Friday, December 27, 2013

Review: The Sea Watch by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Stenwold Maker is poised to bring in his ally Jodry Drillen into the vacant speaker's chair in the assembly, something he has been working on since the war with the wasp empire ended. However Master Failwright, a merchant with an interest vested in shipping, competes for attention at the assembly. Failwright is adamant that Collegium's trade by sea has been targeted by a hostile force as a number of ships have disappeared. While most of the assembly is incredulous at the claims, Stenwold decides to investigate and quickly learns that there are other powers interested in taking Collegium.

Stenwold is the main focus in this book. He has to deal with the juxtaposition of what his life was as a spymaster compared to what it now is which is more of a statesman. He is put through a ringer which tests his courage and beliefs. At least half a dozen support characters are given point of view sections throughout the book and the author does an excellent job of displaying the complexity of their motivations and ensuring the reader has a vested interest in all of them.

The world-building is interesting with the introduction of the sea-kinden who have recently taken their first steps into aptitude. This gives the author a chance to expand on the steam-punk aspects in an environment where no fuels can be burned, for obvious reasons.

The pace is well maintained throughout and the book stands rather well on it's own.

Overall strong character development and interesting world-building make for a strong installment. 8.5/10. 

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