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The Court of the Air (Jackelian, #1)
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The Court of the Air (Jackelian #1)

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  2,937 ratings  ·  499 reviews
A hugely engaging adventure set in a Victorian-style world -- a fantastical version of Dickens -- that will appeal to fans of Susanna Clarke and Philip Pullman. Two orphans are more than they seem. And one megalomaniac will stop at nothing to find them! When Molly Templar witnesses a brutal murder at the brothel she has just been apprenticed to, her first instinct is to re ...more
Paperback, 582 pages
Published September 3rd 2007 by HarperVoyager (first published 2007)
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Soulless by Gail CarrigerLeviathan by Scott WesterfeldBoneshaker by Cherie PriestPerdido Street Station by China MiévilleThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Best Steampunk Books
44th out of 695 books — 3,291 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
Oliver Brooks, a boy altered by the feymist, has his life turned upside down when his uncle is killed and he's framed for murder. Molly Templar escapes murder at the brothel where she was being trained, only to find her orphanage home the scene of a massacre and quickly figures out she was the real target. What bonds these two orphans together and what does the mysterious Court of the Air have to do with things?

Court of the Air was definitely worth my seven bucks. It's full of action and twists.
Have you ever been to an orgy?

They can be fun if you approach them correctly. You need to find a small section of the orgy and focus on that spot. Think about your pleasure first and don’t be tempted into straying from the spot you’ve chosen. But if you are unable to find your spot, if you are unable to focus your sexual energy in that spot, you are more likely to have an overwhelming and, ultimately, unfulfilling experience.

You'll see beauty, you'll feel pleasure, you'll probably even have an o
This was a book with a lot of potential. Interesting concept, with some nods to Dr. Who, but the author left way too much up to the reader. I can't believe I'm saying this, but this book needed more exposition. Slang that was almost indecipherable, barely there descriptions of the characters, people, environment, etc. I like to have a good visual image while I read, and this book simply did not provide that. How can I enjoy an escape when I can't imagine what anything looks like? If the author r ...more
This book has its flaws. It's a crazy mass of characters and governments and shadow governments and shadow gods - there are so many forces at work throughout these 600 pages that I wished I had an eBook reader with a search function so I could go back and remind myself how it all fit together. But it was a hell of a ride, and I found myself reluctant to finish it because I wasn't quite ready to be done with it.

Unlike with other sprawling, epic stories, I didn't find myself emotionally attached t
There is really nothing I can add to a review about this book that 90% of these reviews don't already say. I am very glad that pretty much everyone else has been as frustrated with this book as I have. I literally have been slogging through it for weeks now, barely reading a page at a time before I get bored. And considering my reading speed is enough to finish the entire Hyperion quartet in about a week and a half, that is bad. Bad bad bad.

In fact, I think reading too fast may be part of the pr
Have you ever been stalked by book? When I was in Toronto earlier this summer, I swear The Court of the Air was stalking me. It was in the first bookstore I entered; it had a prominent position at every book store. I finally decided to get it once I got home, after all Borders was having a "buy four, get one free" sale, and I was getting the four Kitty Norville books I didn't have. Sadly, despite the stalking and Hunt's very cool website*, I didn't like the book. In fact, I couldn't even finish ...more
After two hundred pages into the book, I just couldn't bring myself to finish it. While Stephen Hunt's worldbuilding is very interesting, all of his characters are completely flat. Even the two main characters of the book seem just like cookie-cutter archetypes. Two orphans with a special, mysterious destiny and absolutely zero character flaws? Yawn! Not only do they not have any flaws, but these orphans don't seem to actually contribute anything useful either. They drift around the novel gettin ...more
Sep 04, 2009 Woodge rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: enemies
I got to page 172 before deciding against finishing this story. The author crams many different ideas into this steampunk-fantasy-mashup of a tale. The two main characters are orphans. Molly Templar gets placed by the orphanage into prostitution, but her very first john turns out to be an assassin. She escapes but we don't know much about who the assassin is, who he works for, or why Molly would be targeted. By page 172 I still don't know.

Then there's Oliver. When he was very young he and his pa
I would say this book along with book 2 by Hunt set in the same world are now two of my new favorites. Yes- there are tons of sub-plots, slang and characters parading together through this novel, and I love it! I guess from reading the reviews that some readers got frustrated and gave it a lower rating based on the notion that they thought too much was going on at once and couldn't keep up. I do not understand this problem. Other readers said that the author left too much up to the reader; which ...more
Já há algum tempo que queria ler este livro por causa do ambiente steampunk onde se desenvolve a história.

