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The Aeronaut's Windlass

(The Cinder Spires #1)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  39,292 ratings  ·  4,272 reviews
Jim Butcher, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Dresden Files and the Codex Alera novels, conjures up a new series set in a fantastic world of noble families, steam-powered technology, and magic-wielding warriors…

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristo
Hardcover, 630 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Roc
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Katie Storer No, I found the book to be very good as well. I couldn't believe it ended so quickly. Jim's biggest book to date and it felt as short as the Dresden f…moreNo, I found the book to be very good as well. I couldn't believe it ended so quickly. Jim's biggest book to date and it felt as short as the Dresden files books. (less)

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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  39,292 ratings  ·  4,272 reviews

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Eric Allen
May 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
As I read through this book, I wrote out some of my thoughts at the end of each day or so. I figured that rather than deleting all of that and writing out a review that says, basically, the exact same thing, I'd just leave it as is. But first, let us pray.

Oh God, the Eternal Father. Hallowed be thy name. Etc. etc. etc. Please forgive thy unworthy son for the Star Trek reference he is about to make, because it will be quite stupid, and likely cause many an eye undue strain from excessive rolling.
Jul 30, 2015 marked it as don-t-count
Shelves: fantasy
Alternate title:

How To Use SteamPunk Words to Market to Genre Readers: Jim's Attempt to Cash in on the Wild Popularity of Dresden Files

Executive Summary: Fast paced action, interesting world building, memorable characters, cool magic system. In a word: fun!

Audio book: This one was coming in with a high bar to meet. Mr. Butcher's popular Dresden Files gets amazing performances by James Marsters. Meanwhile his Codex Alera series is done by the excellent Kate Reading.

So how does Euan Morton stack up? I'm happy to report quite well. I've had this pre-ordered in hardcover for months, but I think I may stick with audio if he continue
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Full review, first posted at www.fantasyliterature.com:


Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass gets a mixed verdict from me. The naval airships with their 3D battles in the mists were the highlight, reminiscent of Disney’s Treasure Planet (an animated film that I consider underrated). If I had read more naval fiction in my life I daresay it wouldn’t have struck me as quite so fresh but, not having yet made the time to read Captain Horatio Hornblower or Master and Commander, I really enjoyed the st
Merphy Napier
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, fantasy, four-stars

I LOVED reading this book. It was so easy to read from the very start. The characters were so easy to latch onto and the world, story, and unique elements with the cats - I just really loved it. Jim Butcher has a writing style that is so easy to read, while still bringing the elements that I want. Can't wait to read more
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For me the set of mind i have before starting a new book is very important, it kinda sets the pace of reading and my reaction with the words and the author's style , so for this book : from the 1st page i connected with it simply because it's a Jim Butcher novel, it's like buying or going to the movies and you're familiar with the leading actor/actress and s/he never/rarely disappoint, so awesomeness is pretty much guaranteed .
This book started with an unusual confrontation between a mother and
Mar 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
I thoroughly enjoyed The Aeronaut's Windlass, no doubt about it. It was a fast-paced, action-packed, imaginative bit of fiction with a lot of elements that appealed to me. Where Jim Butcher's steampunk(ish) adventure fell a bit short, however, was in terms of characterization and description.

The characters here are all genre archetypes, as if Butcher was just going down a list, making sure he checked all the boxes. That's not to say that some of them weren't interesting - I admired Captain Grimm
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-review, 2015, audio
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'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, bu
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk, fantasy, sci-fi
I've honestly not read that much steampunk, but those that I have read all seem to blur together with common airship themes, nobility and rank curs, Victorian style duels, and plain adventure. As an entire genre, it suffers in my mind as becoming old hat. Perhaps if this novel had come out a decade ago, I'd have been so damn impressed and enthused with the whole idea that I'd have enthusiastically endorsed it regardless of a decent story, especially if the characters were bright and delicious.

Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015

Jim Butcher boldly goes where other have have gone before. For his new epic fantasy series he borrows some fashionable trends and commercially succesful themes and turns them into something not exactly new, but defintely entertaining and fun to delve into. His secondary world is developed vertically instead of horizontally: huge towers, rising miles high into a perennially cloudy sky, each such "Spire" a sovereign nation whose survival depends on its commercial and military fleet of half-magical
Mike (the Paladin)
Ooookkkaaayyy.... I picked this up as soon as it was released, and it sat on my "currently reading shelf" for a while as I finished some library books.

I am a huge fan of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series. That series is not only my favorite Urban Fantasy series but also simply among my favorite books.

