Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When they accidentally blow up The Ace of Skulls, and with it, the archduke's son, in a misguided act of piracy, Darian Frey and the misfit crew of the Ketty Jay wind up in the soup. Their salvation seems to be the mythical pirate port, Retribution Falls. But can they reach their safe haven before they wind up dead?
Retribution Falls is one of those books that's hard to classify. At first glance, it might be called steampunk, but it's more like fantasy with an odd tech level. There are airships that remind me of something out of Firefly, late 19th century level guns, and magical things like golems and daemons. Low tech science fantasy, maybe?
The crew of the Ketty Jay are a lof losers. There's the cowardly selfish captain, Darian Frey, Jez, the mysterious new navigator, the daemonist, Crake, and the rest. Actually, Frey, Jez, and Crake are the only ones that are developed enough to really care about, although I did have soft spots for Slag the cat and Bess the golem. By the end of the book, the pasts and personalities of all three are fleshed out and Frey proves to have some redeeming qualities after all.
It took a while for the story to get going but once the Ace of Skulls was destroyed, there was a lot of running, fighting, and airship battles. The action reminded me of some of the old Star Wars X-Wing books, only better written. Speaking of the writing, there's a surprising amount of humor in the dialog and the writing itself is actually fairly good.
Retribution Falls is a fun read. I wasn't ass over tea kettle in love with it but I liked it enough that I'll read the next book in the series. Three stars.
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