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The Aeronaut's Windlass (The Cinder Spires, #1)
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BotM Discussion - SCI-FI > The Aeronaut's Windlass / Overall Discussion / **SPOILERS**

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Greg | 1022 comments Started reading this on the 1st and about 100 pages in - a bit silly sometimes but highly enjoyable so far.

I love the hulking vat-girl Bridget Tagwynn and her aggressive talking cat! :)


Andrew The cat was my favorite part of the book by far.


Greg | 1022 comments Andrew wrote: "The cat was my favorite part of the book by far."

:)


message 4: by Roger, Knight Radiant (new) - rated it 4 stars

Roger | 1988 comments Mod
I liked the cat's attitude but the attempts at humor with him fell flat to me.


Andrew I felt the humor fell flat everywhere but the cat lol


Efrat | 90 comments This was a fun read! The "physics" of the ships was very interesting, the crystals, steem and wind combains. I adore the cat... that's exacly how my cat whould have talk. The disregarding contast was especially funny and true.
There is only one thing that didn't work well, I think. It's the duel. The only reason for Bridget and Gwen to talk is the duel, and that happens just becouse of Bridget insulting some high class prick. She never did this anywhere else in the book, so it's feels forced to me.


message 7: by Greg (last edited Jun 03, 2016 10:36PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Efrat wrote: "This was a fun read! The "physics" of the ships was very interesting, the crystals, steem and wind combains. I adore the cat... that's exacly how my cat whould have talk. The disregarding contast w..."

I agree with you Efrat - it's a fun read, at least so far! But I don't know if I feel the same way about the duel - I'm only 150 pages in, but Bridget seems universally blunt to me, likeable but not tactful at all. It seems fairly consistent.

It's silly how the duel comes up of course, but much of the book comes across that way to me - a bit silly but enjoyable regardless


Fannie D'Ascola | 396 comments Only a few pages left. It was my first book by Butcher and I like it so far. A bit too much into battles for me, but I really like every moments with the cat.


message 9: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica | 425 comments Ok, now I'm looking forward to getting to the cat portions. So far, the haughty dialogue is kind of annoying to me. I've only just started it though, so maybe it tapers off a bit?


message 10: by Greg (last edited Jun 04, 2016 11:13AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Raven Rebecca wrote: "I'm about 110 pages in. So far, it's just ok. I don't hate it, but I'm certainly not in a page turning frenzy. Occasionally I catch myself wondering what's happening in my other books. Not a great ..."

I only read one of the Dresden Files books Raven, but I remember it being darker and less silly, still some humor but a less silly humor. The tone I think is quite different.


Efrat | 90 comments Greg,

Oh, that's good. Maybe she improves after the begining, so I forgat how she was.



message 12: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Efrat wrote: "Greg,

Oh, that's good. Maybe she improves after the begining, so I forgat how she was."


:) I'm looking forward to getting further.
Glad you enjoyed the book Efrat! I'm enjoying it too!


message 13: by Emma (new) - rated it 3 stars

Emma | 51 comments I found this book only ok. I much prefer the Dresden files. I think Jim Butcher does urban fantasy really well.


Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments I'm just up to chapter six so I'm skipping the above posts for now. I much prefer the parts with Captain Grimm to the adolescent goings on with Gwen, Bridget, and Benedict. I hope that part of the story "grows up" soon. The talking cat is a little too cutesy for me.


message 15: by Greg (last edited Jun 04, 2016 03:18PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Veronica wrote: "I'm just up to chapter six so I'm skipping the above posts for now. I much prefer the parts with Captain Grimm to the adolescent goings on with Gwen, Bridget, and Benedict. I hope that part of the ..."

Veronica and Emma, this book definitely has more of a YA feel than the Dresden Files book I read. I still like it, but it's definitely softer edged so far.


message 16: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments A minor pet peeve. I hate how authors are now putting periods after every word to express emphasis. Like here in Chapter 22, "Guard. Your. Tongue." The first time I saw someone do this in a magazine, I thought it was clever, but now, especially in books, it feels gimmicky.

If they're going for emphasis, I'd prefer something more traditional like italics or even better some description in the text that made me feel it rather than this distracting gimmick. Nothing against Butcher. This is the third contemporary book (and third author) in a couple months that I've seen use this (to me annoying) technique.


message 17: by Greg (last edited Jun 05, 2016 10:13AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Raven Rebecca wrote: "Raven Rebecca wrote: "I've made it much further than expected today, up to chapter 38. Either I've become accustomed to the silliness, or the silliness has been reigned in a bit. Even though it's s..."

