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Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

Retribution Falls (2009)

by Chris Wooding

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tales of the Ketty Jay (1)

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5434118,474 (3.82)86
Recently added bydyfdd1, private library, AnnieMod, amer_anwar, MadmaHord, redgeling, Nqvgz
  1. 40
    Serenity: Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon (Jannes)
    Jannes: Retribution falls is, for better or worse, essentially Firefly/Serenity in steampunk drag.
  2. 30
    The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (majkia)
    majkia: outsiders, thieves, heists, pirates
  3. 00
    Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Alliebadger)
  4. 00
    Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (Jannes)
    Jannes: Airships and high adventure in a post-apocalyptic and retrofuturistic word. Also: air pirates.

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English (39)  French (2)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
From the very start, it's clear this is a steampunk take on Firefly. It does a pretty good job of it, too. It's rollicking fun, with a airship full of damaged characters caught up in some wicked politics way beyond their scope. There's lots of action and intrigue, so it reads fast.

Captain Frey is a very damaged sort. I can see how his character could turn off a reader completely. However, I'm willing to stick with him and see how he grows, and I was satisfied with that shift. He's like the Grinch, slowly growing a heart. The rest of the cast is fascinating, but the book really felt like an introduction to them. A lot of background information didn't emerge until near the end, which was kinda frustrating. It's a good incentive to read onward in the series to find out more. I really want to know more about Bess and Jez. ( )
  ladycato | Dec 14, 2014 |
More please! ( )
  ladypembroke | Nov 22, 2014 |
First, if you want to read a story of noble heroes then this is not a story for you. This book doesn't have heroes. What it does have is a great and fast story, more than interesting characters and their slow and beautifully done development, so by the time I finished reading, I loved them.

We are introduced to the crew of the Ketty Jey through Jez, a petite and great navigator who is new to the crew. Malvery is introducing them and hers are the first impressions we have of them. Malvery is a huge man with a contagious laugh. Nothing seems to disturb him. Pinn and Harken are outflyers whose job is to protect the Ketty Jay. Pinn is one of the ugliest people in the book and he is really stupid. Harken is only normal when he is alone and flying, or when he isn't expected to talk or argue. These two are complete opposite. Pinn doesn't seem to grasp the concept of death or danger at all and Harken sees the danger even in the most ordinary things. Silo is an engineer on the Ketty Jay and he doesn't talk much. The last two people Jez meets are Darian Frey and Crake. Crake is an educated man and a daemonist who is hiding from the law. Darian Frey is their captain. Soon after the introductions, she gets to see Bess, Crake's golem, in action and later their weird cat. There is no loyalty or friendship among them and they seem thrown in together by accident. Malvery's description in the beginning is the best way to see what you get with this crew. ‘Look at us! We’re not smugglers or pirates. We’re not a crew! The Cap’n’s only the cap’n ’cause he owns the aircraft; I wouldn’t trust him to lead a bear to honey. None of us here signed on for adventure or riches, ’cause sure as spit there’s little enough of either.’ He gave Crake a conspiratorial wink. ‘But mark me, ain’t one of us that’s not running from something, you included. I’ll bet my last swig of rum on that.’ The Ketty Jey has been set up and almost everyone is after them, so in order to save themselves they have to find out who set them up and why. It works for well organized crews, but this group is anything but. It is a fast-paced adventure and action story with more than one point of view (the writing is great and the characters' voices are distinct).
I loved the character development. It is masterfully done. Darian Frey from the beginning of this book is a completely different person from the one in the end. That goes for most of the other characters too. From "ragged collection of vagrants" they become "a miniature society, the denizens of the Ketty Jay, and they needed one another to survive."
There are tons of books where either characters or the plot are what makes the story good. Retribution Falls has them both. What I loved is the way Wooding didn't reveal the characters' stories all at once. He keeps us waiting and wondering by revealing what happened to them in the past bit by bit (Jaz's story is the most intriguing).
( )
  Irena. | Aug 26, 2014 |
Airships, pirates, treasure, double crossings and a fabled pirate city...this book has it and more!

Chris Wooding has given us a fun steampunk adventure in Retribution Falls. A classic plot of a hapless crew set up to be the fall guys in an assassination. You have the jaded captain and his crew of men (and one woman) who are all running or hiding from the pasts. Their mission....prove their innocence. This is where the fun begins!

