Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding (Tales of the Ketty Jay #1)

Chris Wooding

Retribution Falls gave me book hangover. Right now I am so disinterested in reading any other book but the sequel (The Black Lung Captain), but I can’t read that until I get paid and can go buy it this weekend.

I forget where exactly I first saw a review for this book, but it described it as a little bit of Firefly, Pirates of the Caribbean, and steampunk mashed up into one book and that reviewer wasn’t far off. How can you not want to read a book that’s described like that??? I went to the library that day and checked it out. Anyways, so this book is about Captain Darian Frey and his airship the Ketty Jay. Frey has assembled a rag-tag crew who are all running from something – there’s the new navigator Jez who’s hiding a secret, Crake is a daemonist on the run with his armored golem, Malvery is a doctor trying to drink his guilt away, and there are a couple other crew members as well. When someone offers Frey a job that seems too good to be true, he takes it up – not telling his crew that it would make him much richer. But when the job goes wrong, Frey and his crew become Vardia’s new Most Wanted and they’re dodging  bounty hunters and the Century Knights. Frey realizes that he was set up, but it takes some investigating and the crew learning to work together to uncover the truth that will hopefully set them all free.

I loved this book.  I can’t think of a bad thing to say about it. The story starts off a bit slow, but that’s okay because (this being the first steampunk-ish novel I’ve ever read) it allowed me to get used to the world, setting, and characters. Getting to know each of the characters was fun and exciting, as they’re all complex and have secrets and mysteries in their past and I liked guessing what they were before they were eventually revealed. They all have faults, which makes them realistic. Even though they all start off very divided, the crew really does slowly come together over time and the book ended with such a feeling of camaraderie that I had a big smile on my face, and a desperate need to get to the sequel to see what happens to them next. I’m not even sure who my favorite character is – Frey, Jez, and Crake are all so awesome in different ways.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the plot and story, and this is probably why I like pirates and anti-heroes. There was plenty of action and things never got boring. There were gun fights and situations that seemed hopeless. There are cutlasses and lever-action shotguns and a huge kick-ass golem. And I love that the book didn’t shy away from the gritty details in the fight scenes. I really liked that pretty much all the women introduced were totally kick-ass. I liked the little bits of steampunk machinery, daemonism, and magic. This would make a FANTASTIC movie or TV show.

Aahhhh I could go on about this book all day! There were so many good bits, and the writing was really good. Like I said, I never got bored. There were several parts that were wonderfully snarky and great, and I can’t wait to get my own copy of this book to re-read and underline the parts I like best. And I really, really cannot wait to go get the sequel in a couple of days and read it. For some reason the library system in my area doesn’t have the sequel or I’d be reading it already, but in all honesty I’m perfectly happy to go buy my own copy.

So, someone please read this? If you love Firefly and pirates and stories of people of shady moral character, this is totally the book for you.

 Okay, done fan-girling now.

Sarah Says: 5 stars



    1. Oh thank god you commented. I was seriously willing to tweet about it all day long until someone left some comment love, LOL. Now I can be lazy on the couch and ignore the world for the rest of the day (I think I’m getting sick, ugh).

      I REALLY did enjoy it though. It’s not genius literature or anything, but it was so fun and I’m surprised by how well much it sucked me in without me realizing it.


  1. Loved your review. I read all four books in 18 days on my iPhone. Damn, I should have tried and spread them to last longer…

    I expected swashbuckling action with airships, but got sooooo much more. So much depth, self-reflexion and character development, it feels almost as if a woman had written it. I got this much emotions from a Robin Hobb novel.
    I do think this qualifies as dieselpunk more than steampunk thou. Just saying.


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