Customer Reviews


71 Reviews
5 star:
 (39)
4 star:
 (21)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Retribution Falls is the first novel in The Tales of the Ketty Jay, which promises to be a series of semi-stand-alone novels set in the same world and focusing on the crew of the airship Ketty Jay and its crew of miscreants and scoundrels. If I had to provide a quick soundbite for this it would be Firefly meets Crimson Skies, with a dash of Locke Lamora sprinkled on...
Published on 23 Feb. 2009 by A. Whitehead

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth persevering with
I really struggled to like this book, for about the first third of it, but kept going and really enjoyed it by the end. It was as close as I have come to ditching a book and then pulling back. The problem to me was that each chapter felt too trite and sensational - like a series of episodes of Firely (which I liked a lot) with what felt like a string of over-dramatic...
Published on 3 Nov. 2012 by ChrisKnight


‹ Previous | 1 2 38 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5.0 out of 5 stars Vibrantly-written characters, 16 Jun. 2010
By 
A. L. Rutter "Floor to Ceiling Books" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding is a tale about Darian Frey, captain of the Ketty Jay and leader of a motley band of misfits and rogues. They survive - barely - on the proceeds from petty piracy and small-time crook jobs. But now Frey has been offered a plush job, an easy killing, and he can't resist taking the bait - even though it all seems too good to be true. Almost inevitably - given Frey's usual run of luck - the heist goes horribly wrong and Frey realises that he has been framed. On the run from contractors, pirates and the Coalition Navy, Frey has to try and discover who tried to put the crime on him and clear his name before he is taken down...

Retribution Falls is not without its issues, but the main emotion you have while reading it is pure, fist punching the air fun. Frey is a rogue in the classic sense of the word - a character you just can't help but root for, even though he is attempting to cheat and steal his way to a fortune. It is almost old-fashioned in the style of which it is written - motley band of adventurers trading insults and banter while trying to clear their names of murder. Barring the slightly sci-fi setting, this novel could fit neatly into the quest/adventure fantasy section alongside the likes of David Eddings.

Wooding writes at a breathless pace - in the most part. I have two issues with this. The first is that it leaves the world being barely fleshed out. We experience a whistle stop tour of various ports and areas within the land, but not a single one of them really stands out. I don't know if this was deliberate on Wooding's part, since I'm guessing to travellers constantly on the move most ports would blend together into one. The writing of these different locations definitely reflects the wandering life of the crew, but it does make for a breathless ride. A map might have helped, but I guess sci fi novels don't often call for maps!

The second issue with the breathless pace is that it is all the more noticeable when Wooding slows events down. In the latter part of the novel there are two occasions where I felt the pace was snail-like and it jarred me considering how events had transpired previously: these two situations were the conversation between Trinica and Frey, and the delving into the back story of Jez. In both cases, Wooding is writing about something that happened in the past, and it is done in a fairly clumsy manner.

Having said that, I really enjoyed this book. I know it has attracted comparisons to Joss Whedon's Firefly, and I can completely see why. The ensemble characters and the episodic adventures could be transferred with ease to a television show format.

I liked all of the characters, and enjoyed the ease with which they could be differentiated thanks to dialogue and mannerisms. I particularly appreciated the strong development of relationships across the course of the novel - by the end of the novel, the disparate group are very much a crew, and Wooding carefully and cleverly puts all the pieces into place to allow this to happen.

The writing is very effective, and could stand comparisons to such writers as Wilbur Smith in terms of the fact that this is very much an adventure story rather than a straight-up science fiction novel.

There are great flashes of humour, such as:

" 'You get the impression that this has all got a little out of control?' Jez screamed in Frey's ear.

Frey didn't hear what she said, so he nodded as if he agreed, and then replied, 'I think whoever's running this show, they've let things get a bit out of control!'

Jez, who also hadn't heard him, said, 'Definitely!' "

I also appreciated the warm heart to this novel and the honest writing of some very emotional scenes. In fact, I would be curious to see just how much of Frey's reaction to Trinica and how their story unfolded was semi-autobiographical - the feelings evoked were strong, and the words seemed almost personal, written with a true sense of knowing how it might feel to be so trapped by someone you loved so much.

