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From the creator of such works of art as the “Furies of Calderon” and “The Dresden Files” Jim Butcher has now focused his immense talent onto, what is being called, the steampunk genre in his latest series, ”The Cinder Spires.”
Steampunk seems to be the latest trending term devising the name from a blending of sci-fi and fantasy with technology and aesthetic design inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery and the cyber punk genre.
The first book, “The Aeronaut’s Windlass,” is rich in Old World aristocratic political structures known as Spires, vintage clothing,” blended with magnificent airships, (reminding me of the airships in the “Grimm Noir” trilogy by Larry Correa) contesting in aerial naval battles, and other typical noir references usually associated with steampunk.
The plot moves quickly and Mr. Butcher introduces many characters and multiple action scenes that, at first seem distracting but soon become distinguishable and fit the story well. Bridget, scion of a once-prominent noble house on the verge of ruin and her cat, Rowl, Highborn Gwendolyn Lancaster, her “warrior born” cousin, Benedict; the grizzled Captain Grimm; and master etherealist Ferus and his assistant, Folly are a motley group of disgraced veterans and novices that are sent off to stop the mysterious force behind a very coordinated and deadly series of attacks on Spire Albion by its rival, Spire Aurora.
There is plenty of action and the society is open for some political backstabbing. I always think that it is a good book when you wonder what is going to happen next.
95 of 104 people found this review helpful
Jim Butcher's long awaited foray into steampunk lives up to every possible expectation, and they were high. I'm a big fan of the Dresden Files and if possible, enjoyed Codex Alera even more. The world of The Aeronaut's Windlass is entirely different; mankind lives in tall spire cities, away from the dangerous surface of the earth. Peopled by monsters, the surface is to be avoided at all cost. The Spire Cities, Albion and Aurora, are fiercely competitive with a history of warfare. A new round of warfare, initiated by Aurora, is the focus of The Aeronaut's Windlass. Aurora is clearly willing to use whatever means necessary to destroy Albion.
Captain Francis Grimm is loyal to Spire Albion, despite having been treated badly by the Admiralty; drummed out for cowardice unjustly. After his privateer airship, HMS Predator, is badly damaged in an Auroran ambush he must limp home for major repairs. He is recruited for a mission by the Spirearch with the promise of repairs and new crystals for The Predator.
He will be aided in his mission by a motley crew of characters ranging from the admirable to the just plain strange. He is also up against a female adversary who rivals Queen Mab of The Dresden Files and the Vord Queen of Codex Alera for sheer evil. The action of the book is relentless with the characters jumping from frying pan to fire nonstop.
I waffled about the rating on The Aeronaut's Windlass. The world building was almost too organic in that you are thrown into the action with no foundation. I don't mind saying that I had difficulty forming a mental picture of the Spires and airships, at least at the beginning. Euan Morton's narration pushed it from a 4.5 to a 5 for me. I was glued to my device until I realized there is actually no good stopping point in the action. His portrayal of Rowl, Prince of the Silent Paws is spot-on. I highly recommend The Aeronaut's Windlass.
RATING- 5 Stars
47 of 52 people found this review helpful
Very different to the epic fantasy, grimdark and scifi I normally read, but oh what a refreshing change!
Crystal powered air ships and sword wielding, incredibly polite, officers; gunnery crews and tribal, characterful cats! They all come together in a complex web of intrigue and humour and action, set amongst mist filled skies and sky scraping spires both.
The best narration I've heard of a story so far, after months on Audible. Highly recommended to fantasy, scifi or steampunk fans.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Aeronaut's Windlass again? Why?
It's one of those books that really draws you in and makes you connect with each and every character, no matter how minor their roles are. The main characters are believable and endearing, especially Rowl (loved his moments and I'm not even a cat person!).
It's serious at times yet it takes you on such a fun ride!
What other book might you compare The Aeronaut's Windlass to, and why?
Although very different, I will rate it as highly as The Name of the Wind. A very good and enjoyable book!
What does Euan Morton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
I believe he is an excellent narrator! Never underestimate the value of a good narrator, seriously he is one of the best!
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes! I really struggled to put it down to go to work, especially since my employer wasn't Captain Grimm!
Any additional comments?
Please please please release the next book soon!