Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Court of the Air (Jackelian, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Court of the Air (Jackelian, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Court of the Air

(Jackelian #1)

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  3,862 ratings  ·  602 reviews
When Molly Templar witnesses a brutal murder at the brothel she has just been apprenticed to, her first instinct is to return to the poorhouse where she grew up. But there she finds her fellow orphans butchered, and it slowly dawns on her that she was in fact the real target of the attack. For Molly carries a secret deep in her blood, a secret that marks her out for destru ...more
Paperback, 582 pages
Published September 3rd 2007 by HarperVoyager (first published 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Court of the Air, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Court of the Air

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Nov 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Have you ever been to an orgy?

They can be fun if you approach them correctly. You need to find a small section of the orgy and focus on that spot. Think about your pleasure first and don’t be tempted into straying from the spot you’ve chosen. But if you are unable to find your spot, if you are unable to focus your sexual energy in that spot, you are more likely to have an overwhelming and, ultimately, unfulfilling experience.

You'll see beauty, you'll feel pleasure, you'll probably even have an o
Dan Schwent
Jul 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk
Oliver Brooks, a boy altered by the feymist, has his life turned upside down when his uncle is killed and he's framed for murder. Molly Templar escapes murder at the brothel where she was being trained, only to find her orphanage home the scene of a massacre and quickly figures out she was the real target. What bonds these two orphans together and what does the mysterious Court of the Air have to do with things?

Court of the Air was definitely worth my seven bucks. It's full of action and twists.
Mar 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was a book with a lot of potential. Interesting concept, with some nods to Dr. Who, but the author left way too much up to the reader. I can't believe I'm saying this, but this book needed more exposition. Slang that was almost indecipherable, barely there descriptions of the characters, people, environment, etc. I like to have a good visual image while I read, and this book simply did not provide that. How can I enjoy an escape when I can't imagine what anything looks like? If the author r ...more
Mar 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, fantasy
This book has its flaws. It's a crazy mass of characters and governments and shadow governments and shadow gods - there are so many forces at work throughout these 600 pages that I wished I had an eBook reader with a search function so I could go back and remind myself how it all fit together. But it was a hell of a ride, and I found myself reluctant to finish it because I wasn't quite ready to be done with it.

Unlike with other sprawling, epic stories, I didn't find myself emotionally attached t
Have you ever been stalked by book? When I was in Toronto earlier this summer, I swear The Court of the Air was stalking me. It was in the first bookstore I entered; it had a prominent position at every book store. I finally decided to get it once I got home, after all Borders was having a "buy four, get one free" sale, and I was getting the four Kitty Norville books I didn't have. Sadly, despite the stalking and Hunt's very cool website*, I didn't like the book. In fact, I couldn't even finish ...more
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
There is really nothing I can add to a review about this book that 90% of these reviews don't already say. I am very glad that pretty much everyone else has been as frustrated with this book as I have. I literally have been slogging through it for weeks now, barely reading a page at a time before I get bored. And considering my reading speed is enough to finish the entire Hyperion quartet in about a week and a half, that is bad. Bad bad bad.

In fact, I think reading too fast may be part of the pr
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After two hundred pages into the book, I just couldn't bring myself to finish it. While Stephen Hunt's worldbuilding is very interesting, all of his characters are completely flat. Even the two main characters of the book seem just like cookie-cutter archetypes. Two orphans with a special, mysterious destiny and absolutely zero character flaws? Yawn! Not only do they not have any flaws, but these orphans don't seem to actually contribute anything useful either. They drift around the novel gettin ...more
Sep 01, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: enemies
I got to page 172 before deciding against finishing this story. The author crams many different ideas into this steampunk-fantasy-mashup of a tale. The two main characters are orphans. Molly Templar gets placed by the orphanage into prostitution, but her very first john turns out to be an assassin. She escapes but we don't know much about who the assassin is, who he works for, or why Molly would be targeted. By page 172 I still don't know.

Then there's Oliver. When he was very young he and his pa
May 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I would say this book along with book 2 by Hunt set in the same world are now two of my new favorites. Yes- there are tons of sub-plots, slang and characters parading together through this novel, and I love it! I guess from reading the reviews that some readers got frustrated and gave it a lower rating based on the notion that they thought too much was going on at once and couldn't keep up. I do not understand this problem. Other readers said that the author left too much up to the reader; which ...more
Sep 27, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Um dia vou ser capaz de me mentalizar que esta vida é demasiado curta para perder tempo com maus livros. Ainda não foi desta.

'A Corte do Ar' foi-me emprestado pelo meu namorado, que adquiriu o livro a um preço relativamente baixo. No entanto, na minha opinião, um só cêntimo dado por este livro seria desperdiçar dinheiro.

Então e porquê?

Ora bem, imaginem que querem fazer um bolo com as vossas frutas preferidas? Pegam nas frutas, que são várias, cortam aos pedaços e deitam numa taça. Juntam também
May 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steampunk
I just finished my second read of this one. And wow. I loved it.

