Book Review: Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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Spiderlight is a short fantasy novel written by Adrian Tchaikovsky. This is a book that caught my eye due to its strange premise and short length. I picked it up only very recently and blew threw all 300 pages in only about 4 days.

The book is about a band of heroes on a quest to destroy an evil dark lord, sort of like Lord of the Rings. According to the prophecy, they need the fang of a spider matron, and a “map” to the location of the dark lord known as the ‘spiders path’. This is where we meet the main character of our story, Nth, or Enth. Nth is a male spider within the mother’s brood of spiders. When the “heroes” of the story arrive to take the fang and map, they discover that there is no literal map, and the spider mother can not properly give instructions that a human would understand, so the solution is to send one of her spiders as a guide to the location. This spider of course ends up being Nth. The heroes decide that they cannot simply take a giant spider into cities, taverns, and alike, so their magician comes up with a solution; he will simply turn the spider into a person. Nth is transformed into a man, however he still has some spider like features and abilities which make him both very strong and very scary looking to humans still. Nth as well has to deal with his newfound humanity, while aiding his enslavers in their quest.

This book deals with a lot of really deep themes for such a short book. In just under 300 pages Tchaikovsky raises questions of morality, religion, humanity, friendship, and more. The twist at the end, which I will not spoil, is easily one of the best twists I’ve ever read. Tchaikovsky has truly written a masterpiece, and has found a new fan.