Yeah Magazine #10

GrogHeads Reviews
The Cinder Spires: the Aeronaut’s Windlass

Airboy reviews Jim Butcher’s Steampunk series opener ~

Avery Abernethy, 22 February 2016

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher is an action packed, steampunk influenced start to a new series. The population inhabits “spires” which are huge cities on large towers above the surface of the planet. The surface world is too dangerous for ordinary people but contains valuable resources and vicious animal life.

AeroThe major power technology are crystals. Tiny crystals provide light and minor power. Major crystals which are almost impossible to create can power large airships. Envision wooden Man-O-War flying through the air with cannons and inefficient power lasers. Hand weapons are hand sized power crystals and sabers. There are strange creatures, rare and unbalanced magic users who understand how crystals work, and daring traders, naval fleets and privateers flying the skies.

The naval and land combat in Butcher’s new world are strongly reminiscent of C.S. Forester’s Hornblower series. The action is gripping, the foes are intelligent, and the air navy combat will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I don’t want to describe the book in any detail to avoid ruining your reading pleasure. So I’ll conclude with my experience. The book is 640 pages long. I read the entire book in less than three days. I lost sleep reading the book. What kept going through my mind is “this is the best Naval combat since Hornblower! Except this is a steampunk world with the odd, rare, barely-sane magic user!” If that synopsis causes your eyes to widen and your jaw to drop – I urge you to buy the book and experience it for yourself. This was the most exciting, hard to put down book that I have read in several years.


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