Chris Comerford's Reviews > The Aeronaut's Windlass

The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher
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it was ok

I'll admit, I didn't finish this. I got to the halfway point and had to stop. It was not my thing at all.

That's not to say it's a bad book; it's an ok book. It's a decently-wrtten book. It's an interesting world that's depicted in this book. But it's not my kind of book.

That's probably a record for the number of times I've said 'book' in one paragraph.

It's kinda hard to drum up a strong reaction either way to The Aeronaut's Windlass. Characters are ok, the setting's pretty interesting and the plot - such as it is - feels alright. It just doesn't do much with what it has. I'm honestly not sure where all these glowing reviews of "BUTCHER'S BEST WORK EVER" are emerging from, because to my mind it's not that great.

It's decent steampunk, sub-par Butcher, and not much else. Nothing really engages me here. Our main cast of characters like Grimm - the roguish pirate captain formerly of the Navy - Gwen - the fiery-headed young lady of 'do not screw around with' persuasion - and Bridget - the heir to a disgraced House who has an inexplicable and not well-evident liking for a shirtless guy she met once - are one-note and don't expand the way some of Butcher's other characters have (and before you start counterpointing with "Well, he's had 15 books to flesh them out", I cared a hell of a lot more for Murphy, Bob and Harry himself across the pages of the first book than I did for any of the protagonists here).

The setting's an intriguing mix of steampunk and post-apocalypse but isn't fleshed out much beyond a few cursory locations and some oblique mentions to "the surface". It needed to feel more lived in, and more like a world than a backdrop.

I'm also convinced the dialogue was written as if to evoke British steampunk in terms of how circuitous it is. Characters converse in the kind of sesquipedalian loquaciousness that characters of a Victorian period piece might engage in, and it gets irritating really fast.

It's a shame, because Butcher had the potential to launch into a really excellent, gripping and engaging series, given he's had so long to refine his craft and write stories and characters that get me emotionally invested from the word go. The Aeronaut's Windlass didn't come close to the initial grab of Dresden Files or any other good fantasy series I've read recently. Disappointing more than outright bad; if you're into steampunk and light, fluffy characterisations (in terms of depth rather than demeanour) then maybe you'll dig it. I didn't.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm sure some rabid fans will be waiting to put poison in my coffee for speaking out.

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Reading Progress

September 30, 2015 – Started Reading
September 30, 2015 – Shelved
October 1, 2015 –
page 90
October 3, 2015 –
page 265
42.06% ""Death is light as a feather, duty heavier than a Spire." I see what you did there, Butcher."
October 5, 2015 –
page 315
October 7, 2015 – Finished Reading

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