This review was completed by Michael Cummings, staff reviewer with the YA Fantasy Guide.Before I even get into my review of this book, I should explain my past with this series. I first tried getting into the Shadows of the Apt series when book one, "Empire in Black and Gold," came out - tried, and failed. I thought the ideas were interesting, but the execution was a little too predictable even for me, and I gave up. I watched as successive novels came out, each one sounding awesome. I even read a few short stories set in this world of the Apt, but I never tried to go back to the full series. And then book five fell into my hands. I could still remember the characters and world setting from the first book, but would that be enough for me to get through "The Scarab Path"? Just barely, and now I know I've missed out on some awesome reading. Comparing book one to book five, it's easy to see Tchaikovsky's growth and maturation as a writer. The action scenes are well paced, and there are plenty of them. But this isn't just an excuse to chronicle some series of RPGborn campaigns - there is no want on violence, and every scene serves to further the plot. The only drawback of this novel is that it doesn't work as a stand alone story. If you've only read the back covers of the other four in the series, you know about the rise of the Wasp empire, and how by the end of book four the Wasps were halted, at least for now. In that respect, this novel is a new direction for the series. But without at least a basic familiarity of the cast involved, the Scarab Path would be confusing to navigate. Many names are just casually referred to, even when critical to the plot. In this novel we bring back Che and Thalric as our principal view point characters, with a mix of new and old supporting cast to round out the story narration. The story is set in the distant city of Khanaphes, a city consigned to myth where a strange kinden of beetles live their lives according to the laws of their mysteriously absent Masters. Che is there to find answers to the confusing questions she was left with at the end of the last book. And where Che goes, others will follow, all suspecting secret strategy in her visit to such a remote corner of the Nem desert. "The Scarab Path" was a good read that kept me up late reading often. Its always fun to read a book that is so stock full of high magic (the Art of the Apt can be described no other way) but where the characters are blind to it, seeing only the fantastical of the rare low (Inapt)magic. A wonderful blend of steampunk and epic fantasy, "The ScarabPath" makes a good addition to the Shadows of the Apt series.