What are Insect-Kinden?
Everyone in the Shadows of The Apt series is a member of one or more kinden. This is analogous to race in our world. Where people here can be White, Black, Hispanic, Indian, Asian etc, in Shadows of The Apt people are identified by kinden. Each kinden is descended from a tribe of humans who made some sort of agreement with the Ancestor Spirit of particular kind of insect. It is not necesarilly the case that all members of a kinden are from the same source: Imperial Beetles are notably fairer skinned than Lowlander Beetles, while still displaying being obvbiously beetles. Examples of kinden are Mantis, Spider, Beetle, Wasp and Ant. They all have specific racial traits that are explained in detail on their own page. But, it is possible to be of a mixed heritage, for example Ant and Beetle kinden. These are called halfbreeds by the population at large. Halfbreeds are looked down on by most other people but can sometimes have a unique mix of talents.
What's the difference between all the Kinden?
It is generally possible to identify a person's kinden with just a glance at their physical structure. Beetles are stocky; Spiders are slender and tall; Ants are a short and wiry. However, these are purely external, and the thing which makes each kinden unique is their Ancestor Art (or just Art). Beetles endure; Mantids are deadly in combat; Wasps can throw an energetic Sting; Dragonflies have wings.
This is just a basic introduction to Kinden, but will hopefull help you while reading Shadows of The Apt.