Jim Butcher took the world by storm over a decade ago with his Dresden Files, a series that I and all my friends love dearly. He writes the kind of books I will eagerly buy in Hardback, and will sacrifice sleep to finish.

You can imagine how excited, and how nervous, I was when Butcher announced that he was releasing a new steampunk series. This was even more important to me, because I have a steampunk series coming out in 2016. If Butcher could pull off his Cinder Spires, then authors like me might be able to ride his coattails.

So I bought Aeronaut’s Windlass, and started reading. The book hooked me right from the prologue, and the sense of wonder lasted until the very last page. The characters are amazing, numerous, and fun as hell.

Aeronaut’s Windlass clocks in at over 600 pages, which was wonderful as it allowed me to savor it for a few weeks. Now that I’ve finished I’m saddened that I’ll have to wait for the next book, which reinforces what a master craftsman Butcher is.

So what makes the book so amazing? Butcher creates an entirely new mythos, but he draws on familiar elements I’ve always loved. If you like naval battles, you’ll love the Horatio Hornblower style airship combat.

If you like cats, you’ll love the way Butcher has brought them to life. Every cat owner will instantly recognize Rowl and the other cats as being similar to our own feline friends.

Even the magic system is incredible. It relies on etheric energy, ethersilk, and even explains why the goggles we steampunk lovers wear would be necessary.

I’m going to keep this review short, because just about anything else I might tell you about the book is a spoiler. If you love fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, or any of Butcher’s other work, then you owe it to yourself to read the Cinder Spires.

Aeronaut’s Windlass is the best book I’ve read since Way of Kings or Name of the Wind, and the series might end up being better than both.

Aeronaut’s Windlass- You need to read this book


  • Thanks for the suggestion! I was hesitant because the synopsis lead me to believe that this wasn’t I wouldn’t enjoy (total Dresden fanboy that didn’t care for Codex Alera), but then I read this around Halloween and figured I’d give it a go.

    It took a while to rope me in. There is a lot of intro/backstory to get you interested in the characters which seemed really slow for me. I found myself getting bored when they weren’t talking about cat people, but then I started getting really into it.

    I can still visualize the action scenes like I have the memory of being there.

    Again, thank you!

    • I felt the same way. I loved Dresden, but didn’t even pick up Alera because so many friends said it wasn’t as good. I was very pleasantly surprised by his take on Steampunk.


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