Book Review: The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher

The Aeronaut's Windlass is the first book in The Cinder Spires series by Jim Butcher. The audiobook is narrated by Euan Morton.

The official blurb reads, "Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory. And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…"

The Aeronaut's Windlass is much more than the blurb leads you to expect. The story is written through multiple points of view, and while Captain Grimm is very important and a major player in the story there are also guard cadets Gwen Lancaster and Bridget Tagwynn who each have their own significant back stories and roles to play. There is also Gwen's cousin Guard Lieutenant Benedict Sorellin-Lancaster,  the young female Etherialist Apprentice Folly and her master, and last but far from least Rowl of the Nine Claws- a cat and Bridget's protector. Each character is multidimensional and faces their own trials as well as the mutual effort to protect their home from invading marines.  There is a good abount of world building, even more character development, and still more action. There are air abattles, street fights, fires, battles against powerful creatures and unknown forces. There is magic, technology, and good old fashion bravery at every turn. Very much a solid read that one can sink their teeth into, and very much something from Jim Butcher.

The Aeronaut's Windlass is a thick and impressive venture. Butcher manages to cover all the world building without overwhelming the reader. The amount of information about the Spires and society of the world introduced is covered pretty neatly. It is the number of characters and the depth of each that might be a little overwhelming to readers. However, as characters and their interactions are what makes a book for me, I was thrilled with the overall effect. To top that off there are so many battles and struggles, including those of sheer will, that never let the tension lessen. I am very much looking forward to the continuation of this series, though I hope Butcher keeps up his quality of the Dresden Files series as well.

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