Review: The Sea Watch

This post will include my review of the book The Sea Watch by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The sixth book in the Shadows of the Apt Series, and was released in February 2011.

The text below is taken from the blurb on the back of the book.


A shadow is falling over Collegium.

Despite the tenuous peace, Stenwold Maker knows that the Empire will return for his city. Even as he tries to prepare for the resurgence of the black and gold, a hidden threat is steadily working against his people. Ships that sail from Collegium’s harbour are being attacked, sunk by pirates. Some just go missing…

Lulled by the spread of lies and false promises, Stenwold’s allies are falling away from him. He faces betrayal on every side, and the Empire is just waiting for the first sign of weakness to strike. But the Empire is not the only power that has its eyes on Collegium. And even the Wasp-kinden may not be powerful enough to stave off the forces massing in the darkness and turning hungry eyes toward Stenwold’s city.

Being the sixth book of a series creates certain difficulties, with each instalment it gets harder to treat the reader with something new, as by now we are familiar with the world, its people, its politics, its technology, the way the magic system works, and the characters. So it is a credit to the author that this book has managed to introduce so much that is completely new at this stage of the series.

I have enjoyed all the books of this series so far, and while this one isn’t my favourite (book 5 claims that title) I did enjoy it.

The down side is that, for all its 700 pages, it felt rushed. Like there were two 700 page books worth of material condensed into this one book.

Spider-kinden greed, Wasp-kinden espionage, pirates, Collegium politics, betrayal, kidnapping, murder all combine to drive the story line from the familiar regions of the lowlands to an entirely new world below the sea. It is here that we are introduced to a range of new kinden (many with similar sounding names that made it hard to organise in my head at times) and each with their own motivations and desires. The book has a glossary at the back which does help but flipping back and forth between the glossary and the narrative does ruin the immersion.

The story was engaging, and the Sea-kinden were interesting, and their world was intriguing but the whole thing flashed by much to quickly for me to altogether enjoy the experience.

This is a good book in a good series, and anyone who is a fan of the series should definitely read this one. Just make sure you keep a notebook at hand to help you get the names straight in your head.

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