Haha, no problem Raven.

And I don't mind the periods thing in posts and magazines and off-the-cuff things like that (I use ellipses and punctuation very creatively in my posts!) - I'm just getting tired of it in books. And I know what you mean about the blinking. :)

I think for me the YA feel comes from the etherialists' outlandish clothes, the talking cats, some of the exaggerated personalities. I like the book, but I do get that feel too. I don't remember getting that feel from the Dresden Files book I read - I think Butcher is deliberately giving this series a lighter tone than the Dresden Files series.


message 18: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Catelli | 1170 comments Greg wrote: "A minor pet peeve. I hate how authors are now putting periods after every word to express emphasis. Like here in Chapter 22, "Guard. Your. Tongue." The first time I saw someone do this in a magazin..."

But it's not just emphasis. It's indicating that they are enunciating each word separately and distinctly, as if they were in different sentences. Italics would just mean emphasis.


message 19: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Mary wrote: "But it's not just emphasis. It's indicating that they are enunciating each word separately and distinctly, as if they were in different sentences. Italics would just mean emphasis. ..."

I do understand that, but I never saw this weird technique until recently, and now, I see it all the time. I guess authors used to just say "enunciating every word" or something along those lines, some kind of vivid descriptive phrase that flowed normally and made me picture it.

Maybe it's just me - I just hate the weird misused periods in writing that's not off the cuff but meant to last. It just looks cheesy on the page to me. Oh well, no big deal. Maybe it'll stick and fifty years from now it'll be completely standard. Who knows. I'll get over it.


Fannie D'Ascola | 396 comments Just finished the book. I like it okay and will try to find other books by Butcher. As previously said, the things that bother me the most was the lenghty description of every battles.


message 21: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica | 425 comments Greg wrote: "A minor pet peeve. I hate how authors are now putting periods after every word to express emphasis. Like here in Chapter 22, "Guard. Your. Tongue." The first time I saw someone do this in a magazin..."


I'm.with.you.on.this.Greg. I have a friend that uses this in her texts frequently, and it always makes me laugh, but I don't really think its appropriate in a book. I think gimmicky and cheesy sums it up quite well!


message 22: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica | 425 comments Raven Rebecca wrote: "I've made it much further than expected today, up to chapter 38. Either I've become accustomed to the silliness, or the silliness has been reigned in a bit. Even though it's still only ok, it's a m..."

Yes Raven (and Greg!), I thought it was a YA book, and was surprised that it is not listed as one.


Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments I'm up to chapter 23 now. I'm not sure why Butcher chose to include three young characters. Gwen and Bridget are both 17 and Benedict is a couple of years older and, meh, I would be liking the book more if he had gone with all adult characters. It doesn't help that right now I just can't bring myself to like Gwen. Both Benedict and Bridget seem to be more thoughtful and less know-it-all, which makes them appear a bit more mature. If I were Grimm, I'd just toss her overboard.


message 24: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Veronica wrote: "I'm up to chapter 23 now. I'm not sure why Butcher chose to include three young characters. Gwen and Bridget are both 17 and Benedict is a couple of years older and, meh, I would be liking the book..."

Like Jessica & Raven, I do think Butcher intentionally made this series YA-friendly - it's so different in tone than what I recall of the Dresden Files books.


Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments Greg wrote: "Like Jessica & Raven, I do think Butcher intentionally made this series YA-friendly - it's so different in tone than what I recall of the Dresden Files books."

I read the first three Dresden books a few years ago and then didn't feel motivated to continue. I thought they were okay but not as great as I'd heard. Another group I'm in is reading the series (one book a month) so I'm giving it another go. So far though, I've liked the books I'd already read less on this reread than I did the first time through.


~Dani~ The opening flying ship battle was really cool!


Andrew Veronica wrote: "Greg wrote: "Like Jessica & Raven, I do think Butcher intentionally made this series YA-friendly - it's so different in tone than what I recall of the Dresden Files books."

I read the first three ..."



You're better off starting on book 4 then lol They improve very much around that point.


Andrew I agree with Greg about how the setup for the duel was "silly". In fact, the setup for nearly everything, and the execution of nearly everything, was just as "silly". To put it kindly. It just felt so tortured and false to me. Everything was an excuse to show off how unique or quirky or outrageous somebody is supposed to be.

