Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

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Not sure why I never got around to this one. The cover screams ‘sky pirate!’ which is entirely my cup of tea.

Guys…. I think that Euan Morton just became my favorite narrator. Seriously. I would happily listen to this man read me the phone book. What the world (OK, OK, just me) really needs is for him to record versions of all the books that I’ve been meaning to read forever and just cannot bring myself to actually read because they’re too long or boring. Stuff like War and Peace. But alas, he is probably too busy doing that whole Hedwig and the Angry Inch tour on Broadway that I wish I could go see because it’s probably amazing. I guess I can understand, a little. *sulk*

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…

“Now then Captain” He turned back to Grimm. “You have questions, I answers, shall we see if they match?”

“Please” Grimm said “I appear to be your guest, have I you to thank for caring for me?” Ferrus’ shoulders sagged in evident disappointment “Oh…. apparently they do not match… I was going to say strawberries!”

A few months ago, someone asked me what kind of book I’d really love to read, and I said that I’d love to read a book about a city in the sky. Something kind of like Laputa from Gulliver’s Travels (or Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky, for that matter), or something on the same page as China Miéville’s The Scar, only in the air instead of on the ocean. Well, someone said to me… ‘Have you ever read The Aeronaut’s Windlass? It’s exactly what you’re looking for!’ and I had not. I have had this audiobook in my audible library for almost 2 years and just never got around to listening to it. It is exactly what I was looking for! Hooray!

I love steampunk, which this is, and I love a rogue, which Grimm kind of is, in his own way, so this one hit a good majority of my literary enjoyment buttons. Grimm was mysterious and roguish but also very professional and honorable. The Spirearch of Spire Albion was awesome and he seems like the sort of dude that I want to just have coffee with. Ferrus and Folly were awesome characters, mad and silly, but awesome and uber-powerful in their own ways. Ferrus is quite mad, but is full of knowledge and insight. Folly is slightly mad, can’t speak to anyone but Ferrus directly, but instead speaks through a jar of crystals that she wears around her neck. She still saves the day, as does Ferrus with some awesome aether magic. Aetherialists (I’m guessing on spelling here, because audiobook, lol) in general were a really interesting idea. Each of their powers has something attached to it to make them… able to live among normal humans. Folly’s jar of crystals, for example.

I loved Gwen’s ‘you don’t fuck with me, peasants!’ attitude, but I agree with Benedict that she might have taken it a little too far once or twice. Benedict himself was awesome as well. The whole warrior-born idea was cool. Benedict in action was a force to be reckoned with and I think that I was somewhere around Bridget’s level of enjoyment of it. I had high hopes for the fate of Bridget and Benedict.

The idea of the Spires being more or less countries, and their wars with each other was interesting and seemed well thought out. I thought the idea was quite well executed. The plot slowed down a bit in places, but the story was engaging to me, at least most of the time. I can guarantee you that Euan Morton’s narration had quite a lot to do with that. If I had been reading this one I guarantee I would have fallen asleep at least once and dropped the kindle on my face. (If you read my other reviews, you’ll know that this is not an uncommon occurrence, and does not indicate that I’m bored with a book. If I hit a boring part of even my favorite book while I’m even a tiny bit tired I’ll just get a sudden case of acute onset narcolepzzzzzzzzzz). This one had quite a bit of action in it, especially after the halfway point, and that action was awesome.

Then, there’s the cats. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to come to like Rowl, but he grew on me. If cats could talk, I would imagine he says much of what a cat would say. The cats were a little weird, but not as annoying as I was expecting them to be.

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🎶 Like a Good Neighbor, Stay Over There. 🎶

All told, I liked this one quite a lot. I’d certainly love to see where this story goes, but I’ll be honest with you, I’ll take Peace Talks first, please! ^_^

You can grab a copy here: US | UK | CA | AU | Audible

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