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By Fire Above

(Signal Airship #2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  455 ratings  ·  101 reviews
"All's fair in love and war," according to airship captain Josette Dupre, until her hometown becomes occupied by the enemy and her mother a prisoner of war. Then it becomes, "Nothing's fair except bombing those Vins to high hell."

Before she can rescue her town, however, Josette must maneuver her way through the nest of overstuffed vipers that make up the nation's military
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Tor Books
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  455 ratings  ·  101 reviews

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I confess I can never remember which is starboard, aft, or port on a ship or airship, and thankfully it's not critical for enjoying this second book which picks up shortly after the end of book one. Josette Dupre must spend weeks in pointless meetings with various aristocrats stroking their egos in an effort to get her ship repaired and resupplied, and to get the approval to retake Durham. Josette has Bernat and his older brother Roland to help her not flub up these meetings. And Josette gets to ...more
In a world where technological advancements could mean life or death, strong woman and analytical thinkers prevale. War, political machinations and greed are prevalent so inventions, and not the magical sort, are what makes this world turn. This is not your typical magically enhanced steampunk but mechanical and scientific in nature.

Bennis is extremely descriptive and imaginative in naming and describing specific pieces of the Airship, making it a very slow start. But, this one of those stories
Beth Cato
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, 2018, steampunk
The second book in Bennis's Signal Airship series is even stronger than the first book, beginning at a fast clip that continues all the way through. What I love about these books is that they approach steampunk from a military standpoint; even with some fantastical elements, the airships feel realistic and the technological advantages and disadvantages of the vessels play a major role throughout.

By Fire Above isn't all about battle, though. Courtly political machinations also play a vital part--
Marta Cox
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-reviews, netgalley
A slow start but a cracking finish as the author catches up with Josette and Bernat. I won’t lie I find Josette cold and lacking in emotion at times but as a woman making huge strides in what has been traditionally a male environment I do understand just why she might be cautious. This book sees her struggling to ‘save’ her mother and captured home town but there are political hoops to jump through first.
Betnat is a character that is still evolving and in this story his somewhat foppish, dandy l
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, net-galley
Anyone who enjoyed The Guns Above, the first in the Signal Airship series, will enjoy this second installment. The wit and, though neither of them would ever admit it, affection between Josette and Bernat continues, the escapades both military and civilian are all there, plus airships, obviously. Josette and Bernat both get some great character development. Josette deals with how love makes people act, Bernat's polish and annoying noble habits fade the more he's exposed to the citizenry. Ensign ...more
Marta Cox
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews, netgalley
A slow start but an amazing finish.
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

By Fire Above is the direct sequel to last year’s absolutely awesome The Guns Above. If you enjoy your SF with a hint of steampunk, really snappy dialog and fantastic kick-ass heroines, The Guns Above might just be your jam. It certainly was mine.

That this is a direct sequel to the first book is a zeppelin-sized hint that this book makes no sense whatsoever without having read the first book first. Not only is that where the situation is setup, but it’s als
[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.]
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
These are just the most delightful books ever.
Janet Martin
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific adventure fantasy--no magic, just a world in which technology is still locked in steam powered airships, muskets, and hand to hand combat. Great female protagonist, politics, hints of romance and lots of action. A terrific read
Barb in Maryland
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-f-goodies
3.5 stars.
The blurb is a good one--check it out.
Our poor airship captain, Josette Dupre, is such a fish out of water when it comes to court politics and etiquette. All she really wants to do is get back to her airship Mistral and her crew and then fight the Vins. Court does have one compensation, however, in the person of Lord Bernat's older brother Roland. A good bit of humor develops as Bernie keeps trying to warn Josette away from Roland, to no avail.
Captain Dupre finally gets her wish--order
Chris Bauer
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The second book in Robyn Bennis' Signal Airship series "By Fire Above" is every bit as good as the first.

As a note, I'd HIGHLY recommend starting with that book before reading "By Fire Above" The book was thoroughly enjoyable as a stand-alone novel, but there were numerous scenes in which prior events are referenced and for the full enjoyment of it, one should be aware of that chronology.

I loved this book for the same reasons I enjoyed the first.
- unique worldbuilding
- excellent research and "i
Margaret Fisk
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over

I enjoyed the first novel in this steampunk series, and By Fire Above offers an interesting follow. While it does not repeat the situations of the first, it is both true to the feel and holds similar themes. The characters retain their personalities, even Bernie who continues to be an amusing idiot at times but an endearing one. It’s rife with dangerous battles and perilous escapades. In fact, you’re tossed into the thick of it from the start with the M
Scott Marlowe (Out of this World Reviews)


*** This review originally appeared on Out of this World Reviews. ***

Sometimes you want a book to deliver on all fronts: strong characters, engaging story, gripping action, and a world that is both fantastic but also almost believable. I’m happy to say that By Fire Above, the second book in the Signal Airships series by Robyn Bennis, is all of these things. Taking place soon after events in the first novel, The Guns Above, we find our hard as nails airship captain and her crew taking
Online Eccentric Librarian
More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog

This is shaping up to be one heck of a great series. Author Bennis has merged the horrors of the Napoleonic war with steampunk to create a grounded, brutal, but wonderfully readable story. At its heart, it's the witty bon mots constantly thrown about by leads Josette and Bernat that make this so appealing. But there are great side characters as well - from Lieutenant Kember to Bernat's brother Roland - who add so much
H. P.
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-sf
Bennis wrote one of my favorite books last year with The Guns Above. By Fire Above may not quite reach those same lofty heights, but it is one h*ck of a sequel. As before, By Fire Above is one equal part terrific action set pieces, pure hilarity, and deep military SF that is no more leery of meditating on duty and honor than it is of a little blood and thunder.

