Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Olympian Affair by Jim Butcher
Series: The Cinder Spires #2
Published by Ace on November 7, 2023
Genres: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Urban Fantasy
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
For centuries the Cinder Spires have safeguarded humanity, rising far above the deadly surface world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses rule, developing scientific marvels and building fleets of airships for defense and trade.
Now, the Spires hover on the brink of open war.
Everyone knows it’s coming. The guns of the great airship fleets that control the skies between the last bastions of humanity will soon speak in anger, and Spire Albion stands alone against the overwhelming might of Spire Aurora’s Armada and its new secret weapon–one capable of destroying the populations of entire Spires.
A trading summit at Spire Olympia provides an opportunity for the Spirearch, Lord Albion, to secure alliances that will shape the outcomes of the war, and to that end he dispatches privateer Captain Francis Madison Grimm and the crew of the AMS Predator to bolster the Spirearch’s diplomatic agents.
I love a complex and layered story with a well developed world and characters. There are many aspects here to draw my emotions. I felt angry that the Aurora military was killing people and destroying homes for power. I felt the romance in some developing relationships. There was suspense in learning how the battles and attacks would happen and their results.
The military and battle strategies and missions were exciting and fun to read. The capabilities of the different soldiers and warriorborn, along with the complex magic was more to learn. The etherealists and their talents and oddities are something I expect we will never completely understand.
The politics of the duels and the frightening life or death realities added another layer of suspense. I felt Lady Hinton’s worry and angst and desire to protect. She was so talented in her own battle; it was thrilling. The rift in her relationship was heartbreaking. The characters here are easy to love, and hate. They are divided up more into at least two groups, tackling different missions; previously they were together as a team. Gwen in on the Predator with Captain Grimm. Benedict and Bridget are sent on different missions.
I admit I was bored by the cats. I guess they added some humor and they do have capabilities which are often helpful but their arrogance was tiring. For me, there was more humor in the first book; here things felt more dire.
What will happen now? War is definitely still coming. It was fascinating to see the players on different sides, some respecting and even working with the others, whereas others were intensely hateful without regard for anything but their goals. The ending happened at a reasonable point, not really a cliffhanger, but there are many loose ends and possibilities for the next story.
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