- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Gollancz; UK ed. edition (8 April 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0575085169
- ISBN-13: 978-0575085169
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 19.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 87 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 233,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay (Tales of the Ketty Jay 1) Paperback – 8 Apr 2010
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A fast, furious, tongue-in-cheek SF romp.
Frey is the leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of smugglers, occasional pirates and sometime fraudsters. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the wrong side of the law, existing on the fringes of the empire, avoiding the attention of the Union Navy. With two ragged fighter craft and a small cargo ship on the verge of falling apart, he and his gang run contraband, rob ships and generally make a nuisance of themselves. So a hot tip on a cargo barque loaded with valuables seems like a great prospect for an easy heist and a fast buck ...right up until, on their opening salvo, the whole thing explodes. Suddenly Frey isn't a nuisance anymore - he's public enemy number 1 with the Union on his tail and contractors hired to take him down. Including his oldest and dealiest rival, Frey's ex-wife. But something about the explosion doesn't make sense. The barque must have been rigged to blow, and Frey's been framed to take the fall.But if he wants to prove it, he's going to have to catch the real culprit - and that means heading into the heart of the Union, and following a trail through the criminal underworld that could ultimately lead to the very top.It's going to take all his criminal talents to prove he's not a criminal ... See all Product description
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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.
I really enjoyed the story and the way the characters were developed, with their back stories coming throughout the book. Frey is someone you love to hate, but I think he makes a good main character. I think it's interesting that most of the characters were ones that you don't really *want* to like e.g. Crake, Malvery, Frey... they've all got horrid stuff going on in their pasts. However throughout the story you end up rooting for them, you don't want them to die, you're mourning their losses, you're cheering with them.
I gave it 4 stars (probably more like 4.5) instead of 5 just because at times I felt it was a *little* bit clunky and there were parts where I felt it was just a tad too "simple".
I would definitely like to see what happens later in the series, as I hear the next ones are even better!
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
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