Retribution Falls is the first book in Chris Woodings Tales of the Ketty Jay quartet. The majority of the story in Retribution Falls were very predictable; thats just the nature of the book after all. Not only the story was predictable, in the first half of the novel I was mostly bored because I found the excellent characterizations that Wooding implemented in The Ember Blade was completely missing. The aerial dogfights, the writing, the setting, they were all engaging in the second half but it was how invested I am in the characters that enhanced the enjoyment factor of this book by a LOT. The second half of the story was where Wooding finally displays his talent in characterizations. That said, Retribution Falls seems to receive a lot of comparison with the TV series Firefly, which I have heard only great things about and somehow havent watched yet. In this first installment, Wooding did a great job in world-building his steampunk series and leaving a lot of rooms to be improved in the sequels. Also, I found Woodings prose to be super enjoyable and pleasant to read; his prose was simple, never gets in the way of the story, and combined with the fun tone of the book, Retribution Falls was both relaxing and entertaining to read.
Youre probably asking yourself how can I assume the role of the expert on the field and label this or that if this is my first read of that kind. Retribution Falls is the first book of the Tales of the Ketty Jay series. If youre coming late to this party (like I am), I have some great news; this is already a finished series so there is no waiting for the next book to come out. Well, great thing about this series is that it can be equally enjoyed either way because Wooding intended for each novel to be a standalone and there are no cliffhanger endings. As stated in the blurb, the main character of this novel is Darian Frey, the captain of the airship Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts, or as the author calls them, a group of sarcastic, cynical, wisecracking liars. This book starts a bit sluggish and it took me some time to get immersed in this world and its characters but that changed very soon when the crew was hired to do a seemingly easy job, to attack another airship and retrieve its precious cargo.
A gun against the head of one of the people in question makes a very convincing argument for cooperation; all in all, not a very good beginning for the captain and people that ended up on his ship. If somebody asked me to describe the book in as few words as possible, I would say it is Firefly in steampunk settings. Here comes the first problem of the book.
Nataliya Gushes About This Book - Picture Frenzy - More Book Gushing - I Want To Be An Airship Pilot (*) * Oh, did I mention how much I love Jules Verne-esque chapter titles? I am serious - I mean, there are airships, sky piracy, GOLD, legendary pirate city, revolvers, adventures, danger, undead, conspiracies, betrayal, camaraderie, debauchery, and plenty of tight corners for our characters. Living on the edge of the law, constantly broke, hiding their dark secrets, and having a knack for getting tangled up in the conspiracies that seem well above their heads, this rogue pirates-wannabe bunch somehow manages to wriggle themselves out of endless tight corners while winning over the readers' hearts. Actually, the list of the things he cares for initially is pretty short, and if you are not on it (and are not a hot girl) but need Frey's help ... (The demonist Crake will definitely appreciate it, given that he has a propensity to end up in situations where a gun is held to his head.) Frey may learn to grudgingly appreciate his crew in the end (once there is no chance to obtain gold!) Frey couldnt keep down a grin. As for the setting, for me it was so much fun to trade the fun but well-used worlds of either spaceships and star travel or swords, dragons, and magicians for the steampunk setting with airships and revolvers.
When they accidentally blow up The Ace of Skulls, and with it, the archduke's son, in a misguided act of piracy, Darian Frey and the misfit crew of the Ketty Jay wind up in the soup. Retribution Falls is one of those books that's hard to classify. Actually, Frey, Jez, and Crake are the only ones that are developed enough to really care about, although I did have soft spots for Slag the cat and Bess the golem.
The series is so mind-blowingly awesome that any book pales in comparison. Retribution Falls What should have been This book was a 5-star rating waiting to happen. Potentially awesome cast of rascals and villains! The potentially awesome cast of characters wasn't awesome. The potentially awesome cast of characters was bland. The potentially awesome cast of characters was flat. The potentially awesome cast of characters was as emotional as a truckload of bricks. This book is a lesson in bad characterization. And the moral of this review is: This book should have been epic. The characters in this book should have been an awesome gang. And the moral of the moral of this review is: Characterization is crap but the world and story were pretty cool, so I'm going to give book 2 a try.
What happens if you combine The Lies of Locke Lamora with air ships, then add some Pirates of the Caribbean? I apologize for any non-Firefly comparisons. I've read Wooding before, his middle-grade books Malice and Havoc, and I learned his ability to plot is up there with Matthew Woodring Stover for me. Add the ability to make the pages blur by and Wooding (not to be confused with Woodring) is another author to add to the buy-new-releases-immediately list.
Airships, gunfights, pirates, a golem, daemons... I had a little trouble with the narrative at times, as it jumped from person to person, and the in between, the prior narrator gets lost when the next takes over.
Now thirty-nine, Chris has written over twenty books, which have been translated into twenty languages, won various awards and been published around the world. Chris lives in London.