This book has everything, which in all fairness is the primary complaint from its critics. Steammen, airships, steam subs (only mentioned in passing), magic, politics, clear heroes, villians, and everyone in between.

There are only two things that I would change, Mr. Hunt needs to add some maps and an appendix/character list.
Mar 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novels
I'm no stranger to long books, fantasy, or science fiction, but this huge mess of ideas grew increasingly tiresome for me the further I got into it. Many of the tropes for a good adventure are there: orphans with curious untapped powers who may be able to save the world, kingdoms in conflict, people who are born with magic powers, an aeronautical navy, the steampunkish computer/robot noble "steammen", assassins, ancient artifacts, elder gods and on and on and on. And that's really the problem wi ...more
Sep 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's what's wrong with The Court of the Air

- It's a little to obvious the author's read the Bas Lag books.
- He makes puns off of things that are in our world. This would be okay if it felt like the world of the book and our world were linked in some solid way, or if this were a kind of satire disguised as fantasy like Pratchett does, or if it were some kind of "the ages pass and each is of the other" scenario where this is some future or past us, but none of that ever comes through, so the onl
Oct 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I can't finish this. I've been "reading" it for months now, a couple of pages at a time, but now I give up. I don't care about any of the characters - which I'd have thought impossible, seeing as one of the protagonists is an orphan running from her killers - but there you have it. The world building is hasty and haphazard, the story, which is supposed to be thrilling, is boring, and the characters are...meh, as the damn kids today would say. Shame, really. I love steampunk. I wanted to like thi ...more
Ori Fienberg
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
I'll admit; I was browsing through the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section of the ICPL and I picked up this book mostly because the cover looked beautiful. That was a mistake I'd like to say I won't make again, but I probably will.

Jay Lake, author of the Mainspring says: "If Charles Dickens and Jack Vance had ever collaborated, they might have written this book... The Court of Air is a collision between English letters and the hard-edged vision of grunge fantasy." Thanks Jay, you've just ensured I will never
Aug 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
Trashy, steampunk fantasy kitchen-sink. This would make a pretty decent thing to read at the beach and that is no small accomplishment, but overall it kind of annoyed me. There were some rather clumsy bits of writing, awkward exposition, things appearing when they were convenient and disappearing when they weren't, the main characters were twinked out general issue orphans who weren't particularly interesting and were drafted by assorted ancient powers and deus ex machinae (excuse me, the "Hexma ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I tried, I really did, but... I just couldt like it.
Its just, to much... to much of everything, to many characters, to much weirdness, to many things to explain... just to much.
The main idea was good, but for me, didnt really worked.
Dec 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars
Já há algum tempo que queria ler este livro por causa do ambiente steampunk onde se desenvolve a história.

"A Corte do Ar" conta a história de dois jovens, Molly Templar e Oliver Brooks, cada qual com a sua história de vida. Molly vive num orfanato em Ferromédio, uma cidade do estado de Laborterra. Oliver vive numa pensão, com o seu tio e a empregada deste.
O mundo dos jovens está prestes a mudar quando coisas estranhas começam a acontecer à volta deles. Depressa esses acontecimentos provam estar

Postado em


Nessa aventura steampunk de Stephen Hunt, ele nos apresenta a Molly, uma órfã que carrega em seu sangue um segredo que a torna alvo de inimigos do Estado. Já Oliver, outro órfão, é acusado de assassinato do seu único parente, seu tio, e precisa fugir para salvar sua vida. Logo, os dois se juntam para lutar contra um antigo poder que parecia derrotado havia milênios.

Amantes do Steampunk tremam com essa versão purista do gênero! Sim, sim,
Mark Howell
Many people have made comments about how the numberous characters, organizations, etc make the book hard to follow...I don't find that to be true.
That being said, however, the argument that the characters seem somewhat shallow and archetypal, and don't really engage the reader's interest, that one's dead-on. Hell, if it hadn't mentioned on the back cover synopsis that the two main characters were the orphan kids, you probably wouldn't have a clue who the main characters were supposed to be. Hunt
Jul 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk, fantasy
I've been meaning to pick up The Court of the Air for a long time. Can't remember how Stephen Hunt got on my radar, but he's been sort of hanging around there for a while, so I grabbed this from the library on one of my recent trips there. I'm not entirely sure I want to read the sequel: The Court of the Air has some astonishing ideas, and some really great bits, and even some characters I found interesting, but it got tangled up in itself. The writing is competent enough but the planning leaves ...more
Ross Kitson
Nov 14, 2012 rated it liked it
This was a book that elicited conflicting feelings in me. The premise is great: a Steampunk alternate world with magical fantasy tossed in. Two orphans, both with evident potential and secrets, are chased through the environs allowing us a progressive discovery of the bizarre and intricate world.
Yet it's chaotic. There is a deluge of ideas, that take most of the book to gain substance. The writing is variable, and the characterisation feels random. The two MCs don't always resonate, particularly
May 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books
Two kids of magic, a lot of blood, a lot of politics, steam driven machines, no black and white scheme. No read for a rainy Saturday afternoon.

