mysterious box, only to have it stolen by a mosquito kinden and almost killed and the wasps begin a concentrated battle for the lowlands.

Really enjoyed this. Only complaint was that when I got to the end, I was NOT expecting it. So I clicked the “next” button, only to have no “next” page. Not long enough. Good thing I have the next book available!

Dragonfly Falling (Shadows of the Apt #2)

Dragonfly Falling

Shadows of the Apt #2

Adrian Tchaikovsky

4 Stars


whoo! This was good! The wasp empire rolls over an ant city, allows another ant city to invade Collegium [which beats them off with help of allies right the end], Totho [the halfbreed in love with Cheerwell Maker] turns traitor and joins the empire, lots of fighting, lots of cool exploring the world of humans with insect characteristics without being stodgy, dry or repetitive.

Tchaikovsky can write. Very well. The story just sucked me in and I in no way felt like I was reading 500+ pages. This is what fantasy should be. Engaging, not over the top, telling a large story but not losing sight of individuals while not getting bogged down in meaningless detail, exploring a new world [to the reader] while not being expositional. Highly recommended!!!

Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt #1)

Empire in Black and Gold

Shadows of the Apt #1

Adrian Tchaikovsky

4 Stars


set in a world where humans are insect aspected, by kind, ant-kinden, mantis kinden, moth kinden, wasp kinden, etc. The Wasp Empire is rolling over the known world and 20 years earlier a group of friends watched a city fall and vowed to prepare for the time when the Empire came to their homes.

That time is now. Follows 4 main characters who are proteges of one of those original friends. Their adventures as they begin to learn about and try to combat the threat of the Wasp Kinden Empire.

It is very well written, but weird with humans having insect aspects and certain powers. Weird but very original.