Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Ace of Skulls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #4)” as Want to Read:
The Ace of Skulls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Ace of Skulls

(Tales of the Ketty Jay #4)

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  2,689 ratings  ·  286 reviews
All good things come to an end. And this is it: the last stand of the Ketty Jay and her intrepid crew.

They've been shot down, set up, double-crossed and ripped off. They've stolen priceless treasures, destroyed a ten-thousand-year-old Azryx city and sort-of-accidentally blew up the son of the Archduke. Now they've gone and started a civil war. This time, they're really in
Paperback, 492 pages
Published September 19th 2013 by Gollancz
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,689 ratings  ·  286 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Ace of Skulls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #4)
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of pirates, firefly, plotting
Recommended to carol. by: Mimi
Space pirates!


Enough said.

Ok, maybe not. It appears my prior reviews of this series are rather weak. Here's why you should read The Kitty Jay series.

Firefly. In written form.


Ok, stop that! Let's do a review!

If you haven't followed the tales of the Kitty Jay, a mercenary--okay, freebooter--zepplin, it's best not to start here. Most likely, you'll understand it, but it is the capstone to a four-book series, and Wooding has done some nice things in this one, wrapping up both personal and political
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A buddy read with Sarah.

Vardia was in the middle of a civil war thanks to actions of Ketty Jay crew in the previous book. Its infamous captain Frey still pursued his lost love, the rest of the crew and all the consequences be damned. The crew finally began getting clued in that their captain would not think twice about putting their lives on the line only to get closer to the woman he was obsessed with (I cannot call this feeling love and keep a straight face) - took them long enough. Slag the r
Oct 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Steampunk fantasy fans
3.5/5 stars

The Ace of Skulls gave mostly a satisfying ending to the Tales of the Ketty Jay but as a volume, in my opinion this was a slight step back in quality.

Tales of the Ketty Jay has always been consistently good from the first book; the third book was a huge step up for the series in which almost every element from the previous books was improved efficiently. That’s why it saddened me to say that even though I still loved this one, I didn’t enjoy reading the majority of this book as much a
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
· Evgeny is my Personal Insurance against Crappy Books Buddy Read (EimPIaCBBR™). With Evgeny. Duh ·

⚠️ Friendly warning #1: if you're allergic to gifs, you better stay away from this fascinating review. You're welcome.

⚠️ Friendly warning #2: you know how this goes, right? Low rating = neverending review. So grab a snack and a drink, this should take a while.

In a perfect world, I would never have finished this book. At 37%, I was already thinking of drinking myself to oblivion. At 42%, I was out o
Scott  Hitchcock
Book 1: 3.75*
Book 2: 4.25*
Book 3: 4.25*
Book 4: 5*

Now that is how you tie up a series. Bringing all the elements together into one elongated mega convergence with twists and amazing visual imagery that would be brilliant on the big screen.

What really made this series get better and better is that the author invested time in the characters. Time into their thoughts, dreams, fears, flaws and their love for each other. Without that it's just a 3.5* fun swashbuckling adventure. There's nothing wrong
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A good wrap-up of a highly joyful series. The strong point of this book is blending perfectly between sub plots of each Ketty Jay crews' character developments with main plot of each book. This final book gives readers the long-waited full blooming of characters, serves them in a high-stake epic scale plot that worthy of a last book of a series.

The only weakness of this series is the predictable plots. But the executions are SO CONSISTENTLY good since the first book, I am willing to give this b
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great, satisfying ending for one the most fun series I've ever read. Wooding did a great job of bringing all of the threads together and delivered the closure I was hoping for.

This crew started as a band of misfits but with each book they grew into something more and with each book I loved them more. Wooding did a great job with the characterization and because of it this series surpassed the light, adventure vibe it gave at the beginning and gave me something more than just the fast paced act
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
This wasn't how things were supposed to end up. He'd never asked for much. He'd never seriously coveted wealth and power. All he'd wanted was the freedom to do what he wanted. But somewhere along the line he's acquired a crew that he cared about. Somehow he's fallen back in love with a woman he'd thought he'd left behind.

The time has come for pirate captain Darian Frey to stop running and hiding. He's got to take a stand and fight, if not out of patriotic fervor for his civil war torn co
All paths lead to all out war with the Awakeners, and Frey and Crew are in the midst of destroying yet another city.

