I actually accepted a copy of The Vagrant from the publisher knowing just about nothing about the book. The synopsis coupled with an intriguing, if soI actually accepted a copy of The Vagrant from the publisher knowing just about nothing about the book. The synopsis coupled with an intriguing, if somewhat cliche, cover (but wait, a baby?!?) sold me alone. This doesn't happen all the time and usually when this is all that sells me on a book, I end up about as disappointed as you can get.
That's why I scour blogs and Goodreads so regularly. I can't trust my gut reaction on these things...normally.
The Vagrant is a hard book to nail down. It involves a mysterious man, the Vagrant, who can't speak and who's on some kind of pilgrimage with a baby in tow as well as a goat he picks up. He carries a huge, mythical sword and it seems like he's trying to save the world or some such thing.
Right away, you're thinking, epic fantasy right?
Well, that's not quite it. It obviously also takes place in some type of futuristic landscape because there are neon lights and all kinds of other technologies the reader begins to meet along the way.
The closest I can put it is probably Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire series. A good mix of fantasy and science fiction and lots of dark, unspeakable doings. I think I can firmly put it in grimdark at the very least ... whatever that means.
In a book where the main character can't speak, I'm quite impressed at the degree of emotions I felt, almost on par with Janny Wurts, who really gets the feels out of me.
The Vagrant, as mentioned, is on a quest and many are out to stop him. Demons have taken over the land, corrupted the people with a taint, though not all, and submitted humanity to their wills.
With their own factions vying for power, the demons have different ways of subjugating humanity. However, they end up hurting their cause with all the infighting. Filled with grotesque monsters, one which has literally built itself out of masses of dead humans, The Vagrant is dark and twisted and make for excellent juxtaposition of the goodness of The Vagrant and those who follow in his wake.
The novel itself is broken into chapters with interludes going back to the beginning of the demon infestation, starting with "Eight Years Ago" and moving up to the present. One of the things that threw me for a bit was during these sections, the action would go back to the present without a chapter break in between. This only happened a few times and I found myself wondering if it was an accident. It's not a huge deal, just an odd thing I wanted to discuss with anyone who's read it.
Though dark, more likely because of the dark, The Vagrant emphasizes the light. The emotions were deep, I was amazed how deeply I felt for this character who can't even speak. And then there's the goat, who also can't speak (he's not some magic goat, just a run-of-the-mill one) which was probably one of my favorite characters in this book.
I can't recommend The Vagrant enough. It's different than anything else I've read. It's dark and brooding, but filled with so much beauty at the same time. Peter Newman is an author to watch.
4.5 out of 5 Stars (very highly recommended)...more
I'm pretty sure everyone and their dog is going to read this regardless of my "review" so I thought I'd shake things up (don't hold your breath). I'mI'm pretty sure everyone and their dog is going to read this regardless of my "review" so I thought I'd shake things up (don't hold your breath). I'm going to go through some of the thoughts I had while reading it, make some comparisons, essentially not have any cohesion or flow to this review whatsoever. (As if I would do a review like this out of laziness, come on!)
Random Thoughts While Reading The Aeronaut's Windlass:
1. The cats were spot on! This is probably what stuck out the most to me, but the cats in Aeronaut were a blast. They're sentient beings that most of the world thinks are vermin, but they have their own language, their own ways, everything and humans can even communicate if they take the time to learn. And they act just like cats who could do all those things. It's hilarious.
(Rawl if he were orange)
For example, there's an hour long meeting between two cats where they just stand around each other trying to show the most indifference toward the other one.
There's even a point of view set from one of the cat's pov's. I'm glad they got lots of time in the book because they were just so good.
2. I got a bit of a Brandon Sanderson feel from the book. The world's not quite as detailed, but it's very interesting with lots of magic, and a definite PG-13 (if not PG) rating. Also, it's one huge tome for an epic series beginning.
3. The world does feel a tad empty, but at the same time I'm highly intrigued to find out more. I think that may have been part of the point. There's so much going on and so much character development that I was a little confused as to the lay of the land. That's not always a bad thing and I think it will catch up as the series progresses.
4. The crew of the Predator, especially their Captain, Grimm, could be my second favorite part (behind the cats of course). Airships powered by precious crystals and their battles and chases were pretty awesome. I'll take two.
5. Euan Morton, the narrator for the audiobook, did an excellent job with one complaint. He'd almost get too into the acting and forget that we need to actually hear him speak to know what's going on. Almost every time he whispered I couldn't hear a thing. Luckily I had a physical copy of the book to look things up (like "mistmaw").
6. Cats totally think humans are the dumbest.
7. Aeronaut also reminded me a bit of Steven Erikson, especially Folly, who can only speak to people through speaking to her necklace of crystals. Very cooky and very much an aspect I love to see more of in books.
8. For as big as this book is, it doesn't feel that way at all. It's non-stop from page one.
9. Don't get me wrong, I love Harry Dresden, but we have a love-hate relationship. I can only stand so much at once. Aeronaut is a welcome refreshment and proves Butcher can do epic/steampunkish fantasy as well as anything. (On that note, I still need to read his Codex Alera series)
Very minor gripes aside, Butcher's at the top of his game. I looked forward to my commute, to grocery shopping, and shoot I was finding ways to listen by cleaning the house. The Aeronaut's Windlass displays Butcher's talent to just have fun with his characters and shows he knows what his readers like.
I just pledged to the kickstarter and you should too! After problems with Night Shade Books, the whole kerfluffle with the buy-out and all that, CourtI just pledged to the kickstarter and you should too! After problems with Night Shade Books, the whole kerfluffle with the buy-out and all that, Courtney Schafer decided to self-publish the final book in the trilogy. This is a great series, I highly recommended and we have the chance to help make it happen. Please consider pledging! (Do it for me if not for Courtney, I need an ending!)