"A Corte do Ar" conta a história de dois jovens, Molly Templar e Oliver Brooks, cada qual com a sua história de vida. Molly vive num orfanato em Ferromédio, uma cidade do estado de Laborterra. Oliver vive numa pensão, com o seu tio e a empregada deste.
O mundo dos jovens está prestes a mudar quando coisas estranhas começam a acontecer à volta deles. Depressa esses acontecimentos provam estar
Here's what's wrong with The Court of the Air

- It's a little to obvious the author's read the Bas Lag books.
- He makes puns off of things that are in our world. This would be okay if it felt like the world of the book and our world were linked in some solid way, or if this were a kind of satire disguised as fantasy like Pratchett does, or if it were some kind of "the ages pass and each is of the other" scenario where this is some future or past us, but none of that ever comes through, so the onl
Trashy, steampunk fantasy kitchen-sink. This would make a pretty decent thing to read at the beach and that is no small accomplishment, but overall it kind of annoyed me. There were some rather clumsy bits of writing, awkward exposition, things appearing when they were convenient and disappearing when they weren't, the main characters were twinked out general issue orphans who weren't particularly interesting and were drafted by assorted ancient powers and deus ex machinae (excuse me, the "Hexma ...more
I'll admit; I was browsing through the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section of the ICPL and I picked up this book mostly because the cover looked beautiful. That was a mistake I'd like to say I won't make again, but I probably will.

Jay Lake, author of the Mainspring says: "If Charles Dickens and Jack Vance had ever collaborated, they might have written this book... The Court of Air is a collision between English letters and the hard-edged vision of grunge fantasy." Thanks Jay, you've just ensured I will never
Mar 14, 2011 Tony rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
I'm no stranger to long books, fantasy, or science fiction, but this huge mess of ideas grew increasingly tiresome for me the further I got into it. Many of the tropes for a good adventure are there: orphans with curious untapped powers who may be able to save the world, kingdoms in conflict, people who are born with magic powers, an aeronautical navy, the steampunkish computer/robot noble "steammen", assassins, ancient artifacts, elder gods and on and on and on. And that's really the problem wi ...more
I can't finish this. I've been "reading" it for months now, a couple of pages at a time, but now I give up. I don't care about any of the characters - which I'd have thought impossible, seeing as one of the protagonists is an orphan running from her killers - but there you have it. The world building is hasty and haphazard, the story, which is supposed to be thrilling, is boring, and the characters are...meh, as the damn kids today would say. Shame, really. I love steampunk. I wanted to like thi ...more
I just finished my second read of this one. And wow. I loved it.

This book has everything, which in all fairness is the primary complaint from its critics. Steammen, airships, steam subs (only mentioned in passing), magic, politics, clear heroes, villians, and everyone in between.

There are only two things that I would change, Mr. Hunt needs to add some maps and an appendix/character list.

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Nessa aventura steampunk de Stephen Hunt, ele nos apresenta a Molly, uma órfã que carrega em seu sangue um segredo que a torna alvo de inimigos do Estado. Já Oliver, outro órfão, é acusado de assassinato do seu único parente, seu tio, e precisa fugir para salvar sua vida. Logo, os dois se juntam para lutar contra um antigo poder que parecia derrotado havia milênios.

Amantes do Steampunk tremam com essa versão purista do gênero! Sim, sim,
I've been meaning to pick up The Court of the Air for a long time. Can't remember how Stephen Hunt got on my radar, but he's been sort of hanging around there for a while, so I grabbed this from the library on one of my recent trips there. I'm not entirely sure I want to read the sequel: The Court of the Air has some astonishing ideas, and some really great bits, and even some characters I found interesting, but it got tangled up in itself. The writing is competent enough but the planning leaves ...more
Two kids of magic, a lot of blood, a lot of politics, steam driven machines, no black and white scheme. No read for a rainy Saturday afternoon.

I'm impressed and I will definitely read the sequels.