I love this book so much because it takes all the good things from previous books and crank them up to 11. The previous books were great in their own rights, but this one blows them all to pieces. It raises the already precarious stakes to new heights. War breaks out. Lives hang in the balance. Another Awakener conspiracy is put into play. Close calls for everyone. Every single cha
This was a fantastic finish to a great series. The stakes in this book are higher than before on a global and personal level for each of our beloved characters. The book delivers a very satisfying ending and is filled with the typical Ketty Jay humor, action and emotional moments.
We also have many on the minor plotlines wrapped up and some minor characters from the first 3 books of the series make guest appearances.
Of course it is sad to see the series ending, but the narrative comes to a very g
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-sff-faves
Oh my goodness... THIS BOOK and this series is SO GOOD! I literally just finished up this book and I still have all the feelings and adrenalin from the ending of an era. I have to say I am so sad that I won't get to see any more of these truly magnificent characters again, but I felt that the ending of the series and the way things were left was brillantly crafted and handled.

This is a series which follows the crew of the Ketty Jay, a kind of steampunk airship in a world full of crazy religion,
Mayim de Vries
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
“We a losing’ hand, Cap’n but you the Ace of Skulls. Anyone can turn us to winning’, you can.”

Chris Wooding really aced it. I had so much fun with this series that I think it deserves an overall 5-star rating. It is hard to get a consistent series these days, so to find one that not only maintains the high quality but also gives you the happy sobbing at the end (yes, come and judge me!) — this is truly priceless.

Darian Frey is full of good intentions and bad ideas on how to keep the balance betw
Apr 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: action-adventure aficionados who also enjoyed book 1-3
Recommended to jade by: any steampunk books rec list ever
‘see what you set off?’ she said, nudging him. ‘not bad for a bunch of reprobates with a galaxy of personality disorders.’

‘aren’t you dating one of those reprobates?’

she snorted. ‘someone has to keep you classy.’

this is the final adventure of the crew of the ketty jay, a rickety airship captained by everyone’s favorite lovestruck scoundrel: the daring mr. frey.

most of this series’ plots involve the ketty jay taking on a dubious request from a shady character which eventually pays way too lit
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013, e-books
5 Stars

This is a series that deserves full marks just for the fun and the adventure that it will bring to your life. Darian Frey and the gang will capture your love for action, camaraderie, and pirating to boot. I am not going to go into great summaries here, as if you are reading this review than you are probably already familiar with this series and are more than likely a fan.

Ace of Skulls is an amazing end to an incredible steampunk, space pirating, action packed series. Wooding has a created
They've been shot down, set up, double-crossed and ripped off. They've stolen priceless treasures, destroyed a ten-thousand-year-old Azryx city and sort-of-accidentally blew up the son of the Archduke. Now they've gone and started a civil war. This time, they're really in trouble.

This is the last book in the Tales of the Ketty Jay series. Overall this book pretty much lived up to my expectations, although I do feel like some characters didn't live up to their potential. Jez in particular becam
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The conclusion to the series about the Ketty Jay & her crew.

It’s been a journey, for the most part very enjoyable, bar in truth the Captain’s lovelorn puppy dog moods that occasionally assault the reader, which with this final part we find out early on will likely be front & centre of the story....... I tend to spot them coming by now & jus skip read over his mooning (Come the end there not as often as it first appeared it might be & fits perfectly with the storyline concerning Trinica)

That asid
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steam-punk
If you have already read the first books of the series you won't need me to tell you how good this story is. If you haven't read book one in this series and you enjoy a rollicking good adventure story, then get off your arse and add it to your list. Even if you are not a steampunk fan (and I am not, or at least wasn't, a steam punk fan) I am sure you'd enjoy this story.

The characters in this series have continued to develop into favourites and I have gotten to a stage where I have really connec
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy

Possibly the weakest of the series but still a great way to bow out. Every instalment in this series has been fun to read, this one is no different but I couldn’t help feel there was maybe 100 pages too many and a little bit too much romance going on which detracted from the usual witty back and fourths.

The series plot has been simmering since the first book to get to this stage of full on civil war, which is all well and good but I’m more interested in what the Ketty Jay are up to and wh
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantastika


“Third time's the charm” with this series, for me. This fourth time out was... tired. Or maybe it's just this bug I've been having trouble shaking. At any rate, the pleasing character growth I noted in The Iron Jackal has faltered in this book, at least for Captain Darian Frey, and Jez has also become flat and uninteresting. Malvery, Crake, and Silo continue to be engaging, and I finished the book to find out how things worked out for them. The Century Knights are also particularly fun in this o
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
What a ride! This was the last book of the Ketty Jay series ending with a bang. I enjoyed the series from the start, but it still got better and better. While each book manages to stand on its own, this final instalment wraps up loose ends perfectly. In the end we have it all: complex world-building, interesting magic system coupled with sciences, steampunk air fights and above all likeable but flawed characters that stand up for each other. I enjoyed every second of this feel-good and action-pa ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
***Actual rating: 4,00***

