The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
Release Date: September 2015
Thank you Roc and Netgalley for providing an ARC copy for me. This review was not influenced in any way from the publisher or author.
Synopsis: 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…
Comments: It’s been awhile since I’ve upated. But things and life happens. I’ll try to be quick. I greatly and immensely enjoyed this book. It is a first in a new series (if you missed it on the cover). By the way, this is classified as an adult. But I’m a firm believer in anyone can enjoy any book – so long as the book speaks to the reader. Onto the review…
I greatly enjoyed this book. I have read Butcher’s other books… though I took a break from the Dresden Files as I felt the series was reaching a point of meadering a bit. For those who do not read much fantasy or science fiction… this may be difficult for you immerse yourself into this book’s world. One thing I have to get off my chest now: This is NOT steampunk. In this first book there is nothing to denote steampunk. Sure there’s flying ships and crystal powered machinery… crystal powered… not steam nor gas nor vapor powered… crsytal… as in magic. I think of it as more like Final Fantasy where there’s a mixture of magic and technology. There is however, sky pirates… so there’s a lot of boat language… nautical stuff. And long descriptions of boats and stuff… which can bore some people. I liked it. It gave it a depth to these characters… These characters’ lively hoods revolve around flying ships… it’d be weird and atmospherically wrong to not touch upon any nautical terms and descriptions of boats. But as the saying goes: “whatever floats your boat.”
The characters… initially I felt the introduction to some of the characters were a bit dramatic. There is no subtly in characterizations for portions of the book. So time to time the characters fell into cliches. However, I did like Cat-Speaking girl (I cannot think of her name right now, for the life of me) and the handsome half breed soldier. Their story I felt was more compelling than the others. I guess seeing them come together made them more real, whereas the relationships of the other characters were already preestablished from the beginning of the book… and the current pacing of the book made them seem dull. One more note: most of the characters are pretty young… many of them teens or barely twenty… so this could be considered a young adult novel in that sense… felt like I should throw that out there.
The pacing was slow. But you know what… I liked it a lot. The plot seemed to meander but there was a plot. Windlass builds a slow tension. There doesn’t seem to be any immediate urgency, but the further into the book – this urgency grows and by the end… you don’t know what to do with the urgency because there’s no where to put it because there isn’t really an end. This may put off some readers… they may even think there was no plot. But I enjoyed this. This is a serialization of a big story. There doesn’t seem to be any sub-plots or arcs, which some people may want – like the Dresdin Files – but I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the slowly building tension and I liked the pacing and I enjoyed every scene. It all worked for me. Why? I have been in the mood for fantasy lately. Not the young adult kind that’s been pouring out into the scene, where the plot is early revealed and there’s no complexity at all, where the tension and urgency are immediate only because someone is going to die (or be hurt) – it’s intense, yes, but generally as a reader you already know if that character is going to live or not. Be hurt or not. The simmering tension found in this book is not for everyone. For me it was.
It liked it all. The cat tribes. The NOT steampunk, but crystal power gems. The characters. The world – it’s spires. Though I must say, this series feels close to proximity to the Codec Alera series also by Butcher, in the world’s structured society… where instead of Houses we have Spires. I hope the future books makes a distinction from it. But I’ll be fine if it doesn’t. I greatly enjoyed the Codec Alera series and I will also like the remainder of this series also.
Why the Recommendation: Same author. The world structures are similar (Houses vs. Spires… Like I mentioned in my review). Though rather than a band of heroes… Furies has a sole hero who is basically a very big-super-underdog. This is also an adult classified book.
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
Why the recommendation: The complexity of both worlds. There are two main female characters in both books (though they only make up a portion of the main cast)… and interestingly enough, both sets are from wealthy and noble houses (well for the most part… Bridget (that’s her name! Cat-girl) is the relunctant rich girl)… but their characterization are different. However Warbreaker is a stand alone and the book is also classified as adult.