Sunday, May 17, 2015

What to Expect from Jim Butcher’s The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass

What to Expect from Jim Butcher’s The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass
The Aeronaut's Windlass will be released September 29th, 2015.
I had the privilege of hearing Jim Butcher read seven chapters of his upcoming book The Aeronaut’s Windlass. If you don’t know him, Butcher is famous for his New York Times best selling book series The Dresden Files and his fantasy series The Codex Alera. The Aeronaut’s Windlass begins a new series called The Cinder Spires. This time, Butcher’s creating a steampunk world, and from what I heard, it’s going to be epic. So while you’re waiting for the book’s release this fall, here’s seven things to expect from the first seven chapters of The Aeronaut’s Windlass.

·      Steampunk in the Clouds: Butcher himself calls this series a “Steam Opera”, and rightly so. The world is a deadly sphere, and mankind’s civilization is built above it in the clouds, on spires. These spires are the stages of the highflying adventure of the book, which combines romance and honor with saber fights and fantastic technology.

·      Airship Warfare: The only way to travel from spire to spire is airship. So, of course, there are navies, pirates, and smugglers duking it out in the skies. We get one of these air fights rather early in the book, a gripping battle where two ships use cloud-cover to surprise one another in a fight where the first ship to hit the other wins.

·      Fast Pace Reading: This book is a rush. Each chapter is from a different character’s perspective, usually from one of the three main characters, though occasionally chapters are from a side character’s point of view. What they all have in common, however, is the pacing. From action scenes to royal drama, it reads quickly, a page-turner that’s guaranteed to keep readers up way too late at night for that one more chapter.

·      Crystalpunk: The steampunk comes alive in this series while portrayed in a unique way. Crystals run the ships and gear, though they are volatile in nature, and can backfire in catastrophic ways. From wrist-launchers to ship cannons, the crystals are used devastatingly, and are sure to be a key aspect of the series. Not much was mentioned about them, but they were nearly in every scene, so I’m sure it’ll become a plot point as the story goes on.

·      Aristocratic Drama: The book begins with two of the main characters preparing to go to school at an academy for nobility. Tension mounts as old grudges from noble houses surface between students, and new grudges are also created. Not all are equal in the eyes of aristocracy, and Butcher lets superiority complexes bubble into verbal, and physical, schoolhouse brawls.

·      Female Protagonists: What I enjoyed the most from the reading were the female protagonists. The Dresden Files is great, but there we get the story from one source: Harry Dresden. Here, however, two of the main characters are young women, both royal, though of very different backgrounds and mannerisms. They’re easily what I enjoyed most about the reading, and look forward to seeing what happens to them in the rest of the book series.


·      Talking Cats: And yes, there are talking cats. The best part of the book is also the most discussed online. There are indeed sentient cats, and they. Are. Awesome. Butcher perfects cat-mindedness, and these cats are perfectly willing to share their curt remarks to the humans who displease them, regardless if said humans can understand them or not. One of the female protagonists is from a special noble house that speaks Cat, and it’s her cat companion that steals the show in every scene he’s in. He’s a great character, and I’m sure that soon after the book’s release there’ll be a lot of pictures of cats with his quotes written all over them.






 


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