Series: The Cinder Spires #1
Genres: Fiction, Steampunk
Rating: I LOVED IT
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Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.
Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.
And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake… (
But fear was a disease that could swell and spread, incapacitating crews and bringing on the destruction that had been dreaded in the first place.
It was a well-known fact that humans become more addled than usual when running in herds.
“In my experience, the worst madmen don’t seem odd at all,” Grimm said. “They appear to be quite calm and rational, in fact. Until the screaming starts.”
This is a hard review to write. I love Butcher. I’m in love with his writing. But …
Basically this story follows quite a few characters as they embark on a mission to save the Spire Albion.
I had a hard time understanding the world. It didn’t feel explored enough. Perhaps it’s because I’m new to the steampunkish type worlds, but I didn’t have any visual images unless we were with the ships. I get there’s a council and some Spirach or something or rather, but the cities themselves I just didn’t get. I’m not sure I can blame Butcher. My imagination has always struggled with new worlds, but I’ve read a few reviews where other readers were experiencing the same problems.
The characters were legion. Okay, that might have been a bit dramatic. There’s five different PoV’s we hear from, but tons more characters. I normally don’t mind, but for some reason I struggled with that in this book. I loved Captain Grim. Great character, in my mind. It also doesn’t hurt that he was an airship captain, and I loved the airships. There’s a wealth of character types in this book. You have the loyal honorable Captain, a snotty but well-meant strong young female, a brave logical thinking young female, a warriorborn young man with super human strength, a quirky young female, and then the cat. Yes, there’re cats in this book. I love cats. Heck, I love all animals. There were cat moments that were hilarious. But most of the time I found those sections slow. That’s not the cat’s fault. Which brings me to pacing.
Butcher can write action scenes. He’s proven it in his Dresden series and this was no different. When there was action, I couldn’t put the book down, especially when the airships were involved. Butcher creates amazing tension and can expertly paint the scene. But when there wasn’t action, I had a really hard time pushing through the book. A really hard time. Matter of fact, anytime we weren’t in the airships, I had a hard time. So be prepared for some dialog heavy, slow scenes. It’s a long book, so these seem to come up a lot.
I love Butcher’s writing. I really do. It flows effortlessly. It can draw wonderful images, make you feel what the characters feel, and delve out some lovely thoughts. None of that changed in this book, just the story itself moved slowly.
So overall, I’m definitely going to pick up the next one in the series. If you’re a huge Butcher fan, you should read it. Just be prepared for a book that moves way slower than his Dresden series.