I picked this book up on a whim just before Christmas. I was looking for a new science-fiction or fantasy series that I could really get my teeth into. As I’ve mentioned before, I feel that these genres – in particular fantasy – have been slightly lacking in the past few years (or maybe I’m just not finding the right books!).
The Aeronaut’s Windlass is the first book in a new series by Jim Butcher called The Cinder Spires. It’s a combination of fantasy and steampunk, and it works really well. The book follows narratives of multiple characters as they try to find out the cause for marines from Spire Aurora to attack Spire Albion. As they go about their journey, they come to realise that there is more to it than a bunch of marines destroying a wealthier, economic spire than their own; there are forces being used against them that should not be possible, and they must attempt to stop the person who is controlling them.
Jim Butcher seems to me to be a master at characters. Each and every character had their flaws and fit in perfectly with the rest of the characters – like the perfect group of friends! And best of all, they all developed exponentially throughout this one book; they realise their flaws, or recognise their differences, and become better people because of it. One character I found very amusing was Rowl – a ginger cat that can communicate with one of our main characters. He was the epitome of cats; proud, yet loyal, egotistical, and quite sarcastic in the way he answers that he is right or knew that what he was doing was going to save the day. I found Rowl to be very relatable in that he embodied the stereotypes of cats – wanting attention when he is ready and not when somebody else deems it should be given.
The writing style was brilliant as well. Where the series had only just started I found it a bit confusing to get to grips with all the terms at the beginning of the novel, but found them to be vivid and realistic towards the end. Butcher does not provide any unnecessary information; the scenes that seem unnecessary actually providing relevant information that comes into play later on within the novel. I found this quite refreshing as I didn’t feel like the characters were dilly dallying at random moments just for the sake of filling a word count.
Overall I found this book quite hard to put down and I am thoroughly looking forward to reading the rest of the series.