Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding: Building on My Love of Pirates

Sky piracy is a bit out of Darian Frey’s league. Fate has not been kind to the captain of the airship Ketty Jay—or his motley crew. They are all running from something. Crake is a daemonist in hiding, traveling with an armored golem and burdened by guilt. Jez is the new navigator, desperate to keep her secret from the rest of the crew. Malvery is a disgraced doctor, drinking himself to death. So when an opportunity arises to steal a chest of gems from a vulnerable airship, Frey can’t pass it up. It’s an easy take—and the payoff will finally make him a rich man.

But when the attack goes horribly wrong, Frey suddenly finds himself the most wanted man in Vardia, trailed by bounty hunters, the elite Century Knights, and the dread queen of the skies, Trinica Dracken. Frey realizes that they’ve been set up to take a fall but doesn’t know the endgame. And the ultimate answer for captain and crew may lie in the legendary hidden pirate town of Retribution Falls. That’s if they can get there without getting blown out of the sky.

It’s pirates, guys. Pirates. Pirates.

I love pirates.

My favorite anime and manga is ONE PIECE, for crying out loud!

Hayao Miyazaki’s CASTLE IN THE SKY? CITS was what got me into Hayao Miyazaki’s work! After CITS, it was PRINCESS MONONOKE. Then SPIRITED AWAY and HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE. Then KIKI’s DELIVERY SERVICE. Then PORCO ROSSO, and MY NEIGHBOR, TOTORO. Honestly, I have seen every single movie he’s ever directed. I owe him (and my brother) for my love of anime and manga. And it all started with my fascination with CASTLE IN THE SKY.

I think what I loved most about this book was sheerly the voice of the author and of the characters.

I mean–the characters sure didn’t beat Zoro. Or Muska. Or Howl. Or oh forget it. We’ll be here all day.

Seriously though, I really enjoyed the voices of the characters and how the pacing went by from page to page. It was well-paced and I thought it was a lot of fun. I loved the growth of the characters both as a crew and as themselves. It was funny and amusing to see them get in and out of tight corners. And even though this is a serious, action-packed story, I really liked the humor of it all.

You know, I’m in the process of thinking about my next novel and I was building up a sequel to my story about dystopian France. Instead of just sticking with regular pirates, I’m branching off into skypirates. And then boom, this book comes along.

Frey couldn’t keep down a grin. As he looked at the laughing faces of his crew, he was consumed by a surge of affection for these people, these men and women who shared his aircraft and his life. They were happy, and free, and the endless sky awaited them. It was enough.

Just the inspiration and ideas I’m getting and feeling right now are amazing. I was really happy to read it and see all of the different ideas of Chris Wooding.

This book is extremely character-driven, which I really appreciated. I liked how it was about the plot, but it was driven by the actions of the characters. Very nice. I also liked the world-building and the ending. 4.5 stars. Can’t wait for more of The Adventures of the Ketty Jay!

pg count for the paperback: 384

Series: Adventures of the Ketty Jay


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