I SO agree that Gwen is unlikable. But she seems to be treated as if we are going to be falling over ourselves loving her and slapping our knees with laughter for her being just so outrageous. She was just annoying and stupid and selfish. I got the impression that she was supposed to be like Mat Cauthon from Wheel of Time--easily SEEN as having these negative traits, but when you see from his perspective you realize he is actually just seeing things from angles others cannot, and quite cunning. Gwen is just genuinely annoying and stupid.

It's funny that others have mentioned confusion over the characters being young, probably for a YA-target. This months other BOTM, Six of Crows has a similar "problem" in my eyes (probably my only complaint!). I loved the book, but the characters attitudes, behavior, and wealth of backstories made them all clearly in their 20's, 30's, and even 40's. But they're all supposed to be teens! Silliness, if you ask me. In this book, it actually makes sense in-story that they are young because they are all new and inexperienced at least.


message 29: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Dani wrote: "The opening flying ship battle was really cool!"

I thought that part was fun too :)


message 30: by Greg (last edited Jun 06, 2016 10:14PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Andrew wrote: "Everything was an excuse to show off how unique or quirky or outrageous somebody is supposed to be...."

I'm liking the book a bit better than you Andrew, but I think there's a lot of truth in this. The characters do feel a little forced and deliberately odd as you describe - larger than life I guess. I find a lot of YA is like this, though that doesn't necessarily spoil the enjoyment for me. And yes, parts do feel a bit silly, especially toward the beginning.


Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments Andrew wrote: "You're better off starting on book 4 then lol They improve very much around that point. "

This is what people keep telling me so I'm hoping it turns out to be accurate. *fingers crossed*

As for this book, I'll start it up again tomorrow. I took a break to read another book, which doesn't bode well. I had planned on reading Six of Crows too but this book may just hit my YA tolerance levels. We'll see.


Andrew Greg wrote: "Andrew wrote: "The characters do feel a little forced and deliberately odd as you describe - larger than life I guess. I find a lot of YA is like this, though that doesn't necessarily spoil the enjoyment for me. And yes, parts do feel a bit silly, especially toward the beginning. ."

I tend to like YA quite a bit, and have trouble registering this book as one lol Larger than life characters can really tickle me. I dunno, it's fine other people like the book of course haha Just SO little felt like it was landing with me. I get what the humor was supposed to be, everything was just off somehow.

Like when the king wants Grimm (who is a staunch patriot that does lots of missions for his government, but also hates his government and is refusing to do missions for them, or something like that, I forget) to do a dangerous mission. Grimm refuses, and says he is just going to repair his ship and go back to doing his work. The king offers to give his ship better repairs than he could ever dream of affording, if he does the mission....

Then Grimm calls him like "A damnable bastard!" or something like that lol Huh?? And the king is DELIGHTED. "Every day of the week!" What am I missing here?? Maybe I was not enjoying the book so much, I glazed over the part where the king actually said that he would make it impossible for him to repair his ship at all if he refuses? Because if not, I don't see how this is anything but a common sense offer. This isn't even mildly mischievous or clever, let alone wickedly cunning.

Veronica wrote: "I had planned on reading Six of Crows too but this book may just hit my YA tolerance levels. We'll see."

Noooooo :D Six of Crows is fantastic and like my antithesis to this book so far this year lol


message 33: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Milton | 9 comments I read the book when it first came out. So far it is my least favorite of the books that he has written. I love the Codex Alera and Dresdeen Files are great too, although I like the later books much more than the earlier ones. It is funny, I think that he does characters like Grimm so much better then the rest of the main characters. It did grow on my as the book progressed though.


Veronica  (readingonthefly) | 803 comments Andrew wrote: "Noooooo :D Six of Crows is fantastic and like my antithesis to this book so far this year lol "

Duly noted. I will keep it in mind. :-)


message 35: by Roger, Knight Radiant (last edited Jun 07, 2016 08:57AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Roger | 1988 comments Mod
I read this a little while back and enjoyed it, it's not his best work but it is a page turner. I have similar complaints in the character part and it seems like he tries to hard for humor as well. I also got to a point where I didn't feel like there was any real danger to the main characters regardless of how many dire situations they were in. I mean I don't really want them to die but coming away with very little happening to them is boring.


message 36: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Hope wrote: "I'm at Chapter 27- I agree with some of the other comments that I prefer Captain Grimm to the "YA" feeling teen characters. It's also lighter than I expected- I was expecting something more Dresden..."

