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The Ships of Air (Fall of the Ile-Rien) Hardcover – 1 Jul 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Eos (July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380977893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380977895
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16.3 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,223,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Tremaine picked her way along the ledge, green stinking canal on one hand, rocky outcrop sprouting dense dark foliage on the other. Read the first page
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 July 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this sequel to "The Wizard Hunters" the action transfers to mid-ocean, aboard a refugee ship with a motley crew of military intelligencers, wizards, refugees, rescued prisoners and Syprians. As we start the book, the ship is being stalked by the airships of the nameless enemy we first met in "The Wizard Hunters" and it doesn't take long for the suspense to ratchet up...
As always with Martha Wells, the writing is laced through with dry humour & the dialogue is laugh-out-loud funny. All the main characters have continued to develop - I particularly enjoyed the way that Tremaine Valiarde is showing signs of inheriting her father's rather more psychopathic tendencies. In fact, everything is superbly done: the culture clashes between the two uneasily allied races, the poignant ghost-ship grandeur of the luxury ocean-going liner converted hastily to carry refugees, & the growing claustrophobia aboard as it becomes apparent that there is an enemy entity hiding somewhere on the massive ship.
If you have a taste for light escapist fantasy, then this is one of those rare books that will hold you absolutely enthralled from start to finish. It's not really a stand-alone read though -read "The Wizard Hunters" first so that you get to know all the characters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Very rewarding 3 Aug 2004
By Mark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Contrary to my last few postings, I do occasionally read books I like. Ships of Air is one of those - matter of fact, Martha Wells is an author I admire a lot. The first book in the series was on the "new books" shelf at the library, and I really enjoyed it. My biggest complaint with the second book is that it took too long to come out. I kind of lost track of the main characters and it took me a while to remember who was who and how they fit.

That isn't as easy as one would expect. Martha Wells writes complex characters that can't be described by a single word endowment. The primary viewpoint character isn't the "Smart" one, nor is she the "brave" one, nor.... she's just Tremaine. Tremaine is smart, determined, brave and a whole host of other virtues. And the really cool thing is that she doesn't really know it.

Martha Wells is better than any writer I can think of right now at showing you both what the character thinks of themselves, and what others think of the character. She doesn't tell you- she shows you. Tremaine, like most people I know, isn't really aware of how special she is. But through others eyes we get to see that she is admirable.

Wells is ambitious and in addition to the half dozen major characters she shows us a host of minor characters that have lives of their own when they're not illuminating the major characters. She also shows us the cultures of three very different and very believeable worlds. Ile Rien, Tremaine's society, is like Europe prior to the World War. Slightly more advanced in some things, and with sorcery added. They are however under attack from a nation known as the Gardier - problematic, since like pre-war Europe, there is no space left on teh globe for an industrialized superpower to emerge without being noticed. In book 1, we discover that the Gardier travel between worlds, and we track them back to Sypria - a pastoral, pre-monetary Matriarchy with some curious religious structures. And we learn more of the Gardier who are fascist conquerors.

Book 2 suffers from some of the sins of a bridge book. Foreshadowing is revealed, loose ends are tied up, but in fact, no new surprises can be written because there's only one book (I presume) left to hold them.

But Wells' manages all these tasks quite well. I do care about Tremaine - more than she cares about herself. I do care about the worlds, and I'm eager to learn more of the various societies. Rarely does an author manage to focus attention on this many things at once and still be successful.

I hope that she continues to write, not just because I enjoy her work, but becasue I hope she learns to tighten up some of the looser constructions. There is enough spread out that I do have to concentrate to keep it all in mind. On the other hand the reason I have to concentrate is that I have to read more deeply than I do with other authors. I have to keep track of what I learn about Tremaine from herself, from her friends and from her enemies. And none of them tell me what they think - they react, and I must study their reactions to learn what they think.

A very rewarding read.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Kipling, Forester, Dunnett, Wells 29 Dec 2004
By Sires - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was trying to hold out reading these books until the third one was published but I had to give in when I accidentally picked up a copy of Element of Fire and reread it. Set some two hundred years before this trilogy, Element of Fire is not a prerequisite but it did remind me what a great adventure writer Wells is and how little really good adventure fantasy does get written these days. So I grabbed volume one and two of this trilogy off the shelf and hid from the frigid weather in the luxurious staterooms of the Queen Ravenna,luxury liner turned world hopping battle ship.

The background of this book is not mere wallpaper. It's a richly realized world with characters who are both likeable and fallible. There's heroes and traitors and "primitives" who refuse to be neatly pigeonholed. There's politics and danger and a sly, dark humor that is really appealing.

So now what am I going to do until the third installment is published?
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
promising improvement over first book 8 Aug 2004
By B. Capossere - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Ships of Air, the second book in this series, builds upon the strengths of the first while also improving several of the first book's flaws. As in The Wizard Hunters, the main character's depth and likeability is a major strength. Tremaine is a complex character, displaying a variety of emotions and pursuing a variety of actions, some of them not so clearly understood by those around her or even herself. Several of the side characters from the Wizard Hunters whose characterization suffered a bit from shallowness deepen into more three-dimensional creations here, enriching the overall flavor of the novel and allowing Wells the luxury of dipping into several enjoyable side-stories. The writing moves along crisply and often humorously, another positive carried over from book one.

Where the first book suffered somewhat from repetitive plot, villains painted in too-shallow pictures, and an over-reliance on Tremaine's sphere as a deus ex machina, Ships of Air suffers from none of these. The villains, the Gardier, are explained more fully from inside and out. The storyline finds excitement though expanding existing tensions and adding new points of contention/crisis rather than simply repeating a pattern of capture/escape/capture/escape. And the sphere plays a relatively minor role to the advantage of both character and plot.

Some of the foreshadowing from book one is resolved here and, as is expected of a bridge novel in a series, new questions arise to tantalize the reader. If anything, these new questions are more intriguing than the old ones. This, combined with the improvements in plot and character, make this not only a better written book than Wizards, but also a much stronger lure into continuing with the series. A good recommendation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A change of location and some wonderful surprises 5 Nov 2004
By K. Maxwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is the second book in The Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy. As a result, read by itself the book probably would not make a lot of sense as it relies heavily on the events in book 1. As a follow on from THE WIZARD HUNTERS this is an excellent instalment.

Its strange to read a fantasy novel set mostly on a large luxury ocean liner like this one is. We finally get some answers about the Gardier in this book and the series is making steady progess as the books build on one another. I'll be interested to see how this story concludes in Book 3 as I like the characters, especially Tremaine.
The Ships of the Air 28 Nov 2012
By Robert W. Baughman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It came in as described by the seller. It is a first edition and not book club. And, it arrived as promised. My husband has now the Christmas present I wanted him to get. This book I have been waiting for and it isn't available at half priced books. This is the way to get it if you don't want to wait too long. The price was right. Thanks. Recommend this one.
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