The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher


Became a Faceless Man
Would anyone who's read both compare this to Tales of the Ketty Jay series by Chris Wooding?
Startlingly similar, down to the love of cats.

If you liked Chris Wooding's works this one is probably down your alley


Super Moderator
Staff member
Startlingly similar, down to the love of cats.

If you liked Chris Wooding's works this one is probably down your alley
Thanks :)

If he does cats as well as Wooding does (the scenes involving Slag and Hawkins in The Black Lung Captain are some of my favourite scenes put to print; truly laugh out loud funny!) then I'll be happy :)


Journeyed there and back again
I read the first of the ketty jay ones the other day. Was going to return to them but i always enjoy a bit of butcher. If I was going to jump airship, is it worth it - or shall I stick with wooding?


Became a Faceless Man
If I was going to jump airship, is it worth it - or shall I stick with wooding?
Eh I guess you should finish the Ketty Jay series since its completed, this book can wait, it ain't gonna finish anytime soon

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
I would say they are quite similar (have only read the first Ketty Jay book so far), for me the main difference is that ...

... while the captain of the Ketty Jay seems to be a scoundrel only motivated by his own gain, possibly also by that of his crew, the captain of the Predator is still fiercely loyal to his home spire (=country), even though he has been maligned by the admiralty in the past, falsely accused of cowardice, and cast out of the fleet. So while the first seems pragmatic, the second seems to be a very romantic person, like most of Jim Butchers key figures.

Also, while the world of the Ketty Jay (again: judging only from having read the first book) seems to be somehow stable, it is clear after the first book of the Cinder Spires that their world is in for dramatic upheavals and a major confrontation between the forces of good and evil. There also seems to be more consideration given to the background story and "magic" system, although that might simply be due to the difference in the volume of pages.

For all these reasons, I enjoyed the Aeronaut's Windlass more than "Retribution Falls", and would rate it as 8.75.

I must say, from the first book of the Ketty Jay I did not really remember Slag as being a major contributor to the story (had to think again about the details of the book), whereas Rowl is definitely one of the key figures of "The Aeronaut's Windlass".
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Journeyed there and back again
Quite conflicted about this one.

The characters are quite bland and archetypical; some of them manage nonetheless to be quite likeable (Rowl, Grimm and his crew, Folly), others are forgettable (Benedict, Bridget) or downright annoying (Gwen, miss Cavendish)
The world building and the magic system shows some interesting ideas, but are both - even for a first book - too hazy and vague; a sketch, but with the potential to become a great painting.
The tone was indeed much more light-hearted and YA than expected, but that isn't a problem for me; maybe just a little bit too much banter.

In spite of this, the book was captivating and enjoyable, and I'll surely buy also the next instalment. Especially if there will be more airship battles - loved them, absolutely glorious!

All in all, a solid 7/10.

As a stand-alone book I've found it inferior to every single one of the Ketty Jay's ones, but the Cinder Spires has the potential to become the better series.
But Trinica Dracken could kick Cpt. Ransom's ass without even putting her contact lenses on


Hung out on a briar with Honorable Jorg
It was quite good I thought, especially in terms of world building and the incorporation of a wide cast of likable POV characters. Similar to the five or so other books by Butcher I've read, it's really his humorous wit that makes his writing so enjoyable. In this book, Folly and Rowl were excellently done - having several scenes or comments that had me broadly grinning as I finished reading them. As someone before mentioned, I also enjoyed the POVs of the Auroran marines, as it added some shades of grey into the otherwise totally evil opposition. I also liked how he began to hint (like Liveship trilogy) that Predator may be a sentiment being (something to do with core crystals?).
There's still a lot of mystery to the setting, magic, and back stories of main characters in this book, but what was explained made sense and simply leaves the rest of the books to reveal. This series definitely has great potential. 8-8.5 for the first book


Journeyed there and back again
It definitely feels more YA than is advertised.

Somewhat reminiscent of the Codex Alera series, and has the potential to be great, depending on how the books pan out.

At first as I was reading I thought it was a lot different than anything he had done but as it went on I started thinking of Codex Alera as well. Anyway, just finished it a few minutes ago.

Overall I would say it was pretty enjoyable but definitely could be a lot better in areas. Since this was maybe my most anticipated book this year I will break it down some.

Plot - Was mostly good I would say. A nice balance of minor intrigue with certain characters back stories and just a small peek at what the bigger picture will be. There isn't anything specific about the plot I am dying to see expanded or learn about, but still enjoyable enough.

Characters - As with most books it was hit or miss. Not really a ton of depth to any of them but certain personalities (for me at least) really stood out as enjoyable. Rowl the cat is an interesting POV and I found that I mostly liked his view points. I think it is fun when an author writes from a completely different perspective than the norm. Ferus and Folly were also very enjoyable. Quirky and powerful is almost always a fun combination. Maybe it is just me but I am thinking maybe Butcher got some inspiration from Rothfuss when writing Folly because she reminds me a lot of Auri. The rest of the characters were meh. Gwen is overbearing but I get the feeling she may end up being the most improved character by the end of the series. Bridgette is meh and Grimm is a little too much of a Gary Stu methinks. I don't necessarily mind those characters and his parts were a fun enough read but it can get bland at time.

Magic - As with most magic I feel like there is potential here but it really wasn't explored much at all which leaves something to be desired. You get a taste of something cool but no depth to it.

Worldbuilding - Not something I typically concern myself with but I find myself really enjoying what Butcher has created here. Easy to get drawn into in my opinion.

It was a good first book and I will definitely be ready for the 2nd installment of it. It isn't something that will wow you but I don't think the start of any of Butchers series have really wowed me. It is once he gets rolling where you really get drawn in. So we shall see.


Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
I am having a hard time getting in to this one. I don't know if this was deliberate or not, but the characters' dialogue in the first scene did not sound at all natural. And I am not digging the airship combat (there is a reason I don't read David Weber). I'm not saying it's not well-done, it's just not something I'm all that interested in.

Does it change after the first few chapters? I thought both Dresden Files and Codex Alera were fun, easy reads. But I didn't have as hard a time getting into them.


Killed in the battle against the Mad King
I read aeronaughts windlass and then all the ketty Jay books straight after in January this year and whilst I'd also rate windlass at a 7 ketty Jay would be up there at a 9. Retribution falls is the weakest of them but it builds on it so well. But sorry this thread is for aeronaughts windlass. It didn't have me wanting to not go bed and carry on reading. That's the key factor for me when it comes to a good book or a really good book.

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Hung out on a briar with Honorable Jorg
I thoroughly enjoyed Aeronaughts Windlass. I thought the characters were strong. I'm NOT a cat person but I grew to really enjoy R..O..W... L..... and how Euan Morton articulated the cat's thoughts to bring a certain personality to the animal via narration.

Jim Butcher is great in my opinion. I thoroughly enjoyed all the Codex Alera books.
Aeronaughts Windlass is not Toll the Hounds.

Aeronaughts Windlass fun and easy to read.
Toll the Hounds rewarding and hard to read.

I'll give it a 9/10 on the fun and easy to read scale.

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
Oh my, I forgot about this book. I read like one chapter and then started on something else. I should get back to it.