I'm impressed and I will definitely read the sequels.

In the meantime I could convince my nearly 17 years old daughter to read it.
I bought this book only after having bought his second book, The Kingdom Beyond the Waves, when several reviewers on Goodreads commented that the second book, though not a direct sequel to the first, would have made more sense had they already read The Court of the Air. They are steampunk fantasy adventure novels and The Kingdom of the Waves drew me in with its ocean-y cover art featuring a submarine and diver, a sting ray, a turtle, and a wrecked ship at the bottom of the ocean. Sounds good, ri ...more
Brett's Books
Aug 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
This novel started out engrossingly, introduces many characters, races, settings, with no exposition; which initially draws the reader in. However, the author never quits introducing more and more stuff, with the already introduced items are left undeveloped. I have three other complaints. The author is too preachy, especially about faith, he has some amorphous idea that being subservient to any "idea" be a religious faith, political ideology or cause is BAD; only those cheeky relativistic indep ...more
Sep 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: spec-fic
c2007. Confused! Not only am I confused, but I think the plot and target market has also been confused. The cover of the hard back from the library is indicative of a YA book but the content certainly isn't. The protagonists are young but what they say, do and think are not consistent with their ages. After the first couple of pages, I did not think I was going to like the book then it started to get really good and then, for me, it kind of went downhill into a maelstrom of ideas, plot lines, ch ...more
Sep 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
It’s a brilliantly fast 600 pages. It’s science fiction…I guess? The lines delineating how things like this are classified are fairly blurry. It’s got sci fi elements, and adventure elements, and buddy story elements, and gods and self creating steam driven metal entities, it’s good fun. I highly recommend it.

I wandered around with a book in front of me for a day and a half. I was teaching my son geography and while he was labeling things, I was reading furiously. I just couldn’t put it down. I
Aug 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: steampunk lovers
Shelves: fantasy, non-us
What I really wanted while I was reading this book was for it to suddenly turn into a New Crobuzon story by China Miéville. In fact, given how much his eclectic steampunk-and-sorcery world feels like Bas-Lag, I bet Stephen Hunt reads and likes Miéville's work at least as much as I do. But unfortunately, he's not Miéville, and he's not completely himself yet, either. Still, The Court of the Air held my attention and interest (for the most part), and while the characters weren't the most interesti ...more
Alexis Hall
Brought to you courtesy of Reading Project 2015.

I should unshelve this because I can't remember a damn thing about it except:

1. It is vaguely steampunk
2. It is very long
3. It has a hot air balloon on the cover (which is why I bought it).

However if I have to re-add it to my TBR I know I will never read it (see 2.) and I may, in fact, do harm to myself.

I definitely read it however. It just no made no impression on me whatsoever.

And now it sits on my actual shelves looking dusty and pissed off.

Jul 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sffantasy
I have no idea what to think of this book. Overall, I think it is very deeply flawed and uneven on a number of levels. On the other hand, I really did enjoy it, and I think the setting is totally fascinating and want to know more. I guess I'll go in the middle and give it 3 stars, but I will probably also read more by the author.

PS, the mass market paperback edition of this has one of the most gorgeous covers I have ever seen and is in fact 90% of the reason I bought it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Does "The Court of the Air" get better? 9 37 May 19, 2014 02:18AM  
  • The Horns of Ruin
  • Whitechapel Gods
  • Mainspring (Clockwork Earth #1)
  • The Bookman (The Bookman Histories, #1)
  • The Light Ages (The Aether Universe, #1)
  • The Affinity Bridge (Newbury and Hobbes, #1)
  • The Falling Machine (The Society of Steam, #1)
  • Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded (Steampunk, #2)
  • Ganymede (The Clockwork Century, #3)
  • The Clockwork Man
  • New Amsterdam (New Amsterdam, #1)
  • Clockwork Heart (Clockwork Heart, #1)
  • Morlock Night
  • The Warlord of the Air (Oswald Bastable, #1)
  • The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne, #1)
  • The Doomsday Vault (Clockwork Empire #1)
  • The Half-Made World (The Half-Made World, #1)
  • The Alchemy of Stone
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Stephen Hunt is a British writer living in London. His first fantasy novel, For the Crown and the Dragon, was published in 1994, and introduced a young officer, Taliesin, fighting for the Queen of England in a Napoleonic period alternative reality where the wars of Europe we

Other books in the series

Jackelian (6 books)
  • The Kingdom Beyond the Waves (Jackelian, #2)
  • The Rise of the Iron Moon (Jackelian, #3)
  • Secrets of the Fire Sea (Jackelian, #4)
  • Jack Cloudie (Jackelian, #5)
  • From the Deep of the Dark (Jackelian, #6)
“Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” 161 likes
“All I have left is my anger at the foolishness of the world. The unnecessary cruelties, the pomposity and vanity of people who should know better. Most of the time I just want to shake some sense into the world.” 14 likes
More quotes…