The Aeronaut’s Windlass: a Book Review

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The Aeronaut’s Windlass

Written by Jim Butcher

Aeronaut's Windlass Cover Art

This book just might be the best thing since tummy rubs. So buckle up, because here comes a book from the author of the best selling series: The Dresden Files (which you should also go read).

Jim Butcher has spent much of his time dedicated to a single, awesome series of novels. He hasn’t created the variety of worlds and characters that some authors have; some days that really gets me down. Don’t get me wrong, I dearly, desperately love The Dresden Files, but I also know what Jim is capable of having read and re-read his Codex Alera series. So when I saw that he had released the first book in a brand new steampunk-inspired series, I squealed like a guinea pig.

The Aeronauts Windlass takes place in a tantalizingly unique setting. The world is covered in a blanket of mist, and the ground is teeming with dangers and nightmarish creatures. To stay safe, humanity lives in enormous, stone Spires that reach high above the mists and into the sky. Never wishing to set foot on the soil of their planet, men take to the sky in crystal power airships.

*Shudder* Just writing that gave me goosebumps.

Seriously, the setting alone had me itching to read the book, like a tumblr junkie craving for their next post. The masterful way that Butcher built this world had me asking questions before the plot was even underway. What kind of things live on the surface? Will the characters be forced to face those dangers?

You know what, I’m gunna have to write a post on that. Anyway… onward!

Meet the Aeronauts

There are a number of fascinating characters in this book, which I promise to return to shortly, each with their own wonderful beginning. The plot kicks into gear when the cold war between Spire Albion and Spire Aurora begins to heat up. Enemy forces are moving and the characters must act quickly in order to protect Spire Albion.

Now, back to the characters.

Writing likable characters can be difficult to manage at times, but Jim has really got this down to a science. After just a few short chapters I was already cheering for each at the top of my lungs. That got me some funny looks in Starbucks, I tell you what.

There are a large number of point of views, but each brings something new to the table. We all know that every character is supposed to see the world slightly different due to their history and personal opinions. Jim did an absolutely stunning job in this regard. In fact, there are a number of times where different characters are exposed to the same thing, but the way they interpret it is vastly different. In fact, I plan on using this book as a case-study for my future novels.

If that wasn’t enough, Jim goes the extra mile and makes us care for the enemy as well. We’re talking about an invader that has landed in the spire and order unspeakable horrors committed against the citizens of Albion. He’s a horrible human being, but I still didn’t want him to die.

cat photoAnd don’t get me started on the cats. Amazing, that’s all that can really be said.

In Short: Buy It!

There is more to talk about, of course, but I am going to draw my ranting to an end now. I hope that I have convinced you to snag a copy of The Aeronauts Windlass by Jim Butcher. At the very least, I hope to have conveyed at least a little of my enthusiasm since you can’t seem me hugging the book while I run in circles squeaking.

I think I may go read it again, just cause.

What’s your favorite part of this book? How do you think it stacks against Jim’s other books?

Comment below, read more posts, or subscribe to my newsletter. Go read, live, and have fun.

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