Fresh off the explosive events of the first book, Josette has a newfound fame as an airship captain and a very badly damaged airship. Rat
Online Eccentric Librarian
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steampunk, fantasy, arc
More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog

This is shaping up to be one heck of a great series. Author Bennis has merged the horrors of the Napoleonic war with steampunk to create a grounded, brutal, but wonderfully readable story. At its heart, it’s the witty bon mots constantly thrown about by leads Josette and Bernat that make this so appealing. But there are great side characters as well – from Lieutenant Kember to Bernat’s brother Roland – who add so much
Nick Brett
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A return to a great cast of characters and entertaining adventure. I was a big fan of the first book and was delighted to see the next one had finally landed before an eager readership. You need to read the first one first to fully enjoy this, but in essence to countries are at war and our focus is on an airship, it’s crew and rather feisty female captain. After a slightly slow start with a tad too much relationship, we move to the politics of a rather amusingly formal and detached aristocracy w ...more
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
3.5 stars

Josette and crew head to the capital for some much needed rest and refitting, but they find that both are in short supply. Between hoarding quartermasters, skyrocketing supply prices and oblivious nobles, Josette has her work cut out for her if she wants to push the army towards retaking Durum.

While I loved the first book's steampunk nature and its go-go-go plot, this installation in the signal airship series took a while to find its rhythm. The crew spends an eternity in Kuchin galliva
Deborah Ross
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In this sequel to The Guns Above, Robyn Bemis continues the steampunk adventures of a woman airship captain. Once again, Josette Dupree, captain of His Majesty’s Signal Airship Mistral, along with her intrepid crew and not-so-intrepid supercargo, aristocrat Lord Bernat Hinkal, have been given an impossible mission: with glamorous but woefully inadequate repairs to the airship, she is to play a largely ceremonial role at the capital city. None of the real damage the airship sustained in the last ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm really enjoying this alt-military fantasy series, even though I tend to be a bit lukewarm about steampunk in general. Josette's voice carries the narrative for me, she's funny and sarcastic, but true to herself (and dedicated to her ship!). Also loving the secondary characters.

Fingers crossed there's a sequel!
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Josette is just as bad-ass and Bernat is still snarky but is developing actual depths.
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
She leaned over and said, “We might die in a minute, Bernie. Anything left to say?”

He spent a few moments staring contemplatively into the lightning-lit clouds. Finally, he said, “I’m not the slightest bit sorry I slept with your mother.”

- from the uncorrected proof of By Fire Above

You can see my full review (with gifs!) here.

So Robyn Bennis’s debut The Guns Above was one of the most fun books I’d read in a while - nothing but nonstop steampunk airship battles punctuated by witty banter from lo
Stevie Carroll
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

One aspect of the first book in this series that I really appreciated was the way in which the two main characters were able to alternately work together and be at odds with each other without any suggestion of unrequited sexual tension on either of their parts. Bernat has his affairs – usually with older women – while Josette is mostly too busy with her new command to take much romantic interest in anyone, even if she does object to one o
Shane Jardine
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don’t even know where to start with this review, I loved The Guns Above last year so I was pretty excited to receive this book in the mail a few weeks ago and was honestly a little surprised by how much it exceeded my expectations. By Fire Above by Robyn Bennis was a fast-paced adventure full of nearly nonstop action and adventure that I was unable to put down once I had started reading. I’m normally not a huge fan of military fiction but this is the second piece of military fiction by Robyn B ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fun, action-filled adventure with airships, undercover missions and snark.
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved The Guns Above and was excited when By Fire Above came out. While I enjoyed the book I felt it was not up to the standard set by book one. This time Josette Dupre spends more time on the ground than in the air. First it is politics, something that she fails at in spite of the help Lord Bernat and his older brother give her. All of this was rather slow and while interesting I just kept wanting Josette back in the air. The real action did not start until the very last part of the book. The ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yeah yeah, I know, I never finish the books I shelve as currently-reading. But anyways.
This was much more to my liking than the first one, chiefly because slightly more emotions and drama got involved ;). Not that the first one was bad at all - it just seemed more traditional in the sense of a military fiction series - i.e. battle-focused. This one, welp, things got interesting real quick.
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Continues in the same manner as the first one with more sass and more inter-character niggle. The poor airship and her crew get chunks blown out of each them while we encounter a first officer who should look up the term "fragging" in the dictionary. Lots of fun, plenty of musket fire, and you can choose your crew but not your family. ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm really enjoying these books. The characters play the role of stereotypical artistocrat and hardworking peasant; however, they interact and develop in such a lovely way. Characters that should feel phony, are so vibrant. Perhaps I am merely charmed by the story, and am overlooking its faults.

If you enjoyed the first book, you will enjoy this book as well.

IMO. Decent female lead overthrowing sexist norms, without being too in your face about it.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
Josette is the captain of the airship Mistral, and after the events of THE GUNS ABOVE, she’s made enough of a name for herself that she doesn’t have to worry about the powers-that-be of taking her ship away from her. But the war with the Vins continues to rage, and making a name for oneself means that her and her crew are thrown once again into the fray to fight for Garnia.
But the scariest thing Josette will do is navigate the Garnian royal court.

You see, Josette may be a woman, but she’s also h
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Signal Airship (2 books)
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