Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy Courtesy of the Publisher, Gollancz!
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. 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. So 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.
But when the attack goes horribly wrong, Frey suddenly finds himself the most wanted man in Vardia, trailed by bounty hunters, the elite Century Knights, and the dread queen of the skies, Trinica Dracken. Frey realizes that they’ve been set up to take a fall but doesn’t know the endgame. And the ultimate answer for captain and crew may lie in the legendary hidden pirate town of Retribution Falls. That’s if they can get there without getting blown out of the sky.
"What happened to your last navigator?"
"Found out he'd been selling off spare engine parts on the side. He navigated himself out the cargo door with the Cap'n's toe up his arse"Okay guys, I have a new favourite series/obsession and you're looking right at it! I have a steampunk shaped hole in my life now that there's no more Gail Carriger books in my life and this has filled it and then some! Not that it's anything like Gail Carriger's books, this is brilliantly unique in it's own right! I would have to describe it as what would happen if Pirates of the Caribbean went steampunk. I honestly got such POTC vibes when I was reading and not just from Frey!
I loved this book from the first page, it immediately throws you in to the world of the book with some action, and you start to get a feel for two of our characters, as well as it being freaking hilarious, it makes you want to know more! You get the chance to get to know the world/settings and the characters before the next piece of action kicks off and it's a rich and intriguing world, it has to be said! I really want to see more of it! It's vivid and extensive and incredibly well described, it's kind of fascinating.
The characters are an interesting bunch. They're a rag tag group and all of them have secrets and mysteries that are fun to guess at before the big reveal. I particularly loved Frey and Jez, not going to lie! Frey is the Captain, you kinda have to love him, he's a little like Jack Sparrow, and he had some brilliant character development from the start of the book, coming to care for his crew more than usual. Jez was mysterious from the start, I had so much fun trying to work out what her deal was and I was totally wrong, it's going to be interesting to see it play out but she's a complete badass, and intelligent and just brilliant. Crake was interesting, he's the Daemonist, he's kind of funny and you can't help but feel for him when his secret comes out. There's also Malvery...the drunken doctor, Silo who had a really nice history with Frey and bond, and Harkins and Pinn the two outfliers, Harkins is a little bit of a coward, and Pinn has some little fantasy going on about becoming rich and wealthy and going back to his beloved, he kinda needed a smack.
"Alright, spit on this place. Let's get out of here and stab some backs!"
"That's the spirit"
While she's not part of the crew, I have to mention Trinica because I wasn't really sure what to make of her in the beginning, but as I read more about her and her backstory, I felt for her and everything she went through, I'd be interested to see more of her because she comes across really strong. I loved the characters because they're all a bit of a flawed bunch, and it made them relatable and endearing, plus I loved watching them go from this group of people who kinda just got thrown together and weren't all that down with team work, to this group who had loyalty and camaraderie and ended up becoming a real Captain and Crew.
Retribution Falls is atmospheric, fast paced, and sprinkled with intrigue as you get hints about the characters and their pasts. It's full of originality, and it's completely action packed thanks to all the various battles. There's a cutlass with a mind of it's own, a golem, sword fights, gun fights, air battles everything you can imagine would be in a steampunk adventure. There's also plenty of magic thanks to the daemonism, and there's even a secret pirate hideaway! Retribution Falls is kind of hard to put down because it's such a brilliant combination of action, adventure, humour and steampunk. There's brilliantly fun characters, including badass females, their relatable and flawed and you end up rooting for the lot of them so badly. I cannot even begin to describe just how funny this book is, but it had me in stitches when I wasn't snorting it and trying to control myself, the world of the book really does suck you in!
It also has to be said that in the back of the book it explains the rules of Rake and how to play it, giving you a deeper understanding of some scenes, and there's a few pages featuring the log book of the Ketty Jay so you can see what happened before the book started in Frey's hilarious narrative! I honestly was kind of blown away by this book because I wasn't really sure what to expect but it's definitely become one of my new favourites, and I have a burning need to read the other books to see what mischief they're all going to get in to next.