Very good conclusion to a series I increasingly loved.
This novel has all the treats of the other books, but stakes are so much bigger now. Each of the crew members of the Ketty Jay faces personal struggles as well as epic battles. I did have some issues with the ending for some characters (view spoiler) but I can understand why the author made this choice. I would, without any doubt, recommend this series. Mr. Wooding
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well that was a humdinger of a book. Admittedly some of the battle scenes went on a little too long - or maybe that was just me wanting to get back to the more character driven, emotional beats - but I suppose it all evened out in the end. This book, like the series, had a little bit of everything: action, humor, friendship, romance, and the inevitability of change. So a big shout out to Mr. Wooding as well as to Captain Frey, Malvery, Crake, Jez, Silo, Harkins, Trinica, Samandra, Slag, and Grud ...more
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Perfect ending to a wonderful series. I'm looking forward to go back and read those books again someday!
Lisa Reads & Reviews

A fitting end to a series which I have enjoyed. Lots of action, good dialogue, plot twists and complications, character growth--the whole shebang. The writing was clear and professional, noteworthy given the complex mix of multiple character POVs, elaborate battles, politics, and mechanics of demonology. Nice, too, that it was not YA. Only one young character graced the crew; most focus was on folks who have been around the block a few times. Instead of wide-eyed-wonder, "who am I" rehash that f
Benji Glaab
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another tight story, and I'm sad the series has come to a close. I reduced my rating cuz it lacked the readability that was so great throughout the whole series. I also found myself becoming bored and disengaging unlike the previous books that had my eyes feeling glued to the page.

Full RTC
Timothy Boyd
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very nice ending to the series. The books all flowed well together and the plot built well throughout the series. If you are looking to try a new Steampunk series or break into Steampunk stories I think this would be a great set of books for ya. Nice humor and good action throughout. Very recommended
The Shayne-Train
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a perfect ending to an exciting, original, and plain ol' badass series.

The final adventure of the crew of the Ketty Jay pulls no punches. Everything, and I mean goddamned EVERYTHING, comes to head. The plot from all three preceding stories gets pulled into the tapestry of these characters. Shit hits the fan, in a climactic scene that seemed to take a third of the book, and left me feeling physically exhausted once I reached the end. (That's physically exhausted in a good way, like after a m
I'm not even sure what to say about this final installment to the Ketty Jay series.

Pirates. Battles. Pirates. Secrets. Pirates. Supernatural creatures. Magic. Pirates. Great love. Great loss. Pirates. More battles. Even more battles. Action. Ships falling from the sky. Big guns. Small guns. Lots of blood. Lots and lots of blood. Death. Destruction. Cool magic objects. A cutlass. Ghostbuster packs. Pirates. And a couple of pirate cats.

What an incredible book. What an incredible series! This need
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steampunk
The Ace Of Skulls by Chris Wooding is a Steampunk novel set aboard the ship Ketty Jay about the adventures, or possibly misadventures, of it’s ragtag crew. It is the last of four novels in the Tales Of The Ketty Jay series.

All of the Ketty Jays adventures have finally caught up with them; they’ve gone and triggered a civil war. If that wasn’t bad enough Trinica Dracken, Frey’s ex-fiancee, is in trouble and he is obsessed with trying to help and save her. All of the crew are going to have to deci
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Ace of Skulls [Jul 1, 2020] 4 17 Jul 28, 2020 06:27AM  
Fantasy Buddy Reads: The Ace of Skulls [October 2017] 58 50 Oct 09, 2017 03:10AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Messenger of the Dark Prophet (The Bowl of Souls #2)
  • The War of Stardeon (The Bowl of Souls, #4)
  • Mother of the Moonrat (The Bowl of Souls #5)
  • Hunt of the Bandham (The Bowl of Souls, #3)
  • Knock Three Times (The Wizards of Once #3)
  • The Fearsome Firebird (The Curiosity House, #3)
  • The Screaming Statue (The Curiosity House, #2)
  • Eye of the Moonrat (The Bowl of Souls, #1)
  • Cold Iron (Masters & Mages, #1)
  • Tyrant's Throne (Greatcoats, #4)
  • Blood of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #3)
  • The Killing Light (The Sacred Throne, #3)
  • City of Light (Traveler's Gate, #3)
  • Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne, #2)
  • Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City
  • Destroyer of Worlds (Saga of the Forgotten Warrior, #3)
  • Ashes of the Sun (Burningblade & Silvereye, #1)
  • The Sacrifice of Darkness
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Tales of the Ketty Jay (4 books)
  • Retribution Falls (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #1)
  • The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #2)
  • The Iron Jackal (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #3)

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
11 likes · 4 comments
“Pinn just won a medal for intelligence,' Frey said, shaking his head as he clapped. 'I don't want to live on this planet any more.” 8 likes
“Trudging off into a swamp in the middle of the night had seemed like a god idea at the time but, like most of Frey's ideas, the reality fell short of the concept.” 5 likes
More quotes…