All in all, I would definitely recommend Retribution Falls to anyone who wants a light-hearted read (with a couple of darker moments!) in the company of some truly memorable and vibrantly-written characters.

Arthur Clarke thoughts: So is this an Arthur Clarke award winner? Although my heart would like to say yes, my head is more sober and suggests no. In fact, I'm not completely sure why Retribution Falls found its way onto the short-list. The award is given for the 'best' science fiction novel published in the previous year. While Retribution Falls is a great read and a fun concept, there is little in the way of what I would deem true science in the novel. Sure, they fly in craft that are straight out of science fiction, but the aerial dog fights that take place could easily be about planes that exist right now. The presence of a daemonist in the tale puts it more into the realm of fantasy. Having now read three of the contenders for the award, I am slightly at a loss as to the reasons for this novel's inclusion. I would say this is the rank outsider.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Firefly meets Final Fantasy, 27 Feb. 2010
By 
Neil J. Pearson (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay (Tales of the Ketty Jay 1) (Paperback)
Initially, it's hard to get past how much this feels like "Firefly; the fantasy". This isn't a bad thing in that it completely captures the fun pace and "anything goes" attitude but it can be a little distracting at first. As the story progresses it is clear that Wooding hasn't created a piece of fanfic as there are hints of the "Final Fantasy" games and "Full-metal alchemist" anime/manga as well. Mixed together an intriguing and entertaining new world emerges. The central mystery is quite fun and the book never really has any lulls in terms of action or plot progression and all the characters are likeable (even the unpleasant ones).
I enjoyed how this is a self-contained story meaning we don't need another two books before we know what is going on. Despite that there are many hints to where the story can go and it is clear that there is much more to be explored in further installments. For anyone who loved "firefly" or "lies of Locke Lamorra", this is a book worth checking out as it captures the spirit of both without being derivative. The most fun I've had reading a book in a while and a great start to a new series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant., 17 Feb. 2013
By 
I was first introduced to Chris Wooding's books back in school when I read the first few Broken Sky books and really enjoyed his writing style. I often find it difficult to find new authors that I like so when I discovered the Ketty Jay books I couldn't put them down! The characters are all great, even if some plot lines are a little predictable, the world Wooding has created is detailed and easy to read/visualize. I often find myself missing the crew of the Ketty Jay and can't wait for the next book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars One star for effort, and one for the Golem, 4 April 2014
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Trying hard to be a rip-roaring adventure set in a nameless world – this is Steampunk. I never quite got on with steampunk. This version was frankly formulaic, often relying on the laddishness of the world in place of plot development and riddled with the overuse of adverbs (she said bitchily), women are either whores or a wink away from offering themselves, apart from one, who isn’t really a human entity. Not that one expects realism in steampunk.

Apologies to all who like the sub-genre for this review, but really folks, this could have been set anywhere and relies entirely on fast moving fights in air and on land. It reminded me of the Musketeers series currently gracing our TV screens, unoriginal plotting, formulaic characterisation, the best thing about it was the Poker-like game and instructions on how to play at the end of the book. I tried to like it for what it was and there was some interest for me in the character Jez, and I liked the cat Slag and Bess the golem. The writing values were absolutely terrible. Every cliché under the sun, and then some. I guess it just wasn’t for me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exhilarating, thrill-a-minute adventure, 28 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay (Tales of the Ketty Jay 1) (Paperback)
Every now and then a book comes along that's a bit different, something refreshing, quirky even, a change from the norm. The Lies of Locke Lamora springs to mind, as does The Blade Itself. Both those novels breathed some fresh air into the genre. Not only were they a bit different, they also happened to be a hell of a lot of fun as well.

Retribution Falls is very similar in this respect - it's fresh, it's funny and it's an excellent reminder of what you can do with the genre when you actually try and invoke a bit of originality in your writing.

