Review: War Master’s Gate, Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rating: 3 out of 5

This volume continued the trend from the previous book—a trend by which the rapid technological advancement of both the Wasps and their Beetle opponents is made undone by the increased magic that both of those nations are now privy to. This, for me, lessened the value of both the magical and non-magical in the world of the apt.

My favourite part of this book was probably the story of the two Mantis holds and how they played into the other characters’ aspirations. The parts that both Che and Seda play in this fate is also quite well written, including the aspirations that drive both of these in their addresses to the Mantis. How both of them get to be in the same place at the same time is the crux of this story, a magical Moth artefact (if it can be called that). Suffice to say, I wasn’t surprised at all to see things end up as they did.

The other part of the activities takes place in Collegium, a story that further suffers from the same delusions that Stenwold Maker had in the previous instalment. This exuberance, where previously we had a reasonable Beetle, makes it quite tough for the reader to continue siding with the Collegiates, especially when their enemies are led by Tynan who is one of my favourite (minor) characters.

Again, this wasn’t a favourite of mine in this series, but I was quite surprised at where we were with events by the end of this book. Suffice to say, it didn’t go as I was expecting, and that in itself is something. I was keen enough to see how the story ends—and what characters make it—but this volume is low on individual merit.

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