Jim Butcher Aeronauts Windlass Highlark

I’d been interested in reading something in the ‘Steampunk’ genre that wasn’t going to be too depraved, nor too scientific, nor too magical. Enter Jim Butcher, the creator of a magical noir series (The Dresden Files). I’d read some reviews about this book and how Butcher is a masterful storyteller, as well as how The Aeronaut’s Windlass is a crowd pleaser of a book.

The story has flying airships, that are admittedly sometimes difficult to visualize, but the blend of magic, science, as well as strange biological creatures, a talking cat, and many more details makes this story surreal but not in a way that magical realism makes a story unreal. For all of this stories strangeness, the world created by Butcher feels authentic, and is extremely entertaining. It reminded me of a modern take on the ‘swashbuckler’ adventure story, and it never ceases to please.

The beginning of the book was the most difficult, and there was actually a moment where I wasn’t sure I would continue forward — the book opens with an airship battle and it was so foreign to anything I imagined that I wondered if I’d be able to continue on. That said, I stuck with the story and it was quite fulfilling. There are moments in the novel that address larger themes of war and honor that never hit you over the head; you never feel as if the story were an allegory for the present world, but that it’s meant as entertainment for the sake of entertainment — and entertain it does.


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