The novel follows the various misadventures of the crew of the Ketty Jay, a modified airship. Captained by the selfish womaniser Darian Frey, the crew includes a surgeon more competent with a shotgun than a scalpel, an aristocrat with a flair for daemonology, a secretive navigator who is clearly more than the sum of her parts, two support pilots (one with a deathwish, the other with a fear of anything that moves), a silent, brooding engineer, and a cat with an amusing name that has a tendency to suffocate crew members by sleeping on their faces.

They're a varied bunch, but they have one thing in common - they're all on the run, for one reason or another. The action starts when Frey receives an offer that's too good to be true - 50,000 ducats for a simple bit of piracy. Naturally, the offer is to good to be true...because it's not true at all - it's merely the first part of a sinister plan that threatens to plunge the entire continent of Vardia into civil war. With what seems to be half the civilised world after him, Frey leads his unlikely band of heroes on a merry chase to clear their names and avoid the noose...

Retribution Falls is FUN. Note the use of capitals there. That's what the book is really about; a ripping yarn of dogfights, piracy, double-dealing and double-crossing. It's often easy to forget that reading is meant to be entertainment, and as much as I like deep, meaningful novels, sometimes I just like to kick back and be entertained. Retribution Falls is perfect in this regard, and for several reasons.

The first is that Wooding has absolutely nailed the characters. For all the exciting dogfights and action sequences, this is actually a story driven by its characters. Darian Frey is superbly crafted, and his journey of self-discovery is fascinating to watch unfold. I can only speak for myself, but if a protagonist hasn't changed over the course of the book, I find myself wondering what the point of it all is. Frey changes - a heck of a lot, and Wooding deserves credit for the way he slowly reveals Frey's background, explaining why he became the man he is, and for making his gradual change so believable.

The support cast are equally well crafted, and Wooding takes care to ensure that the story of each crew member is carefully explored - and what fascinating stories they are. While the tone of the novel is decidedly light-hearted, there's a surprising amount of darkness and angst lurking at the heart of these characters. But none fall under the cliche of 'token-person-with-a-dark-past' - yes, they are all on the run from their respective pasts, but their stories are so well constructed that it gives them real depth and resonance instead of making them tired cliches. I particularly liked Crake's story, which provides a delightful twist - one of the sort that you realise just before it's revealed.

Wooding's masterclass in characterisation doesn't end with the crew of the Ketty Jay, however. Frey's arch nemesis, Captain Dracken of the Delirium Trigger (yep, we have plenty of aircraft with cool names) is excellently portrayed, as are the Century Knights and various other characters that pop in and out of the story. I really like the way Wooding attempts to inject personality into characters that only appear in the story for one scene, and here his efforts really come to fruition.

The characterisation is matched by the plot. In short, it's superbly crafted and keeps you guessing. Wooding clearly decided that pace was the name of the game, and subsequently Retribution Falls rips along at breakneck speed, barely allowing you to pause for breath. Put simply, there's not a dull moment. This is aided by the fluid, accessible prose that is perfect for this sort of story. Now, I'm not familiar with Wooding's other novels, though I have had a flick through his The Braided Path trilogy (which I was rather pleased to find that I own, though how it came into my possession remains a mystery). The writing style in that trilogy seems completely different from the wry humour of Retribution Falls, so from what I can see Wooding made something of a departure from his earlier works and tried writing in a style that is totally different from anything he's done before. It works - very well indeed.

Another positive aspect is the world Wooding has created - a strange, retro-future world where airships, guns and electricity sits happily alongside daemons and 'magic' swords (yep, there's a magic sword in there - but it works really well). The pace of the plot doesn't leave much room for that much exposition regarding the world, yet Wooding manages to imbue his world with both a distinct character and history. There's plenty more to come in subsequent novels (the world seems vast) but there's plenty of cool elements that surface in this novel. I particularly liked all the references to 'The Wrack' (there's one flashback chapter concerning the inhabitants of this part of the world which had me giddy with excitement) and also the way the demons are summoned and controlled (by sound frequency as it happens - a really nice idea).

Drawbacks? Can't think of any. Honestly. The only thought that nagged me was that Malvery needed a little more development, but that - pleasingly - was addressed right at the end of the book. My only complaint is that the book had to end. Wooding has already mentioned that a follow-up is due next year, and believe me - that will be one of the first books on my list for 2010.

