Monday, September 13, 2010

Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt 1)
I'm sorry to say that I just couldn't get into this book. It's a debut novel that came highly recommended, but it just didn't grab me, and I only made it a few chapters in before I gave up. It had a sort of interesting concept that I'd never seen before.

The races in the novel were somehow bound up with different types of insects, such as ants, beetles, mantises, wasps, flies and moths. Either through some sort of genetic meddling or via meditation each race obtained some of the abilities of their related insects. The ants had a group mind, the flies could fly and were used as couriers, the mantises were great warriors, and so forth.

Unfortunately, the novel started in a way that made me feel like I was missing a lot of back story, and then jumped to another place and time right away. There were references to bits of mythology that I had no background on, as well. In the author's bio, it mentions that he's an avid role-player. Maybe that sort of thing adds color in an RPG, but it just didn't do it for me.


Loni said...

I've read a few Forgotten Realms books (my husband has read a lot) and they're based on an RPG. Many of the writers are avid role-players as well. I haven't found any of them to be missing back story or reference things that weren't explained properly.

Jon said...

Hi Loni. I used to be an avid gamer, and I had a DM or two who used to like to drop cryptic hints and have NPCs spout legends and mythology to spice things up. This reminded me of that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.