The ladies here at Badass Book Reviews love Jim Butcher. Most of us are readers of The Dresden Files, and as big fans of his novels as we are, we awaited the release of The Aeronaut’s Windlass on pins and needles from the moment the news of a new series broke. I know that I personally was excited, because I started reading Dresden late and felt like this was my opportunity to get on board the train immediately.
Right away I was intrigued, and it was all because of the prologue. In the prologue we’re introduced to Gwen Lancaster as she prepares to head off to learn how to fight in Spire Albion’s guard. Pretty quickly you get a sense that Gwen is fiercely independent and very aware of where her responsibilities lie. Quite honestly it was refreshing to read a female character that maintains a feminine personality who isn’t afraid to attack life aggressively. I’ve read a few reviews that called her ‘bitchy’, but I honestly doubt anyone would be questioning her actions if she’d been a male character.
It’s a good thing that the prologue was so intriguing, because when Chapter 1 started I found myself struggling to pay attention to the story when reading. Chapter 1 introduces Captain Grimm, and I wish I could say it was love at first read, but to be perfectly honest I found him boring and dry. What enjoyment I got from his parts of the stories came from the crew of the Predator and not actually from Grimm himself. Not at first anyway. Over the course of the story I found myself warming up to him, in particular I thought that his interactions with Gwen in the second half of the story were actually intriguing. When I finished The Aeronaut’s Windlass I felt that there’s a lot more to Captain Grimm than I initially thought. I know that Butcher doesn’t do romance focused stories, but I can’t help but hope that someone comes along to soften and sweeten Grimm.
My favorite part of the story, and the stuff that kept me coming back for more, was Bridget, Benedict, and of course Rawl. Seriously, I almost feel like it wasn’t fair of Butcher to include the character of Rawl. Who doesn’t like badass warrior cats in any story! Rawl made Puss in Boots feel like a pansy! He was clever, and wily. I loved the cat-like reactions and mannerisms he had. I loved when he went to a meeting with another cat they ignored each other for hours to prove which cat was the dominant cat. I loved that while Rawl was eating up Bridget’s love and affection he would pretend as though he were irritated by her mussing his fur. Cat’s absolutely believe that they are superior to humans in every way, and Prince Rawl was no exception. His endearing arrogance was perfectly balanced by his love for his best friend Littlemouse, aka Bridget.
ANNNND Bridget and Benedict. Benedict was Gwen’s cousin. He’s warriorborn. He’s insecure about it. Bridget is noble, but sadly she’s from the lowest noble house on the totem pole. They’re poor, and unseemly by most noble standards and she’s fine with that, proud of her father even. When they met I thought perhaps Bridget would get a crush on the handsome Benedict, but the friendship that grew between them really surprised me. Bridget doesn’t feel like the character who would dabble in a possible romance, and that’s what made it all even better.
Actually, now that I’m thinking about it Bridget’s friendships with everyone were the highlights. Her relationship with Benedict, her love for Rawl, and his love for her. Even the sweet kindness that Bridget and Folly showed each other, despite Folly’s apparent insanity.
Bridget is the best character in the story.
Nicely done, Mr. Butcher. I am glad I got to read it with the rest of the world.