Review of The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

The Aeronaut’s Windlass
The Cinder Spires Book 1
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 640

Date Started: August 2, 2016
Date Finished: August 19, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)aeronauts
Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity. Within their halls, the ruling aristocratic houses develop scientific marvels, foster trade alliances, and maintain fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship Predator. 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 damaged in combat, Grimm joins a team of Albion agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring his ship.

And as Grimm undertakes this task, he learns 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…

Review:
This book was truly amazing.  This new series is what Jim Butcher was born to write.  While the synopsis might lead one to believe that Captain Grimm is the main character, there are a multitude of different people that make up the main force of protagonists, all very different.  Every character introduced has a great level of depth and backstory.  I really enjoy that this book series has multiple main characters that grow as the story progresses.  Given the amount of main characters, a reader is bound to resonate with one, while the majority are all likable (except, of course, the antagonist).

This is truly a coming of age story from the perspective of several different characters, though Grimm and his crew do play a large part in the overall plot.  While some characters are learning how to live in the adult world, others are learning how to deal with problems from their pasts, and all work in conjunction together, despite their apparent honorable or dishonorable ranking.

I will say that this book, while labeled “steampunk”, really doesn’t have any steampunk elements in it, unless you count the air ships (which the main one mentioned, it can be noted, does not run off steam).  That being said, I think this is a brilliant piece of fantasy in a wonderful imaginative new world, and I cannot wait to see what happens to everyone as they reach the end.

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

Review of First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher

First Lord’s Fury
Codex Alera Book 6
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy

Number of Pages: 784

Date Started: May 23, 2016

Date Finished: June 15, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)6316821

For Gaius Octavian, life has been one long battle. Now, the end of all he fought for is close at hand. The brutal, dreaded Vord are on the march against Alera. And perhaps for the final time, Gaius Octavian and his legions must stand against the enemies of his people. And it will take all his intelligence, ingenuity, and furycraft to save their world from eternal darkness.

Review:
Despite being quite longer than the previous book, this book was what I was waiting for!  There was action, adventure!  There were twists and turns and times when you were unsure if the people you though you could trust were actually trustworthy or not!  Finally, a resolution to this whole series!  And yet…

Not impressed.  Although the ultimate confrontation was great and I enjoyed the tie ins, there was a bit left undone, and I was simply not a fan of one of the biggest sudden twists towards the middle-end of the book, and found it quite irritating that the particular event’s ability to happen had seemingly never been thought of(though Sextus has thought of it…)  I’m glad that the epilogue happened as it did, but I also found that all of it was just so… predictable.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a happy ending, but this seemed almost a bit too… ideal.

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

Review of Princeps’ Fury by Jim Butcher

Princeps’ Fury
Codex Alera Book 5
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy
Number of Pages: 640

Date Started: February 15, 2016
Date Finished: May 23, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon) Princeps_fury
Under Tavi of Calderon, heir to the crown, war-torn Alera rebuilds while politicians and nobles vie for power. But from the south comes news: the dreaded Vord have come to Alera. For a thousand years, Alera and her furies have withstood every enemy and survived every foe.

Review:
I haven’t too overly much to say about this book except: this book dragged.  It was a trudge to force myself through this book, which is probably why not only did it take me quite a while to finish it, but I also read several other books before finishing it.

Like usual, there were moments when you really wanted to see what was going on from one character’s perspective while jolted back to another character.  While everything that happened was necessary, it seemed to take a very long time for anything in particular of substance to happen and stick.  There are a lot of little victory, and some very heavy losses.

After reading this book, I knew I had to finish the series, and I hoped it wouldn’t be as much of a trudge as this one.  (It wasn’t.)

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

**This review has been edited based on faulty dates. (6/16/2016)

Review of Captain’s Fury by Jim Butcher

Captain’s Fury
Codex Alera Book 4
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy
Number of Pages: 464

Date Started: February 11, 2016
Date Finished: February 14, 2016
captain's
Synopsis: (From Amazon)
After two years of bitter conflict with the hordes of invading Canim, Tavi of Calderon, now Captain of the First Aleran Legion, realizes that a peril far greater than the Canim exists-the terrifying Vord, who drove the savage Canim from their homeland. Now, Tavi must find a way to overcome the centuries-old animosities between Aleran and Cane if an alliance is to be forged against their mutual enemy. And he must lead his legion in defiance of the law, against friend and foe-before the hammerstroke of the Vord descends on them all.

Review:
While Tavi had no experience in military before joining the First Aleran, now it would be hard to find anyone that people would trust as much as him.  Though the Canim represent a significant threat, Tavi knows that there is a way to end the fighting and bloodshed.  The trust between a leader who goes with their men and the warriors is accurately represented here, and many who have been in a situation with a trusted leader would likely agree.

