Algernon's Reviews > The Black Lung Captain

The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding
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's review
Jan 23, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012
Read from January 23 to February 01, 2012

Black Lung Captain is the confirmation that Retribution Falls was no one-hit-wonder. The ragtag band of outsiders and misfits embark here on new adventures that will bring upon them uncounted perils rather than the fame and fortune they were aiming at.

The McGuffin in this caper is a myterious artefact / doom device found and lost again in an abandoned dreadnought. Captain Darian Frey has his work cut out as he struggles to recover the artefact, keep his crew from coming apart under pressure, and stay ahead of the lethal attentions from the two women in his life : seduced and abandoned aristocrat Amalicia and old flame turned pirate queen Trinicka Dracken.

The Firefly fanfic vibe continues to be felt in the fast action sequences and humorous tone. Even the ghouls from the northern Ice Cap remind me of the space pirates in the TV series. But the Ketty Jay is so well written, I have no problem where the inspiration came from. There's one reply from Darian wielding his trusty cutlass ("It's all in the wrist") that seems picked up directly from Big Trouble In Little China - I hope it was intentional, because that's another film I love. I am thinking the series deserves a big budget movie or TV treatment, and I'm having a lot of fun making up casting decisions (Mila Kunis as Trinicka, or Jennifer Lawrence as Jez, Isla Fisher as Amalicia)

I had some issues with this second book, because it is written to function well as a standalone, and in order to do that it revisits the origin stories for each crew member, making the middle chapters a bit slower. But it also adds to layers/ nuance/ depth to each main character, plus additional appearances of the Century Knights - this bunch I feel could star in their own spin off books after the Ketty Jay is finished.

The final chapters kept me up until the early hours, passing in a rush of combat and cross / double cross / triple cross with superb control of action, dialogue, emotion. I'm glad I already bought The Iron Jackal, because I can't wait to get back together with the Ketty Jay.

A final observation for the series covers : great stuff, I would have bought the books on sight even if they were not already highly recommended by friends.
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