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|Print List Price:||£9.99|
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Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay Kindle Edition
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It tells the story of Darian Frey, Merchant, Smuggler, Scoundrel, his much loved battered old ship the Ketty Jay and his crew of misfits. The first in the series introduces us to Frey and his world and to his crew and builds the cast and characters, who they are and how they got there setting up the series whilst being an excellent and exciting adventure of betrayal and intrigue.
I decided to give this a go as I was looking for something fresh and new to read in the sci-fi or fantasy genre and saw this was very popular and doing well, and I noted the oft stated appeal to fans of Firefly and ordered it.
At first I was a little surprised. I'd half expected it to be set in space and for the Ketty Kay to be a spaceship (why I expected it to actually be firefly I've no idea) but I quickly got absorbed by the story and the world and in no time was in love with it. No lasers, no spaceships, a steampunk world of airships and guns and swords and utterly compelling for it. The world of Vardia is more than big enough for these adventures and provides a wonderful setting, mixing magic and a steampunk world of airship and dogfighting planes, rapidly moving the story through a host of settings and scenes and evoking a feeling of a vast world with as much variety as our own.
I absolutely loved this and went on to read the whole series in a few weeks, I really couldn't put the Kindle down when I was reading them. As a fan of adventure and Sci-Fi and, yes, Firefly, I couldn't recommend it enough, it's my favourite series of the last few years.
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.
Then, joy of joy, I picked RETRIBUTION FALLS from my 'to be read' shelf and found myself on the airship Ketty Jay with a bunch of disreputable ne'er-do-wells - an inept rag-tag crew of odd-bod pirates with interesting and shady pasts. What really set this book apart from others I've read over the past 12 months is that the characters feel real; they're interesting; Most importantly of all, I CARED about them. I didn't expect they'd all get to the end of the book still alive, and the thought that one of them might come to a sticky end actually BOTHERED me.
When you have a great bunch of characters like this, then add a good story, the result is something very special. There are none of the increasingly tired old Steampunk clichés: no vampires; no zombies; no genuine historical characters acting ridiculously out-of-character. Just a convincingly real cast and a cracking good plot.
I finished the book in bed last night. Before going to sleep, I got up, logged on, and ordered the second Ketty Jay book, The Black Lung Captain: Tales of the Ketty Jay. It's that good, and I can't wait to catch up with the crew in their next adventure.
V Highly recommended
What is unusual is that character development takes place throughout the novel, the author regaling back-stories at strategic points and one begins feeling somewhat disjointed from the characters initially, which is only a minor criticism since once development occurs, the reader quickly warms to the varied rag-tag of crew. Once in gear, the book rattles along at a fierce pace. This is one of those books where you are looking forward to the next opportunity to read what is going to happen next.
Chris Wooding has clearly imagineered this whole world and society with impressive detail and I have a sense that he has carefully researched the differences in this society that would inevitably occur if human technology had taken such a different path earlier on. He writes very well in terms of prose and the coherence of the plot. I can tell that he has carefully planned the story and this gives a rounded and very satisfying conclusion, which is unlike so many contemporary horror/sci-fi/fantasy writers who seems to all be writing to a deadline and end stories with dissatisfying whimpers or cliffhangers.
So altogether, it is a hugely enjoyable, well-realised adventure that crackles with rich invention and imagination. In fact the only other criticism I would have is that the world is so rich and well-imagined that it takes time for your mind to absorb this unusual yet familiar place. 4.5 stars out of 5.
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I really enjoyed the story and the way the characters were developed, with their back stories coming throughout the book.Read more