The Aeronaut's Windlass
The Cinder Spires Series
By Jim Butcher
This book clocked in at 630 pages long. Now you know why it's been two weeks since I posted a review. It took awhile to read this one. And it was worth every minute.
The Aeronaut's Windlass is a Steampunk Fantasy, set in a world where everyone lives in mile high towers built ages ago and the surface of the earth is a mist covered land filled with fantastic and dangerous beasts. The various spires are governed by ruling houses (along the lines of the British aristocracy) and alternately do business with and war against one another. The main mode of transport from spire to spire is the airship. They are powered by electricity which is generated from crystals that can channel the etheric energy that courses around and through the world.
That's the world, the characters that live in it are amazing. Francis Madison Grimm, drummed out of the Spire Albion Fleet for cowardice now captains a merchant vessel named Predator. When his ship is damaged in an altercation with the flag ship from Spire Aurora, Captain Grimm is at a loss as to how to replace the damaged crystals he needs to power his vessel, until the Spirearch of Albion makes him an offer he can't refuse. Grimm finds himself on a mission to transport the Spirearch's agents on a mission to track down an enemy who threatens the safety of everyone in the Spire. But there is more to their enemies than meets the eye and surviving this mission may be a cakewalk compared to what lies in store.
Jim Butcher is a master of writing battle scenes both on the ground and in the air. His characters are well developed, and are by turns fascinating, frightening, sympathetic and infuriating. My only complaint is that since the book was just released this month I have to wait at least a year for the next installment of The Cinder Spires. I can only hope it doesn't take Mr. Butcher as long to write a novel as it does George R. R. Martin.
I listened to the audio book read by Euan Morton. He does an excellent job with all the voices and accents of the various characters and he keeps the action moving along. In point of fact, the story was so compelling I couldn't wait for my next commute to finish, so I borrowed the book as well. But I'm still finishing the audio, even though I know how it ends.
Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files Series, start with Storm Front
and the Codex Alera Series, start with Furies of Calderon
If you like The Aeronaut's Windlass, you make like these books (according to Novelist Plus)
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers
Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik