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Retribution Falls (Tales of the Ketty Jay #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  6,894 Ratings  ·  854 Reviews
Sky piracy is a bit out of Darian Frey’s league. Fate has not been kind to the captain of the airship Ketty Jay—or his motley crew. They are all running from something. Crake is a daemonist in hiding, traveling with an armored golem and burdened by guilt. Jez is the new navigator, desperate to keep her secret from the rest of the crew. Malvery is a disgraced doctor, drinki ...more
Kindle Edition, 482 pages
Published June 18th 2009 by Gollancz (first published 2009)
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Abby Yes! The second I picked this book up, I was reminded of the Serenity crew. I think the author must certainly be a Firefly fan. There are so many…moreYes! The second I picked this book up, I was reminded of the Serenity crew. I think the author must certainly be a Firefly fan. There are so many similarities for it not to draw from the show.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Oct 08, 2013 Evgeny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Evgeny by: M.
Shelves: fantasy
You can't take the sky from me...

This steampunk/fantasy story starts with the captain of flying ship Ketty Jay and one of his passengers being politely interrogated about the launch code to operate his ship. A gun against the head of one of the people in question makes a very convincing argument for cooperation; all in all, not a very good beginning for the captain and people that ended up on his ship. It only gets worse - much worse.

If somebody asked me to describe the book in as few words as
Feb 21, 2012 Nataliya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-fi and fantasy buffs
Nataliya Gushes About This Book - Picture Frenzy - More Book Gushing - I Want To Be An Airship Pilot (*)
* Oh, did I mention how much I love Jules Verne-esque chapter titles?

Retribution Falls is a well-crafted steampunk novel that immediately won me over. It is a very entertaining and refreshing read that has everything you want for 400-plus pages of delightful fun. I am serious - I mean, there are airships, sky piracy, GOLD, legendary pirate city, revolvers, adventures, danger, undead, con
Dan Schwent
Nov 27, 2012 Dan Schwent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk, 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
BR with the BBB gang starting November 27, 2015.

I read this book while buddy reading The Chronicles of the Black Company. BAD idea. The series is so mind-blowingly awesome that any book pales in comparison.

Retribution Falls – What should have been

This book was a 5-star rating waiting to happen. Why? Because sky pirates + inveterate womanizer/rogue mc + gang of dysfunctional misfits =

The mere presence of Captain Frey, our resident rogue, should have triggered this Pavlovian response in me: BA
Mar 20, 2014 seak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
What happens if you combine The Lies of Locke Lamora with air ships, then add some Pirates of the Caribbean? This. This is what happens. Chris Wooding nailed it in Retribution Falls.

I'll get this out of the way. I've been told it's a lot like Firefly. You may have to take away my geek card here ... but I've never seen Firefly. The movie, Serenity, was excellent, but I'm still looking forward to checking out the show. This means I can't confirm or deny the comparison.

I apologize for any non-Fire
Jun 02, 2011 Carol. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol. by: Fantasy Aficionados
Four and a half stars. First read through, have to say it was very good. Probably my favorite steampunk to date, and a fine novel all around. Airships, gunfights, pirates, a golem, daemons... lots of fun ingredients but also fully developed characters. A little bit of the "shades of grey" protagonists; the captain of the airship seems to resemble Captain Jack Sparrow--charming as all get out, but you have the sneaking suspicion he isn't trustworthy. In fact, first couple of incidents we witness ...more
Apr 29, 2015 Michael marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
No, I've not yet read this yet, but I'm adding a note because (a) it's on sale for $1.99 so well worth picking up now and (b) someone on /r/fantasy (a site I love) said it was a highly underrated book. So I'm bumping it on my TBR pile.
Sep 23, 2013 Jokoloyo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one fun novel. Combining several popular themes: steampunk, airships, pirates, ragtag team protagonists (my personal fav theme), and forbidden magic.

At first I thought the strength of this novel is in the action scenes, and witty dialogs. But after reaching the mid part, I changed my mind. The strength of this novel is on the character developments in an action-packed story. Not all parts of the story are plot driven, but some story parts are character driven.

I believe many readers will
Dec 01, 2014 Kaitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-sff-faves
I read this as a buddy read with Mercedes and Brock and I have to say that I read this over a few hours (on just 2 days) and I loved every second! I think there's a bit of a misconception surrounding this book in that it looks and seems like it could be a YA or Children's book because it's shorter than many adult fantasies are, but this is most definitely a solid adult Steampunk book and for one of my first few exposures to Steampunk this book handled that so brilliantly :D

This is the story of T
Oct 26, 2015 Choko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to my buddies for this read!!!