The further I go, the more I'm enjoying Captain Grimm!


Sarah | 641 comments I had chosen the audio book for this one, but seriously guys these comments aren't making me want to dedicate 21 hours and 46 minutes to listening to it...


message 38: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Sarah, I'm actually enjoying it. I don't love it with a capital L, but I think it's fun. If you're wanting a literary character depth or fascinating philosophical ideas, I think you'll hate it. If you just want something fun and don't mind YA every once in a while, you might enjoy it.


message 39: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments In chapter 48, the (view spoiler) was great. I'm finding some parts of this book suspenseful and even a bit thrilling, despite the drawbacks.


Andrew Sarah wrote: "I had chosen the audio book for this one, but seriously guys these comments aren't making me want to dedicate 21 hours and 46 minutes to listening to it..."

I got the audiobook also. Waste of a credit, though it was a time-killer. On the plus side, the narrator was perfectly fine. Some promising books I couldn't get through because of terrible narrators.

Hope wrote: "Well, I finished the book, and all I can say is I found it incredibly boring. IDK why, but I couldn't really get into any of the characters. I didn't care about them, except for maybe Grimm and Row..."

lol Agreed.


Sarah | 641 comments Greg wrote: "Sarah, I'm actually enjoying it. I don't love it with a capital L, but I think it's fun. If you're wanting a literary character depth or fascinating philosophical ideas, I think you'll hate it. If ..."

I can work with fun and enjoy YA, so maybe it won't be so bad. I could actually go for more of fun read since I'm slowly losing my mind to Watership Down. I love rabbits as much as the next girl, but I feel like I've been listening to it forever and I'm still only 6 hours in.

Andrew wrote: "Sarah wrote: "I had chosen the audio book for this one, but seriously guys these comments aren't making me want to dedicate 21 hours and 46 minutes to listening to it..."

I got the audiobook also...."


There is nothing worse than a horrible narrator ruining an audiobook you were looking forward to.
I listened to At the Mountains of Madness last fall and the narrator was so dull and lifeless I literally couldn't tell there was anything I was supposed to be worried about/scared of/etc. And recently I bought the ebook of a book I had been listening to the audio version of because I literally could not stand the narrator for one more minute. I love the Brother Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters so it had to be pretty bad for me to consider abandoning one.


Andrew Sarah wrote: "Greg wrote: "There is nothing worse than a horrible narrator ruining an audiobook you were looking forward to.."

I was very happy to finally crack my way into Robin Hobb, but the narrator of whatever book it was was dreadful lol Sounded like a parody of overacting Shakespeare in the Park. Sometimes the narrator is quite good, but gives zero difference in the character voices, which is almost as bad being a bad narrator all around!


message 43: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Catelli | 1170 comments Sarah wrote: " I could actually go for more of fun read since I'm slowly losing my mind to Watership Down"

Also known as 1984, only with rabbits


message 44: by Nick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick | 110 comments Just finished this one, and I absolutely loved it. Probably shouldn't be a huge surprise since i'm a big fan of his Dresden novels as well.

As with his other novels, Butcher is able to endow a lot of humanity and humour into his stories. Rowl is, I think, now one of my favourite characters of all time - up there with Nimitz the treecat, and Oberon the Wolfhound.

I'm not sure where all the accusations of silliness come from; I didn't notice that at all. The duel and its lead up might appear silly to a modern perspective I suppose, but in the context of the culture that Butcher was emulating here (and quite well), the Naval culture of Napoleonic Britain, it seemed perfectly reasonable. It might seem silly to us to engage in a violent duel over a small insult, or to accept the parole of an enemy who just a short while before was doing his utmost to kill you, both are reasonable within the culture of the time - or at least, the commonly accepted fiction version of the culture of the time, as popularised by authors such as C.S. Forester.

The only real issue I had with this book was that I picked it up to read as the BoTM because I wanted to read some science fiction... and i'm not sure in what context this could be called science fiction really, even with a small scattering of steampunk elements I would have put it firmly in the fantasy camp.


message 45: by Greg (last edited Jun 09, 2016 07:41PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Nick wrote: "Just finished this one, and I absolutely loved it. Probably shouldn't be a huge surprise since i'm a big fan of his Dresden novels as well.