Verdict: Retribution Falls is a superb, ripping yarn. Great characters, tight plot, relentless pace, and a fascinating world full of promise for future instalments. Prepare to be entertained.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A heck of a lot of fun!, 19 Sept. 2011
I've always loved Chris Wooding's books ever since I first discovered his Broken Sky series in my local library as a child, and his works have just kept getting better and better. I'd have a hard time choosing between them but I have to say I think the Ketty Jay series is currently my favourite. It's got a really unique retro-futuristic world complete with airships, gunfights and sky pirates, and the detail and thought that's gone into it is amazing. The characters are what really make the book for me - they're completely individual, realistically flawed, and often laugh-out-loud hilarious. I love the banter between the crew members and have been caught giggling to myself several times while reading it. The storyline is involving and really makes you root for the Ketty Jay's crew. Even if you don't think the premise sounds like your sort of thing - I personally am usually a high-fantasy reader but I love all of Chris Wooding's books no matter what sub-genres they span - you should give it a go, I don't think you'll regret it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Retribution Falls: Swashbuckling Fun, 16 Nov. 2014
I’ve read reviews of this novel where it is compared to the TV series “Firefly”. Such comparisons are probably inevitable, given the types of characters created by Chris Wooding but they are also a little over-stated. Sure, the story involves a team of lawless, morally good misfits and their adventures aboard a ship as they travel to and from various towns and cities on an alien world. But the premise is also very different in-so-far-as it takes place in a universe where the ordinary laws of science don’t apply.

I’ve read very little cyberpunk so I cannot say how this book stands up against its peers. What I will say is that Mr Wooding has produced a well-structured, fast-paced story with well-developed characters and a mystery that unfurls nicely and comes to a satisfactory conclusion. It is part one of a four part series, under the title “Tale of the Ketty Jay”. Yes, I recommend the book to those not totally hung-up on the purity of the cyberpunk genre, and who are just looking for a good yarn to enjoy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer escapist joy!!!, 29 April 2010
By 
Jeff "roadrunner" (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay (Tales of the Ketty Jay 1) (Paperback)
I absolutely loved this book!!!! I haven't enjoyed a book so much in ages. Totally escapist fantasy adventure. I urge you to ignore any comments below 4* here as being way off beam and perhaps overly critical. It's well written, full of action and as Joe Abercrombie has it on the cover "it left me with a big smile on my face". Can't wait for the next one. Do give this one a go. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced, action packed, loved it, 1 Dec. 2011
By 
M. Harding (Somerset, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What is there not to love about this book? It's difficult to find another book to compare this too, to give you an idea what to expect, maybe think Star Wars crossed with Pirates of the Caribbean and you will have some idea. A good old fashioned pirate adventure set in a futuristic / retro world of airships, star fighters, pistols and cutlasses. The characters are superbly well developed, each has their own story which comes out as the book progresses, and just as a pirate crew should, range from the insane to the brilliant, but with one thing in common, all of them running from something. The pace of the book is unrelentingly fast, with lots of great action scenes and as any pirate book should be full of scheming characters all of whom are pursuing their own angle and won't let anyone else get in their way. Thoroughly recommended, I think Black Bart would have really enjoyed this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Steampunky action adventure, 31 July 2012
By 
G. Peckham "pixieitch" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this book after reading another of Chris Wooding's books. My partner and i took it in turns to read it, and neither of us could put it down. It's got very British humour, and follows the lives of a defunct group of sky pirates - they'd call themselves freebooters.
Excellent character developments, the story follows everyone's POV, and the storyline is also very engaging.
This book is a little bit of everything. Adventure, action, fantasy/sci fi (but just a little) steampunk (not pretentiously), comedy, mystery, crime, even a little romance of sorts. A great swashbuckling adventure, that continues into it's follow on novels, which are all equally as good. (Not your typical sequels)
I can't wait for the next novel in the series, and cannot speak highly enough of the tales of the Ketty jay.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 38 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay (Tales of the Ketty Jay 1)
Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay (Tales of the Ketty Jay 1) by Chris Wooding BA (Paperback - 18 Jun. 2009)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews