The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Oliver Brooks, a boy altered by the feymist, has his life turned upside down when his uncle is killed and he's framed for murder. Molly Templar escapes murder at the brothel where she was being trained, only to find her orphanage home the scene of a massacre and quickly figures out she was the real target. What bonds these two orphans together and what does the mysterious Court of the Air have to do with things?
Court of the Air was definitely worth my seven bucks. It's full of action and twists. Steampulp would be a good word for it. The world is by far the best part. The Kingdom of Jakals is a steampunk version of London patrolled by a navy of aerostats and policed by the worldsingers, a wizard-ish army that has penny-dreadfuls depicting
their adventures. The people that police the police are the Court of the Air and their Wolftakers. Cool concepts, right? How about the feymist, a cloud of gas that mutates people? Or the steammen, intelligent steam-powered robots? Or a sleeping race of insectile gods? The final battle was one of my favorites since Stormbringer and the Hood o'the marsh made me smile.
I liked this book but I really wanted to love it. Why didn't I? Too much going on. It was like being at the best buffet in the world and not being able to sample everything. A glossary would have been a big help. There was almost too much action and not enough exposition. While I hate that all fantasy stories seem to be trilogies these days, I would have really liked this one to be expanded and the pace slowed down just a bit. The story jumped from viewpoint to viewpoint so often it was disorienting.
All that being said, The Court of the Air has quite a bit going for it. It's suspenseful and jam packed with interesting concepts. It just overflows a bit at times.
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