Simply put, Nil Admirari is the weakest book in The Saga of Tanya the Evil so far. The phrase Nil Admirari is Latin for “to be surprised by nothing”. Tanya has spent a lot of this series doing just that thanks to her knowledge of Earth’s military history. And just like certain real-world wars, this book deals with how it’s a really bad idea to invade Russia during winter. The characters know this and everyone on both sides starts to hunker down for the winter. So, that doesn’t leave much room for the fighting this series is really built on. It takes a backseat this book and the story spends most of its time on another component of war: politics.
Personally, I still enjoyed this because politics interest me. But it is very different from what this series has been up until now. It may be a turnoff for a lot of readers who are much more interested in the action.
So, we’ve reached the point where the story is mimicking late-WWII in a lot of ways. Particularly the political failings that affected Germany at the end of WWII. In both real history and this book, there comes a point where people start to realize the war can’t go on forever. Militarily, the Empire is at its limit and they will run out of manpower and resources eventually.
So, when you cannot keep fighting, what’s the next step? Negotiate, of course. That’s the simple, logical solution. But humans are rarely simple, logical creatures. Yes, you can look at material numbers, but how do you justify all the sacrifices it took to get to that point? The generation of young people that have been wiped out by the conflict? Should you get nothing for all the sweat and blood you spent to get here?! Depends on how much you value your pride.
And just because Tanya (and others, mostly others. Tanya’s barely in this book, actually) are debating all this doesn’t mean the war is on full pause. We do still get a few minor action scenes in here plus more battles that are mentioned rather than seen. But it’s clear to everyone that before long something is going to break. The Empire? Their enemies? Time will tell in the next book. And hopefully with more action sequences to pick up the pace.