Here I can't be quite as enthusiastic as about his Dresden series. I would however (so far at least) say I like it maybe a bit better than his Codex Alera series.

Did i need to rate the various s
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2016/01/13/b...

Jim Butcher. I am a big fan. I will read any new Dresden Files book as soon as it comes out, and considering it’s one of only a few long-running urban fantasy series I’m actually all caught up with, I’d say I’m pretty invested and the character and stories. When I first heard about The Aeronaut’s Windlass in his new steampunkish series though, I was both excited and a little hesitant. I feel Butcher is at his best when h
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

Humans have ceased living on the surface of the world, (which is inhabited by any number of dangerous creatures) but instead live on spires, which are described as giant towers made of Spirestone. They travel to and from these spires via airships that are steam-driven, but seem mostly happy to stay on the spire they live on, unless they are one of the many merchants or privateers who own airships and thus spend most of their time in the air or part of the spire’s airfleet and thus also
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Actual review:
So I got around to reading the thing. It’s, um…I think fans of the specific genre would likely like it. I found it slow, with the world hazily imagined, the characters generic in different ways with some POVs more tedious than others, and the overall premise promising in an unfulfilled and unoriginal way. I would say my interest took a steep decline as soon as the plot proper started - the protagonists going off to investigate the source of recent weirdness; I’m never convinced eno
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Edited 10/30/15

I've heard Jim say that he enjoys goggles with steam-punk cosplay so much, that when he built the world for this series, he essentially started the worldbuilding around the question, "Why do the 'aeronauts' need goggles?" And yaknow, it worked out swell!

This book is in 3rd person limited to various characters’ perspective. Jim has been doing an excellent job of making the perspective/voice of the different characters unique and interesting.

As the first in the series, it starts ou
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Ok, now I'm officially in love with this book.

“Are we too late?” Gwendolyn asked. Bridget had no notion whatsoever how the prim little noblewoman managed to load so much arrogance and confidence into her seemingly fatuous tone.

“Honestly,” Rowl said. “What are you so concerned with, Littlemouse?”
“I’ve never . . .” Bridget said. “I’ve never really been . . . outside.”
“There are many things you have never done,” Rowl responded. “To be frightened of them is of no use to you.”

A human of significant
Althea Ann
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
First off, I have to admit that I'm not extremely familiar with Jim Butcher's writing. I know he's wildly popular for his 'paranormal investigation' series, and I've read a few of his short stories in that vein, but fantasy-adventure & steampunk as genres are more up my alley, so I thought that this would be an excellent place to get more familiar with the author.

It wasn't terrible. However, I have to honestly say that it felt dashed-off and not always well-thought-out. The biggest problem might
Reading a Jim Butcher book is always a labor of love. Sometimes there is a fair amount of laboring that accompanies the love (Dresden Files, books 1-4), and sometimes the love just comes rushing right in (Codex Alera ftw). The Aeronaut's Windlass, for me, falls more into the Dresden Files category. It has a fair amount of dense worldbuilding, but since it's integrated organically into the story (i.e. the author starts out assuming you already live in that world, and only gradually starts filling ...more
Sep 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I enjoyed this new steampunk fantasy series by Jim Butcher more than I enjoyed The Dresden Files, but I still did not love it. I've come to the conclusion that I just do not gel with something in Butcher's writing.

This was set in a world where humanity shelters in towering Spires from the ravages of the mysterious mist-shrouded surface world. The Spires stay connected with each other by virtue of the engineering and magical marvels that are the airships. They both keep the peace and enable trad
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is by the author of that great series, the Dresden Files, of which I have read every single book. So of course I had to try this new series too and I am very glad I did. Firstly it is nothing like the Dresden Files whatsoever. Most of the time I had to keep reminding myself that I was NOT reading a book by Brandon Sanderson, and that's a big compliment because he is one of my top five authors. I thought the world building was absolutely first class and what a marvelous, magical world it was ...more
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk, 2018
As a big fan of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series, I’ve been looking forward to reading this foray of his into the world of steampunk mixed with magic. And it was a lot of fun. I loved the idea of the steam airships cleverly using energy drawn from the ether and fed into crystals. I also liked the etherealists, Ferus and Folly who could utilize those currents for magic and healing.
I mostly liked the world building – the idea of everyone living in spires built onto a toxic world but I would hav
Carmel (Rabid Reads)
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads.

