Tag Archives: pirates

Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass

The Aeronaut's Windlass (The Cinder Spires, #1)The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve found your next read, that is, if you like captivating, unique, funny, and intense stories, and also talking cats. And if you don’t like those things, I recommend “Hop on Pop” as an alternative, because seriously, who doesn’t like talking cats?

Seriously, this book might be the best fantasy/steampunk/pirate story since Firefly went off the air. And it’s definitely better than sliced bread.

Let me back up: what’s it about? The Aeronaut’s Windlass takes place in a world in which all of humanity lives in giant, heaven-scraping Spires, and where the earth below is dangerous and possibly toxic (sort of an inverse of the Wool Omnibus). As such, commerce takes place in the sky, via huge airships. Our story follows Captain Grimm, of the slightly piratanical Predator, as well as the aristocratic Gwen, the “warriorborn” Benedict, the addled and mystical Folly and Master Ferus, and the hardy Bridget and her prince-of-cats companion Rowl. Basically, this odd collection of characters is pressed into service to protect the Spire from an unknown Enemy and try to prevent all-out war.

Because Captain Grimm is the one on the cover, most people may want to see this as his story–and believe me, he is wonderful, even if nearly a straight-up transference of Firefly‘s Captain Mal–but each character truly has an arc of their own, and no one is much of a supporting character. Yes, even the cat, who is both different from every literary depiction of a cat I’ve ever read and exactly like my own beasties.

Author Jim Butcher is already known for his writing skill and his vibrant characters, but I don’t know that he’s ever had so much fun. You can feel his grin through the book, and I occasionally wanted to nudge him in the ribs–“I see what you did there!” He’s just having a blast, and it’s infectious.

But that’s not to say the book is all happiness. Though I often had to stop to read a line aloud to my husband to share the laugh, I also told him that if a certain character died–or if all of them died–I wasn’t going to forgive him. It’s that intense and the stakes are that impossibly high.

What I really liked, though, was that no one was unnecessary. Even characters lacking in obviously beneficial skills discovered in themselves the ability to do something that proved critical to the mission as a whole. And I just wanted to give each of them a hug afterward.

I can’t wait for more of this series, and odds are pretty solid that I’ll reread it again soon just to get back into this fantastic fantastical world.

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Filed under Reviews

Smooth Sailing Ahead

Thanks to all those who participated in my NaNoWriMo poll!

I got a range of votes, including the excellent write-in for “goblins” (really great idea!), but one thing really surprised me: The option “Don’t write a sequel to the book you haven’t sold yet.” got 0% of the votes.

I have a confession: That was really the question I was struggling to answer. My first book, Undead Rising, is still out with an agent. It’s been six months; I’m sending her an email next week to let her know I’m going to start sending it to other people. Everyone who has read that book has LOVED it, but the non-responses I’ve gotten from agents were deeply dispiriting, and I felt like maybe it wasn’t a good enough idea.

But everybody thought it was a good idea to keep writing gamebooks/interactive novels/monster stories. I’m floored, and uplifted (is that a contradiction? I don’t care.).

I’m grateful so many folks weighed in.

The winner: Pirates!
Which is super, because that’s a really ripe genre I can rob, and let’s be honest, I need a lot of material from which to plunder.

(Plunder. See what I did there? Brace for a whole passel of puns in this book, my friends!)

Yo-ho-ho, away we go!



Filed under Publishing, writing