Hands-down the most authentically voiced, concretely detailed biography of one of the most important figures of the 19th century ever written. I couldHands-down the most authentically voiced, concretely detailed biography of one of the most important figures of the 19th century ever written. I could not put this down, start to finish (which is saying something, because this book's about thick enough you could give someone a concussion with it--without a hardcover), and the way personality seeped into rigid historical fact lent character to an already intricate story. For any fans of history, I could not recommend this enough....more
So, a daemonologist, a smuggler, and an Archduke’s heir walk into an airship—oh dear, you haven’t heard this one before, have you?
Retribution Falls isSo, a daemonologist, a smuggler, and an Archduke’s heir walk into an airship—oh dear, you haven’t heard this one before, have you?
Retribution Falls is, like much of its steampunky brethren, strange above all else. The good sort of strange, mind you, but strange none the less. No lizard people, but airships abound (because how else would we know it was Steampunk? The goggles would make no sense!), magic and daemons are in the air, and money is the name of the game. Money is, after all, the driving focus of this novel, given that it’s a tale of a crew of smugglers.
Enter Darien Frey, captain of the Ketty Jay—a ship he loves above all else. Even his crew. Or his passengers. Even…well, alright, money would probably give it a run for it. He’s a man that would look a thief in the eye and tell him to go screw himself rather than turn over his precious ship—even if it meant getting some of the (expendable) souls around him iced. His crew? Much the same in temperament. But what do you expect? They’re a crew of bandits, smugglers, and lowlifes of the lowest rate.
No, I mean it, the lowest rate. They lack success, luck, and the money that goes with it. They barely have the money to keep flying but—you guessed it—with the dawning of the book, is the dawning of an opportunity: the job to end all jobs. Like any “job”, though, a hero (alright, anti-hero) isn’t about to get off without a hitch—and in this case, the hitch involves explosions and false charges of murder. Whoops. Welcome to fame (sans fortune) and a top spot on the number one most wanted list! Toss in a fugitive daemonologist for flavor, a desperate need to prove innocence, not to mention a seasoning of dark humor, and what you’ve got here is a real winner.
Does it have the depth you know I love? Alright, well, not in its entirety, but it strikes a decent enough balance for a book as outright fun as this one. Character development does abound, characters learn from past mistakes, and as quick as you can swallow this bit of literature, it’s rare that you actually feel left wanting over its course. No info-dumps will weigh you down, so it’s a speedy read.
Also: there is daemonism. Daemonism magic, to be exact, which is a sort of outright fantasy mixed with pseudoscience, and used just enough to tease one’s interest without giving enough away to truly pick apart. What’s more: it’s magic with a downside! Not all powerful—and that’s just the sort of magic I like.
Basically, Retribution Falls is an amusing package that fires on almost every cylinder: fast-paced action (including airship action, which is always glorious), rampant piracy, and characters with humor—and, well, character. In the words of a terrible song? I like it, I love it, I want some more of it. This is how you steampunk....more
Simply delightful, though I dare say it was a painful wait for it! I should also add that it might be my favorite of the English translated Witcher noSimply delightful, though I dare say it was a painful wait for it! I should also add that it might be my favorite of the English translated Witcher novels so far—a beautiful blend of character, political deviance, and magical shenanigans (which is my way of saying action of many kinds). Though the forward progress can drag its heels a bit at times, feeling as though the wheels are turning (and, admittedly, a lot being learned) without actually progressing, there is not a single of these moments that will linger too long on the conscious mind of the reader. Neither Geralt, nor those around him, ever sit in one place long enough for that to be the case.
The sorceresses are the primary force for political momentum herein, though Nilfgaard and its naughty streak remain at the edge of every action and reaction. It dwells heavily on the symbol of the Baptism of Fire—a journey a great many of the characters seems to be walking here, above and beyond merely Geralt of Rivia. A new friend herein, one whom you can’t take but take quickly to, a Mr. Regis, is quick enough to point that little detail out.
Sapkowski has this delightful gift for balancing the dark grit and clever wit together atop the pin needle of high fantasy that is difficult to be equaled. Elves, Dwarves, and magic abound—yet somehow you cannot read his books without using the word “human” significantly. The interactions, the personality he breathes into his creations—it’s at the same time both complex and yet soothingly natural.
One must always worry when a translation is set before them—worry that something will be lost in the translation, that something of the beauty of the work will not hold up to the editor’s keen axe. Not so, here. If the book has lost anything in the translation, yet remains of such rich delight, then the original must be truly breathtaking. Sapkowski is a storyteller I would highly recommend—and Baptism of Fire is another notch on that belt....more