Unfortunately this book was very heavy in fighting without as much interaction that wasn’t in the field.  There were a lot of frustrating moments when things go wrong, and the sadness Tavi feels over consequences of his tactics can be felt by the reader.  Nevertheless, one cannot help but want to know exactly what happens to Tavi of Calderon.

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.


Thank you! 

Review of Cursor’s Fury by Jim Butcher

Cursor’s Fury
Codex Alera Book 3
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy
Number of Pages: 448Date Started: January 31, 2016
Date Finished: February 11, 2016
200px-Cursors_fury
Synopsis:(From Amazon)
The power-hungry High Lord of Kalare has launched a rebellion against the aging First Lord, Gaius Sextus, who with the loyal forces of Alera must fight beside the unlikeliest of allies-the equally contentious High Lord of Aquitaine.

Meanwhile, young Tavi of Calderon joins a newly formed legion under an assumed name even as the ruthless Kalare unites with the Canim, bestial enemies of the realm whose vast numbers spell certain doom for Alera. When treachery from within destroys the army’s command structure, Tavi finds himself leading an inexperienced, poorly equipped legion-the only force standing between the Canim horde and the war-torn realm.

Review:
Tavi shows here that while he might have smarts from not having furies, he certainly hadn’t gained any sudden military intelligence.  Luckily Tavi is returned with some friends who do have experience and can help him along.  Stuck dealing with warriors that were known for being extremely tricky to kill and even harder to understand, Tavi finds himself having to use every weapon in his arsenal to find out exactly what is going on around him.

Though there are some ups and downs in this mostly military style story, Butcher shows that treachery can be anywhere and anyone, and that warriors can never be too careful.  Like the previous novels in the Codex Alera, you cannot help but want to know where everyone will end up in the end.
Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.


Thank you! 

Review of Academ’s Fury by Jim Butcher

Academ’s Fury
Codex Alera Book 2
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy
Number of Pages: 720academ

Date Started: January 21, 2016
Date Finished: January 31, 2016

Synopsis:(From Amazon)
For centuries, the people of Alera have harnessed the furies—elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood, and metal—to protect their land from aggressors. But no fury can save them from the dangers they face within. A mysterious attack from across the sea has weakened the First Lord. Should he fall, a bloody civil war is inevitable. The responsibility of fending off assassination attempts and treachery within the First Lord’s circle of spies falls on Tavi, the one man with no fury to call…

Review:
Tavi no longer has the safety and the security of his home and family.  Having spent the majority of his years learning how to deal with live handicapped– without the advantages every other person has, he had gotten used to it.  As with the first book in the series there is a lot of unexpected and unseen betrayal, and Tavi has to rely on his own senses to tell him who to trust.

This book, just like the one before it, endlessly connects different characters situations together, and flows in a way that makes the book almost impossible to set down.

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.


Thank you! 

Review of Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

Furies of Calderon
Codex Alera Book 1
By Jim Butcher

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy
Number of Pages: 688 (paperback)

Date Started: November 15, 2015
Date Finished: November 19, 2015 (around 2am)

Synopsis:(From Amazon)29396
For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies – elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal. But now, Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious High Lords plot and maneuver to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon.” “Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine.” Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury – one that could turn the tides of war.

Review:
This book was recommended to me by a great friend, Maria Picone of Sky Tango Freelance, who knew that I had read The Dresden Files and felt that I was missing out.  Cheers, Maria– you were totally correct.  This book is AMAZING.  I don’t want to be disloyal to my love of The Dresden Files, and my love for The Dresden Files hasn’t changed, but this book is on a completely different level and comparing the two would be like comparing apples to oranges.

There is not a single character that does not have a purpose, who has no definition, or redeeming qualities.  I cared just as much about seeing what happened to the antagonistic characters as I did the protagonists.  Everything is explained incredibly well, in ways that made sense and helped draw a reader further into the book.  The furies originally made me think a bit of the daemons in Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, but furies are unique individuals, and though they are connected to the characters they are not part of a whole.  Although the novel appeared from multiple standpoints this didn’t cause any sort of disconnect from chapter to chapter.  There were times when I desperately wanted to be following one part of the story, but was just as easily drawn into the happenings of another character.

While this book is quite lengthy, I found it to be hard to set down, and perfect.  While this adventure appears to be concluded, with all of the loose ends tied up, there are many ways that the series could continue after this particular title.  I have some speculations in regards to how some of these characters may be connected and I intend to keep note of them, though I believe whether or not my conjectures are correct will be shown, in time.

I cannot say enough about this book, and I cannot wait to read more!  Way to go, Jim Butcher.  Way to go!

Author Information:
The Dresden Files are the first books that Jim Butcher managed to get published.  He is also the author of the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, Cinder spires.  He is a gamer, including tabletop, video games, as well as LARP.  He still lives in his hometown, Independence, Missouri.

For a detailed biography of Jim Butcher, and a way to purchase his books, see his Amazon page.

If you like this review, and the writing style of this quirky reviewer, please consider visiting and liking my Facebook author page: Lizzy March.


Thank you!