I finally caved, and started listening to Jim Butcher’s THE DRESDEN FILES in audio this year, so while I’m still busy playing catch-up on that series, I was excited to be able to get in on the ground floor of THE CINDER SPIRES. The humour was not along the same lines as what I’ve come to equate with this author, but the world-building and characters were, and two out of three ain’t bad! And, in all fairness, Rowl probably made this novel 3/3 for cat people, I just can’t
Mike (the Paladin)
Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ooookkkaaayyy.... I picked this up as soon as it was released, and it sat on my "currently reading shelf" for a while as I finished some library books.

I am a huge fan of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series. That series is not only my favorite Urban Fantasy series but also simply among my favorite books.

Here I can't be quite as enthusiastic as about his Dresden series. I would however (so far at least) say I like it maybe a bit better than his Codex Alera series.

Did i need to rate the various s
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
A new series from butcher which shows how good a writer he has come.

It does suffer with first book in a series problems, like not enough world building and at the time been not enough is known about the characters and their histories, in other words we dont know what makes them kick.

I did enjoy this book, a slow start but the last 200 pages is non stop action which I couldnt put it down. So I ended up read that section in about 3 hours of non stop reading.

recommended for fantasy fans. And fantas
I ended up being quite fond of this book, to the point where I stayed up an extra two hours past my bedtime to finish it. It's a solid steampunk fantasy book--nothing revolutionary, just *fun*, and I can see great potential in future books of the series.

Basically, The Aeronaut's Windlass takes place in a world where humanity lives in outrageously tall structures called Spires, which were built thousands and thousands of years before, and whose origins are shrouded. The surface of the planet (Ear
Hannah Greendale
The rate at which characters are introduced, along with Houses, tribes, spires, and societal ranks is enough to make one's head spin. Where is the exposition? Why are the character descriptions so late in coming? Where is the heart and charming character development usually found in Jim Butcher's novels?

A somewhat confusing beginning. "We'll rake their web hard, force them down, drop a buoy, and let Rook go after them." Huh? "The blast had also smashed two of her ventral planes to splinters, an
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I'm so easily pleased... This was written by Jim Butcher and it had warrior cats in it that can speak. I mean, honestly, what else can a hungover reader want in a bit of light entertainment?

No, it's not the same as his Codex series or the Dresden one. Yet it still has some of the snark and a much more lovable set of characters. In any case, being a crazy cat person, Butcher could probably have taken out all the humans and i'd still have enjoyed it as much. It's a fun read: some fightin
Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity. Within their halls, the ruling aristocratic houses develop scientific marvels, foster trade alliances, and maintain fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Jim Butcher is one of my favorite authors and I thoroughly enjoyed the Aeronaut's Windlass. The world is interesting; a great steampunk and traditional fantasy mix, and I am looking forward to more world building and character development in the next books in the series. The characters
Well, that was disappointing. I don't even really know what the plot was. I just liked the cat... ...more
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was incredibly excited to get a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. I absolutely adore Butcher’s Dresden Files. I also read the Codex Alera series and thought it decent. This book has more of a steampunk feel to it...and it was incredibly disappointing and boring. I finally gave up reading it 55% of the way through.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship the Predator, his ship has taken heavy damage during an encounter with another ship. Despite being forced out of Spire Albion’s a
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Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files, the Codex Alera, and a new steampunk series, the Cinder Spires. His resume includes a laundry list of skills which were useful a couple of centuries ago, and he plays guitar quite badly. An avid gamer, he plays tabletop games in varying systems, a variety of video games on PC and console, and LARPs whenever he can make time for it. Jim currently resi ...more

Other books in the series

The Cinder Spires (2 books)
  • The Olympian Affair (The Cinder Spires, #2)

Articles featuring this book

Steampunk, cosplay, and cats! The Dresden Files author chats about The Aeronaut's Windlass, first in a new series packed with action and...
85 likes · 28 comments
“The heart of democracy is violence, Miss Tagwynn,” Esterbrook said. “In order to decide what to do, we take a count of everyone for and against it, and then do whatever the larger side wishes to do. We’re having a symbolic battle, its outcome decided by simple numbers. It saves us time and no end of trouble counting actual bodies—but don’t mistake it for anything but ritualized violence. And every few years, if the person we elected doesn’t do the job we wanted, we vote him out of office—we symbolically behead him and replace him with someone else. Again, without the actual pain and bloodshed, but acting out the ritual of violence nonetheless. It’s actually a very practical way of getting things done.” 52 likes
“Each creature had something it excelled at, he supposed. Humans could manage knots easily, and cats could do everything else.” 34 likes
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