In the meantime I could convince my nearly 17 years old daughter to read it.
Brett's Books
This novel started out engrossingly, introduces many characters, races, settings, with no exposition; which initially draws the reader in. However, the author never quits introducing more and more stuff, with the already introduced items are left undeveloped. I have three other complaints. The author is too preachy, especially about faith, he has some amorphous idea that being subservient to any "idea" be a religious faith, political ideology or cause is BAD; only those cheeky relativistic indep ...more
c2007. Confused! Not only am I confused, but I think the plot and target market has also been confused. The cover of the hard back from the library is indicative of a YA book but the content certainly isn't. The protagonists are young but what they say, do and think are not consistent with their ages. After the first couple of pages, I did not think I was going to like the book then it started to get really good and then, for me, it kind of went downhill into a maelstrom of ideas, plot lines, ch ...more
Mark Howell
Many people have made comments about how the numberous characters, organizations, etc make the book hard to follow...I don't find that to be true.
That being said, however, the argument that the characters seem somewhat shallow and archetypal, and don't really engage the reader's interest, that one's dead-on. Hell, if it hadn't mentioned on the back cover synopsis that the two main characters were the orphan kids, you probably wouldn't have a clue who the main characters were supposed to be. Hunt
Elijah Kinch Spector
This was a hard one to rate, because I really, really liked the good stuff, but the problems were still just a bit too overwhelming.

This steampunk/fantasy book (for lack of a better genre distinction) is full to bursting with great ideas. From major, major plot points to little throwaway moments, almost every individual idea is something very cool and different--many of them are clear combinations of older ideas, but done in ways most people would never have thought of. Unfortunately this does m
I bought this book only after having bought his second book, The Kingdom Beyond the Waves, when several reviewers on Goodreads commented that the second book, though not a direct sequel to the first, would have made more sense had they already read The Court of the Air. They are steampunk fantasy adventure novels and The Kingdom of the Waves drew me in with its ocean-y cover art featuring a submarine and diver, a sting ray, a turtle, and a wrecked ship at the bottom of the ocean. Sounds good, ri ...more
Ross Kitson
This was a book that elicited conflicting feelings in me. The premise is great: a Steampunk alternate world with magical fantasy tossed in. Two orphans, both with evident potential and secrets, are chased through the environs allowing us a progressive discovery of the bizarre and intricate world.
Yet it's chaotic. There is a deluge of ideas, that take most of the book to gain substance. The writing is variable, and the characterisation feels random. The two MCs don't always resonate, particularly
It’s a brilliantly fast 600 pages. It’s science fiction…I guess? The lines delineating how things like this are classified are fairly blurry. It’s got sci fi elements, and adventure elements, and buddy story elements, and gods and self creating steam driven metal entities, it’s good fun. I highly recommend it.

I wandered around with a book in front of me for a day and a half. I was teaching my son geography and while he was labeling things, I was reading furiously. I just couldn’t put it down. I
Honestly, this was a sludge to get through.
Other people have written much better reviews than I can about why this is not a very good book.
My additions to the discussion are:
IF you are looking for a steampunk, but not Typical Victorian England, novel, PLEASE try Chenda and the Airship Brofman. It too is set in a not-England world. There's Prophecy, strange machines, and it's way more understandable.
I say there is a fine line between not handing all the information to the reader at once and makin
This looked so promising...

Unfortunately it didn't live up to its cover or description. It helped a little when I finally started reading it like it was a video game and not a novel, because it was then much easier to handle events such as two characters becoming unconscious and then showing up in the same dungeon together nowhere near where they had originally been. I could discard conversations between meaningless military members as filler, etc.

The dialogue was sadly almost completely interch

I have stopped reading this book. It is, to be perfectly frank, terrible. I couldn't really follow what was going on, mostly due to the fact that the author continued to refuse to explain things. It felt like I was trying to read a book in a foreign language where I only had a basic concept of the vocabulary.

Furthermore, while reading it, I realized something IMPORTANT had happened...but I had missed it. I read straight through the event without even catching on to the fact that it w
Joseph Teller
I had had this novel recommended to me a while back, by someone who was giving a list of what they thought were essential steampunk novels.

Well it technically is steam punk. There are steam powered sentient machines 'Steam Men' and there is Dicksonian Class based society that people are rebelling against.... but it turns into a convoluted mess as it installs so many different political and technobabble concepts into its twists and turns that it makes you despair for the main characters as it all
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Does "The Court of the Air" get better? 9 29 May 19, 2014 02:18AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Stephen Hunt is a British writer living in London. His first fantasy novel, For the Crown and the Dragon, was published in 1994, and introduced a young officer, Taliesin, fighting for the Queen of England in a Napoleonic period alternative reality where the wars of Europe we
More about Stephen Hunt...
The Kingdom Beyond the Waves (Jackelian, #2) The Rise of the Iron Moon (Jackelian, #3) Secrets of the Fire Sea (Jackelian, #4) Jack Cloudie (Jackelian, #5) From the Deep of the Dark (Jackelian, #6)

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“Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” 122 likes
“All I have left is my anger at the foolishness of the world. The unnecessary cruelties, the pomposity and vanity of people who should know better. Most of the time I just want to shake some sense into the world.” 11 likes
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