I’m excited to be welcoming my book-loving mom back to the blog as she helps me tackle the review pile! She’s basically a co-blogger at this point so look forward to more from her ;-).
I worried about The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher because I don’t usually embrace a new series from a favorite author. It is usually discordant to have a familiar and beloved style show up crafting a different world and characters. Butcher’s new series, however, has made me rethink my rule of thumb. This series is as well-crafted as his later Harry Dresden books, with rich characters and an expansive new world. I had a very hard time putting down this tome and found myself breezing through its 600+ pages in a matter of a few days.
Note: I received an advanced copy of The Aeronaut’s Windlass from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher (The Cinder Spires #1)
Published by Roc on Sept. 29th, 2015
Genres: Adult, Steampunk
Page Length: 640 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.
Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.
And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…
- Although I haven’t read anything in the steam-punk genre prior to this work, I was never lost. The world building was smooth and spot on. Descriptions of the surroundings … especially the etheric airships … were sufficient without making me feel overburdened with details.
- Butcher gives you JUST enough back story to make sense of the action, but he leaves tantalizing hints about the ecosystem and the social order that I hope will be fleshed out in subsequent books in the series.
- The characters …. oh, the characters. They are fully developed and multi-dimensional. They are not all aristocracy (or nearly so), but are drawn from all strata of the society of the Spires. Heroes and villains are complex and rational … well, except for those who are complex and mad as hatters ….. and there is a nice surprise waiting for anyone who loves cats.
- The Aeronaut’s Windlass is well-paced, especially for such a large volume, and it held my attention throughout. There are moments of comic relief and plenty of blood and guts airship battles to please anyone who loves sea battles and pirates.
- The dialog, especially in the first few chapters, seems a bit stilted, especially between the main character and his executive officer. While this may have been an artistic flourish, it was a bit grating right off the bat. By the end of the book, I didn’t notice …
If you love rich world building, steam-punk, magic, or cats …. do yourself a favor and bite into this thick book as soon as you can.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
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