As with his other novels, Butcher is able to endow a lot..."


I'm enjoying Rowl too Nick!

When I said silly, I meant in tone; maybe playful would've been a better word? It's not a criticism as it seems deliberate.

For instance, right off in the first chapter, Gwen points a deadly weapon at her mother and deliberately fires so as to barely miss her, blowing up part of the room and then later a door, but it doesn't come across as serious. It's more tongue in cheek, humorous. Gwen says 'Honestly Mother .. at the rate we're going? we'll bankrup ourselves decorating.' Then she makes a remark that the bust was a knockoff anyway.

And the duel, yes, duels did happen historically, but didn't it strike you as humorous the way Bridget just says 'You. Are. An. Ass, Sir"? It's meant to be humorous I think, not deadly serious. The whole setup too, the hulking vat girl with the cat on her shoulder, the privileged aristocrat. The way Bridget surprises everyone by throwing Benedict like a side of beef. It's all a bit larger than life in a fun way. It's not meant to be gritty and hyper-real.


message 46: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Catelli | 1170 comments Eh, I think that the abilities shown could easily fit in the softer sort of SF -- but, yeah, I'd make it fantasy.


message 47: by Nick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick | 110 comments Greg wrote: "Nick wrote: "Just finished this one, and I absolutely loved it. Probably shouldn't be a huge surprise since i'm a big fan of his Dresden novels as well.

As with his other novels, Butcher is able t..."


Ah, I see what you mean. It's very Butcher, his Dresden novel's have that tongue in cheek woven through them as well, perhaps that's one of the reasons it didn't strike me as much. I quite like the effect, I find it makes his books very readable and occasionally light-hearted - and servers as a counterpoint to the often grim and very serious components of his plots. (Anyone who has read past Changes in the Dresden files knows what I meant there ;))

I was misunderstanding what you meant, I think, because the word Silly to me carries other connotations. People tend to say Silly to mean childish, ridiculous, not-to-be-taken-seriously. There is a condescension in it that I don't think the book deserves - it is at times light hearted and larger than life.. but there's nothing particularly silly about Cavendish, or the Silkworms. Or the fairly grim hints of what lies on the surface of the world, beneath the mists.

In the end, I don't think it's particularly silly.. I think it's fun ;) So much seriousness and grimness in so many books these days, especially award winning books, and, whilst I enjoy a good, deep, thinker's novel from time to time, fun is often just what i'm looking for in a book. It's underrated in my opinion.


message 48: by Nick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick | 110 comments Mary wrote: "Eh, I think that the abilities shown could easily fit in the softer sort of SF -- but, yeah, I'd make it fantasy."

I did think about that, I was wondering if it was going to pull a switch, like Stross' Merchant Prince series or the Dragonriders series, and have it be Sci-fi masquerading as fantasy. It still could I suppose, there are enough foreshadowed references scattered through out, particularly the religious references, to be able to turn around in a couple of books time and reveal that the planet they are on is Earth, and the ether stuff is caused by some sci-fi apocalypse, with the spires the remnants of lost technology.

Given the mystical nature of the ether though, the deleterious effects on the practicioners, and the fact that the Predator appears to be alive and conscious, we may have strayed too far. You could explain that stuff away (psychics, AI, etc), but I think it'd feel too bolted on if you tried.


message 49: by Greg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Greg | 1022 comments Nick wrote: "So much seriousness and grimness in so many books these days, especially award winning books, and, whilst I enjoy a good, deep, thinker's novel from time to time, fun is often just what i'm looking for in a book. It's underrated in my opinion...."

I completely agree with this Nick - sometimes I want something bracing but other times something fun hits the spot. I like both.

I also am finding the book fun. I think silly was a bad choice of words on my part - tongue-in-cheek is much closer to what I meant. It's not a 5 star read for me, but I like it.

I'm in chapter 54 now - chapter 53 with the (view spoiler) was thrilling. Can't wait for (view spoiler)


message 50: by Nick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick | 110 comments It's pretty much high-octane all the way to the end from there :) I've just started Six of Crows now; I think that'll suit anyone who thinks Aeronaut's is too light hearted. It's starting off very grim. Good though so far.

I think we're definitely in the middle of a golden age for genre fiction, so very spoilt for choice regardless of taste.


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