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? Retribution Falls is a well-crafted steampunk novel that immediately won me over. It is a very entertaining and refreshing read that has everything you want for 400-plus pages of delightful fun. 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. Whew! What else do you need? Plus, did I mention there is a golem - a charming Bess, "eight feet tall and five broad, a half-ton armoured monstrosity". This is a story about a bunch of misfits who are forced together by circumstances and end up developing real bonds of friendship. Among others, we have a captain with a truly rotten luck, a demonist haunted by a dark secret, and a navigator who appears undead heartbeat-challenged. 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. They start as a bunch of outcasts with no better prospects; they end up as a crew and *gasp* friends. Ahem... almost... unless gold is involved.Darian Frey, the captain, starts as a classical antihero. He does not care that much for his crew (much to frequent and well-deserved dismay of Crake). 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 ... well, you're pretty much screwed. The aforementioned list is below: But a heist gone terribly wrong combined with a few life lessons may just do the trick. This rogue Johnny Depp-esque captain just may turn out to have a heart of gold, after all. (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 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. The story is very much character-driven, but definitely not at the expense of the plot. The politics of this world are well-weaved into the story, and it does not have the clunky exposition feel of many other stories out there. The pacing is excellent, the world-building superb, the writing is good, crisp, and engaging. 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. Excellent read! So good. Loved it. Great concept, excellent execution. Can't wait to read the rest of this series. Also - I want to pilot an airship. Easy 5 stars.