The story did seem to drag in the beginning and I was about to put it down but decided to persevere. I'm glad I did. The plot and the pace of the novel does pick up about a third into the book. At this point Mr. Wooding shows the reader his expertise as a story teller.

The remainder of the book is filled with adventures wherein our hapless crew are put in various life or death situations. The author fosters this impression with fresh & lively prose.

There are a bunch of main and secondary characters in this story but of course it is focused upon the seven crew members and their back story. I liked all the characters. Wooding did not portray any of them as angels who had been given a bad break; they are all flawed with Captain Frey topping the list. However, his character is so richly written that you can't hope but root for him.

So with the exception of a slow beginning, this novel does take the reader on a fun and action packed adventure. ( )
  NancyNo5 | Jul 14, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

At first glance, Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding sounded like a sure bet. Sky pirates? I’m there. Steampunk setting? Count me in. Endless rave reviews from a dozen fantastic authors (Joe Abercrombie in particular) sealed the deal. Unfortunately, the resulting book doesn’t quite live up to those high expectations.

Retribution Falls tells the story of a ship called the Ketty Jay, captained by one Darian Frey and crewed by a collection of misfits and rejects, all of whom are hiding secrets and running from something in their past. Frey is a paranoid, selfish drunk, who seems only to keep a crew so that he can run the jobs that pay for his drink, drugs and card games. Frey only really cares about his ship, and jealously guards the ignition codes from anyone and everyone, even when the life of one of his crew members is at stake in an early scene.

After escaping a close scrape at the start of the book, Frey’s luck seems to be looking up when he’s given a plum job with an assured payout of fifty thousand ducats. He eagerly accepts, and only when the job goes horribly wrong does it become clear that he’s been set up. The rest of the book is spent with Frey and his crew alternately running from the law and trying to unravel the mysterious conspiracy that chose Frey and his crew as its scapegoats. Along the way, Frey slowly learns to trust his crew members, and we begin to uncover some of the events that drove each of them into the outlaw life.

As I read, the book slowly grew on me, but it took a really long time getting there. I read the first one-hundred pages in fits and starts over a month, and only really started to feel invested around the two-hundred page point of the book, when we finally start getting a glimpse into the mysterious backstories of Crake, the ship’s daemonist, and Jez, the apparently immortal navigator.

However, it wasn’t so much that I was starting to like the characters; it was simply that I was curious enough about their backstories to keep reading. As a rule, the characters in Retribution Falls are archetypes that never quite rise above their origins. If you stick around long enough to make it to the end, they do become slightly more interesting and/or sympathetic. Unfortunately, far too much of the book is spent with unlikeable characters who only reveal questionable past actions, or ciphers who hold their mysteries (and personalities) too close to their chests.

One of the most glaring problems this book faces is its striking similarity to a certain late, lamented scifi/western TV series about a band of misfits running from the law in their ramshackle spaceship. You know how Amazon recommends similar products on their pages? Here it doesn’t quite apply. If you liked Firefly, you’ll probably have a hard time escaping unfavorable comparisons when reading this book. With better character development and more detailed world-building, Retribution Falls might have risen above such easy accusations of similarity, but as it is it reads more like a pale imitation of better things.

Strangely enough, despite the tone of this review, when I was done with the book I felt like I might be interested in reading another installment in this series, in the hopes that later volumes would tighten up the storytelling and better develop returning characters. Ultimately, the honest truth is that if this was a library book I probably would have returned it unfinished after reading fifty pages. I really only gave it a chance to redeem itself because it was a review copy. ( )
  unsquare | Feb 6, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chris Woodingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martiniere, StephanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The smuggler held the bullet between thumb and forefinger, studying it in the weak light of the store room.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345522516, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:33 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the wrong side of the law, avoiding the heavily armed flying frigates of the Coalition Navy. With their trio of ragged fighter craft, they run contraband, rob airships and generally make a nuisance of themselves. So a hot tip on a cargo freighter loaded with valuables seems like a great prospect for an easy heist and a fast buck. Until the heist goes wrong, and the freighter explodes. Suddenly Frey isn't just a nuisance anymore - he's public enemy number one, with the Coalition Navy on his tail and contractors hired to take him down. But Frey knows something they don't. That freighter was rigged to blow, and Frey has been framed to take the fall. If he wants to prove it, he's going to have to catch the real culprit. He must face liars and lovers, dogfights and gunfights, Dukes and daemons. It's going to take all his criminal talents to prove he's not the criminal they think he is ...… (more)

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