Review: The Aeronaut's Windlass

Series: The Cinder Spires: #1

Well. He did it again.

I love the Dresden Files. I love Codex Alera. I love The Aeronaut’s Windlass.

The world is just cool, with crystal power systems, airships, and sentient, speaking cats. Everything feels like it fits together in a believable enough world while at the same time leaves me wanting to know more! Why were the spires built? What’s the rest of the world like? What’s with the Etherialists? Etc.

The characters are a lot of fun. Bridget and Gwen are great examples of what kickass women can be, both in different ways. At first I thought the cats would be overplayed and cheesy, but they really do grow on you. They actually feel like I imagine cats would be if they could speak. Grim is a solid captain and I was glad to see everything work out as well as it did for him. I’m curious where that will go next. The Etherialists are a fun sort of detached from reality.

Writing wise, I think the coolest parts of this book were the airship battles. It’s a completely different sort of battle than you see, with maneuvers in a full three dimensions and energy weapons and shields. The last battle was a bit strange since we got a lot of details (via audience surrogate at the time Gwen) that I would have expected to see earlier rather than at the climax, but they still showed that Butcher thought through how a lot of the battles would work.

Overall, the plot was fairly straight forward, with obvious good guys and bad guys (and a mysterious shadowy figure behind the scenes). It was easy enough to see where it was going, but that doesn’t really weaken it. It works well both as a standalone novel but also as the start of a series.

Aside: I listened to the audiobook. James Marsters (who narrates the Dresden Files) is a hard act to follow, but Euan Morton did a great job. I like the character’s voices. Particularly Rawl’s. It’s interesting to listen to an audiobook of a book I haven’t read before–I had to backtrack twice due to missing something.

Overall, it was a great book. I look forward to the sequels–only tempered by wanting to see the rest of the Dresden Files as well.