Jim Butcher is known for his Harry Dresden Files and his epic fantasy series, Codex Alera. The Aeronaut’s Windlass is not part of either of these series, but the beginning of an entirely new saga that Butcher has been working on for quite some time. Although I have only read one book by Butcher (Storm Front), I consider myself to be a fan. The character if Harry Dresden is sly, smart, and charming, albeit quite unorthodox, and the world of the Dresden books drew me right in. When I heard about The Aeronaut’s Windless, I was ecstatic to read it. I have been wanting to read more novels in the Steampunk genre for quite some time, and this book seemed to be the perfect opportunity to do so.
The Aeronaut’s Windless is a book that can be hard to get into, yet is satisfying when you get the hang of it. It took me some time to understand this new world of Butcher’s, but I very much enjoyed it once I was able to get my bearings. A cause of this issue may have been the lack of opportunity that I had to be able to sit down for extended periods of time to do some heavy reading. Unfortunately, I was only able to read about thirty pages each day due to work and the lack of privacy where I live. I don’t doubt that those who are able to sit down for a good amount of time will be able to get completely immersed in this new and exciting world of Butcher’s.
As for the characters, I was quite taken by surprise that much of the novel focused on the characters of Gwendolyn, Bridget, and Benedict instead of Captain Grimm, who the book’s synopsis makes out to be the star of the entire story. For about the first three quarters of the book, most of the time was spent on the other characters, and Grimm showed up when they needed him. That is what it seemed like to me, at the very least. I was happy, however, when most of the book’s climax was from Grimm’s point of view due to the state of the other characters.
My favorite character in the entirety of The Aeronaut’s Windlass is, by far, the cat Rowl. I deeply enjoyed the chapters from his POV. Butcher does a wonderful job of portraying the thoughts of a cat the way that many of us humans imagine they must think.
As for the storyline is general, the action rarely ever lets up, which I think might have prevented some of the characters (particularly Grimm) from developing as much as I would have liked. Other than this, Butcher kept me turning the pages with breathless (though quite complex) descriptions of airship combat.
All in all, I think The Aeronaut’s Windless is a good novel that most fans of Steampunk will enjoy. I am glad that I read it, and will definitely be reading the sequel.