The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher


Rate: 4.5/5

Medium: Kindle

Overview (No Spoilers):

Having heard many wonderful reviews regarding The Cinder Spires series, I’ve had The Aeronaut’s Windlass on my reading list since January. Once I actually picked up this fast paced novel, I honestly couldn’t put down this adventure filled tale involving flying ships, powerful crystals, and did I mention feisty, talking cats? Being quickly drawn into this foreign, unique realm was quite easy as people inhabit Spires in contrast to the surface of Earth, between which they traverse by floating ships. The aforementioned, suspended ships also engage in detailed, violent battles that will keep the reader riveted as to the anticipated outcomes. As to the drama unfolding within the Spires, it initially seemed relegated to petty battles of wounded pride between ancient powerful families, however as the danger escalates, the premise regarding the readiness of the young Spirearch Guard recruits being battle savvy after only two weeks of training was a bit absurd. With that being said, the various predicaments that the various characters found themselves was indeed fun read as miraculous events unfolded in the rather convenient, yet predictable ways ultimately securing the survival of said persons. Overall, Butcher’s detailed world and character building contained significant depth as to pique my curiosity as to the rest of the Spires and their complex internal relationships. I’m thoroughly excited to see what adventures Rowl (and I guess the rest of the crew) will embark on in the next installment of The Cinder Spire series!

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • I was hooked the moment that we found out that Gwen’s mother manipulated her to join the Guard.
  • I want to know more about Ferus and Folly and their amazing stills as Etherealists! I couldn’t help but be reminded of Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles and the art of naming things, specifically Auri.
  • Will we learn more about the crystals? Also will we learn more about the ship’s personality, which we observed through Folly?
  • Who built the Spires? Why was their knowledge lost? Why can’t people reside on the surface of the earth anymore? What are the other Spires like?
  • What is the story behind Captain Grimm’s cowardly mark of dishonor? He doesn’t fit the bill at all, however I’m sure there is more behind the actual tale?
  • Why is Rowl so attentive to Bridget? Will she resurrect her family name? PS. Isn’t Rowl absolutely the best? Multiple times I found myself giggling out loud at his incredibly ridiculous, larger than life personality.
  • What is the deal with being warrior born? How how/why does it happen and why is it a ‘bad thing’?

Vocabulary Builder:

Laconic: concise to the point of seeming rude or mysterious

Florid: very flowery in style

Vulpine: of, relating to, or resembling a fox

Puissant: powerful

Mellifluous: having a smooth rich flow

Vitriol: a sulfate of any of various metals (such as copper, iron, or zinc)

Paucity: smallness of number

Insouciant: lighthearted unconcern

Apoplectic: of a kind to cause or apparently cause stroke; extremely enraged

Sobriquet: a descriptive name or epithet; nickname

Myopic: a lack of foresight or discernment

Parsimonious: frugal to the point of stinginess

Vapid: lacking flavor, zest, interest, animation, or spirit

Verisimilitude: having the appearance of truth

Acerbically: sharply or bitingly critical, sarcastic, or ironic in temper, mood, or tone

Purview: the body or enacting part of a statute

Strafed: to rake (ground troops, an airfield, etc.) with fire at close range and especially with machine-gun fire from low-flying aircraft

Veracity: conformity with truth or fact

Miasma: an influence or atmosphere that tends to deplete or corrupt

Modicum: a small portion; a limited quantity

Unguent: a soothing or healing salve

Valise: suitcase

Proselytize: to induce someone to convert to one’s faith

Adjudicate: to make an official decision about who is right in (a dispute)

Gainsay: to declare to be untrue or invalid

Portents: something that foreshadows a coming event

Pedantry: application of knowledge or learning



  1. I really like how you organized your review. I love the questions you ask in the “additional insights”. I would like readers to do that for my series! It would be wonderful to know how they got hooked, what stories they want fleshed out, and what further information is necessary to make the story an in-depth experience. You are a deep perceptive reader, methinks. I also love the “vocabularly building” — good not only for readers, but for us writers! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Somehow I totally missed hearing about this book! I’ve read all of the Dresden Files so far and a couple of books from his other series, but I didn’t even know he was doing another new one. I am adding it to my list now. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love your reviews Sarah. I’m afraid I am inclined to adapt (ok, steal) your review template/style into my own. Don’t worry, I usually forget most everything about a book before I get around to reviewing it. I too was surprised by this Jim Butcher offering as I had lost track of him somewhere along the line. Thanks so much for your review and for your unique and helpful review format.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! Thank you! I looked at a ton of different sites when I started, ultimately adapting the pros and cons of each. Good luck with your site! Feel free to use what you want! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    • I had to explain Rowl to my husband because we were riding in a car while I was reading and I kept giggling out loud!😂 I’ve heard good things about the Dresden Files. Would you recommend this series?


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