*** 4 ***

This book is not easy to qualify. It is a Fantasy with pirate adventure, low tech, and generously tinted dark. It flies in dark and tumultuous skies, it deals with characters dealing with dark pasts and shady present and, no one has clearly defined motives in a twisted desperate world... Yes, its all some shade of dark. But that doesn't make the book difficult to read, exactly the opposite. It is a magnetic story with characters who draw you in and y
A new steampunk series for me & one highly recommended by many....... rightly so I found to my delight.

The character involvement & interaction of the crew is spot-on with their individual backstories coming to the fore throughout the book during times of misfortunes/reflection & why they ended up on the Ketty Jay, all are poignant & go towards explaining how the cast of strays & waives bond over their adventure. They are Pirates (arrrrrrr) of a sort..... more like adventurer
Apr 08, 2013 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Executive Summary: Well, maybe I can enjoy Steampunk after all. I definitely plan on continuing with this series.

Full Review
I've been slow with reading the last month or two. This book was no different. That's not it's fault though. I found it every enjoyable the whole way.

When I did finally have some time over this holiday weekend to read, instead of reading 75-100 pages like I had planned, I ended up reading nearly half the book in one sitting.

Steampunk has never really appealed to me. I hav
Chance Maree
Jul 18, 2011 Chance Maree rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Firefly fans, space sci-fi adventure lovers
I'm a Firefly fan who picked up Retribution Falls to feed my nostalgia for good old cowboy/pirate steampunk westerns. I wasn't disappointed, to say the least. I laughed, got misty, and turned pages, completely absorbed in the adventure. The writing is excellent, the characters fleshy and fascinating (except for 2 by my count), and the plot is somewhat classic, yet it delivers startling breezes of fresh air, plenty enough to prohibit yawns. The next book, Black Lung Captain, is now on my to-read ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Retribution Falls took me on a journey where I was continually required to reevaluate everything-- from the story itself, the world in which it takes place, and not the least, the characters. Great worldbuilding, and surprisingly multi-faceted characters who seemed to be archetypes, but proved to be much more. It was complex, intriguing, and ultimately very enjoyable.

Reviewed for Bitten By books.
Oct 25, 2011 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Full praise for this book from me. Not so much for some intrinsic or objective artistic value, but for the fun I've had reading it.
The story is probably one we've heard numerous time before. A group of down of their luck misfits and outcasts try to make a living at the edge of the civilized world, playing a game of risk in a dangerous environment and stepping on the wrong side of the law every so often. We already had The Argonauts, some of the Knights of the Round Table, The Elizabethan private
Cathy (cathepsut)
This was supposed to be fast-paced action. It's not bad, but taking into account some of the whiplash-inducing UF I have read in the last few years, this is pretty average. The blurb sounds interesting, the cover is really nice. But it took me a week to slog through the first 100 pages, as I could simply not build up any interest in the story or the charactes.

We have the mischievous criminal with a presumabely good heart and his band of misfits. A new crew member joins and gives us the outside v
"Grab yourself a gun. Welcome to the crew.

And that's pretty much how we enter the world of the Ketty Jay crew. There is no slow build up, no set up of the world, or lengthy exposition of the political situation. Just crew members facing a gun to the head and swift death. So, pretty much a regular day for the rag-a-muffin crew of the Ketty Jay who are all running from past secrets and mistakes. Led by Darian Frey, captain of the Ketty Jay, the crew is held together more by the fact that none of t
Pure fun; and do not be fooled by the pulp-like presentation of the novel with chapters with headings a la Jules Verne, since the novel is thoroughly modern in tone and content, partly ironic, partly serious.

I laughed out loud many, many times, but there is a lot of heartbreak and tragedy.

A crew of misfits led by one Darian Frey who seems to attract the attention of beautiful rich girls once too many for his own good is scrapping a living as airship smugglers and occasional pirates. Kind of bott
I'd been hearing a lot about this book recently often mentioned in the same breath as sci-fi TV classic Firefly. And there are some similarities between them. A crew of misfits on a flying vessel, outside the law in a world recovering from war. There is a bit of humour and the crew gets in over their heads. But these are similarities with more than just Firefly. And all other similarities end there.

This tale revolved around Captain Frey and his ship, the Ketty Jay, and it's passengers. They aren
Jan 08, 2012 Ctgt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not like we haven't seen this type of story before, ragtag group of misfits making their way by hook or crook. An offer comes to them that seems to good to be true, they know it but it's just too tantalizing to pass up. Of course it blows up in their faces and you end up with a fun, well paced action adventure story with some great(although familiar) characters involved in a mystery/conspiracy that draws them in to a world they would much rather avoid. This was really close to 5 stars, not ...more
Nov 07, 2011 J.M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Wow. I loved RETRIBUTION FALLS. Wooding, my friend, from that unfortunate offering that was STORM THIEF, you are now redeemed! I thank you.

