Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk
Content: Strong language and implied sex.
Retribution Falls is a steampunk fantasy that has loads of action. The air ships were interesting and I especially liked the air battles. The second half was better than the first half, but I pretty much liked it from the beginning. The characters were all interesting but Frey, the captain, had to grow on me.
Sky piracy is a bit out of Darian Frey’s league. Fate has not been kind to the captain of the airship Ketty Jay—or his motley crew. They are all running from something.
I wouldn't say fate had anything to do with it. More like personal choices. Frey does have extremely bad luck, mostly brought on by his own choices. I wasn't sure what to think of him at first, then I pretty much hated him for a while, and finally I ended up kind of liking him. Why the big change in the way I felt about him? Character growth. There was a lot of character growth and in the end Frey was not the same man that he was at the beginning of this book. I really like when books have flawed characters that actually grow.
Crake is a daemonist in hiding, traveling with an armored golem and burdened by guilt. Jez is the new navigator, desperate to keep her secret from the rest of the crew. Malvery is a disgraced doctor, drinking himself to death.
That's most of the ship's crew and I must say that I liked the crew a lot better than Frey in the beginning. I think my favorite character in the book was probably Jez. She also was the only one who wasn't in her predicament because of some choice she made. Crake and his golem, Bess were also very interesting. My least favorite crew member was probably Pinn. He's a real dimwit and clearly he's not playing with a full deck. This I suppose could be funny at times, but I didn't find much to like about him, except for when he was in the cockpit of his little airship entertaining us during the air battles.
When an opportunity arises to steal a chest of gems from a vulnerable airship, Frey can’t pass it up. It’s an easy take—and the payoff will finally make him a rich man.
The crew takes on this mission that sounds really simple and is supposed to make them rich. Of course the mission goes south. I've never read a book like this where it didn't. Could you imagine if everything went as planned and the characters all ended up filthy rich almost from the beginning? How much fun would that be and what story would there be left to tell? I would actually like to see someone try to pull that off in a book. I'm not sure what the rest of the story would be about, but hey, it would be different. So of course things don't go as planned, and in the most horrible way, and Frey and the crew of the Ketty Jay are left trying to figure out what is going on while on the run.
Most of what happens in the book is pretty predictable, but still entertaining, It does remind me a lot of Firefly, which many people have compared it to. I didn't have high expectations going into this so I feel like it checked off all the boxes of what I wanted it to be. A fun, rather light steampunk fantasy. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
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