Book Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass

  • Author Jim Butcher
  • Title: The Aeronaut’s Windlass
  • Pages: 640
  • Formats: Trade Paper, Kindle and Nook, Audio Book
  • Availability: AmazonBarnes and Noble
  • Website: Jim Butcher

Book Blurb

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…


 The concept – Steam Punk, floating cities, Pirates in the Sky, War, Aeronauts, Heroes and Villains,  Intrigue and Monsters… High Adventure and a cast of thousands (okay… not thousands, but a lot.)

Jim Butcher creates an amazing world and explains it by dropping us into the middle of an adventure and letting us catch up as we run from one battle to another.

The Characters:  The characters were interesting and thoroughly enjoyable and when something is told from their point of view – it is, honestly, their point of view.

Main Character: Here we have a slight problem because… there is no one main character – there are multiple characters, each with their own story arc within the book, and for each character there is also their … unit? team?  It’s hard to describe.

Captain Grim and the crew of The Predator:

What works – Captain Grim is a good man, and the crew of the Predator, while not fleet, and point in fact are a band of privateers (government sponsored pirates) they have a good relationship and a moral code they follow.  Ship politics is well played in the story.

Least Favorite trait – While I like characters who sacrifice much for their beliefs, wallowing in it is not my speed.

Why it works/doesn’t work:  If you don’t believe in the crew, if you can’t see the crew believing in her captain- it all falls apart, and I believed the crew of Predator as much as I believed in Predator herself..

Gwendolyn (Gwen), Benedict (Benny), Bridget (Bridget),  Rowl (Rowl)- Spire Arch’ Guards and a Cat:

What works – Young aspiring Spire Arch’s Guards, getting a lot more than they bargained for and seeing the world for the very first time.

Least Favorite trait – Sixteen is a tad too young for what they manage to pull off, and it’s hard to believe that someone so young can pull off the determination and sense of self… while possible… it’s not all that probable.

Why it works/doesn’t work:  They circumstances that throw these characters together are extraordinary and there is a good balance between them… I just wish they were slightly older.

Master Ferus and Folly:

What works – Etherialists are out there… and once you understand that, it all kind of makes sense.

Least Favorite trait – All knowing all seeing….

Why it works/doesn’t work:  Etherialists see things differently, they’re like Yoda on a bad trip.  Their power is balanced out with a really crippling flaw which works and doesn’t work, but is well explained.  (it will make sense after you read the story)

What I liked: 

I liked the fact that this was a character driven story and didn’t bog itself down in mechanics.  It was a story that drew me in and made me want to hear more.  (enough that I listened to it a second time.)

What I didn’t like:

There were a few sections that bordered on munchkinism.  Some things were plausible if not believable… and there was the chapter I labeled the “God in Heaven!” chapter – you’ll know it when you get to it.

Over all I enjoyed the story, and if I pretended the younger characters were a few years older, my inner alarm stopped going off.

(I think the Cinder Spires are an  acceptable excuse as to why Peace Talks isn’t out yet. 😉 )


December 12, 2015

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