FIREFLY fans, read this. You won't be let down. Highly recommended. Five stars!
Jun 02, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, fof-reads
I really enjoyed this, and though I've been seeing great things said about it for a long time, I just now got to it. Well, I'm glad I did. I'm good and thoroughly hooked, and I'll be picking up more books in this series.

Cross The Winds of Khalakovo with Firefly and you might have a basic idea of what to expect. Or not. It's kinda its own thing too.

The Shayne-Train
Sep 23, 2013 The Shayne-Train rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this was great. Pirate swashbuckling adventure meets steampunk meets heist story.

The characters are wonderfully flawed, likable, and fleshed-out, the dialogue completely believable, the action fast-paced and easy to follow.

Do yourself a favor and stab this book with the cutlass of your MIND. Me, myself, I'm going to devour the next one in the series very soon.
Feb 22, 2017 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-reads-2017
I cant believe I missed this brilliant book when it first came out. Great story writing interesting premise, great world building.

can't wait to read the others.
Apr 18, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I decided to wait a few days after finishing before reviewing this.
I wanted to see how it sat in my head afterwards.
The book is not without fault. Some parts are a but simplistic, the world building is a bit underdone and the setup doesn't feel terribly original in many ways. And now your wondering why I have given a 5 * review above. Have I left my senses(again). I'm not a harsh reviewer anyway but 5 stars for a book I see the faults above in is even odd for me.
But despite the faults, despite
Nov 07, 2015 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a lot to like in this book. Really it gets 3.5 stars rounded down. For about half the book, it would have been 4 stars. The world building was good. The fight scenes were great. It was a fast-paced action led story. The main protagonists were interesting.
Many other reviews said this was too similar to a TV show they had seen. Well, I hadn't seen it, but as the book developed, it sounded more and more like a TV episode. Also the author felt the need to explain to the reader how each cha
Jul 27, 2012 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi

A fun, enjoyable romp which is a mix of fantasy, steampunk and action. As I've never seen Firefly I can't say this is like that series (but noticed that comparison in a number of other reviews) but I would class it as a mix of Red Dwarf and Lies of Locke Lamora. A ragtag crew gets given a hot tip on some loot they can easily take from another vessel, a tip that sounds too good to be true. Would you believe it but it's too good to be true, by a long shot.

There were plenty of positives in t
Feb 01, 2012 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pretty bored during the entire first third of this. I almost gave it up several times, just because it was taking me so long to dredge through it. I wasn't digging the plot or the characters, I just didn't think the premise was "my thing". Science fiction, sky pirates... Sounded weird to me. But I'm really glad I stuck with it. The characters grew on me, the plot stepped it up, and I got sucked in. Hell, I got so emotionally attached to the characters that I almost teared up in one spot. I ...more
Sarah Anne
Jul 09, 2016 Sarah Anne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody but me
One or two stars and a DNF at page 188. Oh boy, I can just see the angry comments rolling in. I got frustrated with this book and then I found that I was dragging my feet big time trying to get back to it. Now I'm done. For me the writing was immature and I was amazed that the author was 32 when he wrote it.

"Oh no, he fretted. I don't want to go in there, I really don't!"

"He'd tasted grief and despair and the highest terror, he'd made the most terrible mistakes, and he bore a shame no man shou
Apr 15, 2015 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Good:
Fun fun fun. This was such a fun read. The characters were fun (including the fun cat), the story was fun, the cool ideas were fun, and the setting was absolutely buckets of fun.

The Bad:
The setting is kind of stupid if I think too hard about it. Plus the ensemble cast and multiple antagonists give it all a somewhat unfocused air. Lastly, all the fun stuff is fun because it works, which means most of it has been done before.

'Friends' character the protagonist is most like:
Who's the prota
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Chris Wooding grew up in a small town in Leicestershire, where not much of anything happened. So he started to write novels. He was sixteen when he completed his first. He had an agent by eighteen. By nineteen he had signed his first book deal. When he left university he began to write full-time, and he has been doing it professionally all his adult life.

Now thirty-nine, Chris has written over twe
More about Chris Wooding...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of the Ketty Jay (4 books)
  • The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #2)
  • The Iron Jackal (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #3)
  • The Ace of Skulls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #4)

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“Ladies, gentlemen, we're out of here! Your boss is upstairs, and only mildly wounded. Go help him if you have the inclination. You'll also notice the house is on fire. Make of that what you like.” 13 likes
“Ain't no deserving, or otherwise,' Silo said, his bass voice rolling out from deep in his chest. 'There's what is, and what ain't, and there's what you do about it. Regret's just a way to make you feel okay when you're not making amends. A man can waste a life with regrets.” 12 likes
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