5bat! Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spire #1) by Jim Butcher

September 29, 2015 Review 1

5bat! Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spire #1) by Jim ButcherThe Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher
Series: The Cinder Spires
Published by Roc on September 29, 2015
Genres: Adult, Steampunk
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 640
Source: NetGalley
Sexual Content: N/A
Reviewed by: James
5 Stars

Jim Butcher, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Dresden Files and the Codex Alera novels, conjures up a new series set in a fantastic world of noble families, steam-powered technology, and magic-wielding warriors…

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…

If I could give this book a six bat rating I would. THE AERONAUT'S WINDLASS more than deserves it. Jim Butcher's Dresden Files are what first got me interested in Urban Fantasy, but I haven't yet tried Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series, so THE AERONAUT'S WINDLASS is the first book of Butcher's besides the Dresden Files that I've read. And at every page I was reminded why Jim Butcher is a grand master in his field.

The first thing about THE AERONAUT'S WINDLASS that stood out to me was how well Butcher handled multiple POV characters. In the past year especially, I've gotten really really tired of authors who ought to know better switching POVs just to create forced suspense  (i.e. having one character get jumped in an ally and then switching to the other POV character, leaving you wondering if the first one will get out of the horrible situation.) Jim Butcher never uses that cheap trick in the whole 640 page book, because he builds suspense with his impressive storytelling.

The next thing is that The Cinder Spires series has a rich beautiful world, but Jim Butcher never felt the need to do any info dumping. He feeds us just the right amount of information to allow us to understand the world, while still wondering about the history of the world. And I'm already anxious for the next book so I can learn more about the world.

I could continue to go on about Jim Butcher's writing craft, but I should probably get to the actual review of the story. Not only has Jim Butcher created an amazing world, but he's filled it with great characters, and with 640 pages he's given us plenty of time to get to know them and love them. However, a great world and lifelike characters don't make novel, so Jim Butcher polishes it all off with great storytelling. The Cinder Spires series takes place in a world where everyone lives on spires because the ground is covered in dangerous, deadly animals. This means the only way of safely getting from one spire to another is through the air. And this is where the series truly shines. They travel through the air on airships, but they aren't your typical steampunk blimps, but wooden or copper-clad steel boats. The reason that works are the magical crystals that power them. Huge crystals are used to power the ships and keep them afloat, while an ethersilk web is cast around the ship to move the ship along the etheric currents. In addition to the huge crystals, smaller ones are used to power cannons and hand weapons. From there Jim Butcher has created a whole society that is based around the production and use of these crystals and even people, etherealists, who have a rather unique relationship with the crystals themselves.

Everything I've said so far is great, but what really made me love this book was Rowl. He's one of the POV characters, and he's a cat. I'm guessing a lot of people we'll be split on whether they love the talking cats or hate them. But I love any well written book with talking animals, so that was just the icing on the cake for me.

THE AERONAUT'S WINDLASS is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it, and now I don't know what I want to see more the next Dresden book or the next Cinder Spires book.

Series Titles:
  1. The Aeronaut's Windlass
More Reviews: Similar Titles:
  • If you're looking for more books by the same author try Storm Front, the first book in the Dresden Files series.

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