Staff Picks: The Aeronaut’s Windlass

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The Aeronaut’s Windlass (Jim Butcher: Fiction) © 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary: Since time immemorial, the towering Spires have sheltered humanity, keeping them safe from the mist shrouded surface world. The increasing effectiveness of airships has led to booming commerce and conflict amongst rival spirals. Captain Grimm of the Spire Albion merchant ship AMS Predator is about to become embroiled in a dark plot to conquer his home Spire.

Review: This is the first book in a new series, and a bit of a deviation for its author. Author Jim Butcher is known for his Codex Alera and Dresden Files stories. Thematically, this is a different animal than the Rome and fantasy infused Alera and the urban fantasy of the Dresden Files. Rather, the steam punk and air ship infused world reads more like the Horatio Hornblower or David Weber’s Honor Harrington. As with his other series the elements in play here are not especially unique, but the story and setting still intrigue. The handling of cats as a unique race of sapient creatures with their own distinct way of thinking is particularly well done. The book suffers from exposition at times as the first in a series, but ably sets the stage for following entries.

Read-a-likes: While different thematically, those who enjoy Butcher’s new series will likely be rewarded by picking up his Dresden Files and Codex Alera novels. Fans of the lively aerial combat featured will be rewarded by David Weber’s excellent Honor Harrington series. Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey and Maturin adventures remains the gold standard for nautical Napoleonic War adventure, and may be worth a try for fans.

Availability: This novel is available through the Lake Bluff Public Library as a book, eBook, and eAudiobook.

Review by: Eric Bailey

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