The Ships of Air (The Fall of Ile-Rien #2)

Title: The Ships of Air

Author: Martha Wells

Tremaine and other refugees from Ile-Rien have boarded the Ravenna, a gigantic cruise ship-turned-troop transport. Technically, their goal is to jump between worlds to escape the Gardier’s bombardments of Ile-Rien and jump back once they’ve crossed to another country. But fleeing isn’t so easy. The world between their hops is home to Gardier bases, the ship has several factions aboard, and their little getaway might be far more vital to the war effort than some want.

It’s hard to think of a good way to summarize this book without giving away some of the surprises that come up. If the first book was nonstop action, this one is more suspense which eventually snowballs into more of an action-adventure. And to be honest, I had a hard time getting through the first half because of it. The story remained engaging because of its characters, but I found the events far less compelling until Tremaine ends up on the airship with no way back.

Favorite line: “I knew emphasizing firearms training over deportment lessons would benefit in the long run.”

The characters, however, are fascinating. I love watching the relationship between Giliead and Ilias—friends and brothers, boyishly playful but also longtime partners in the dangerous game of killing wizards. The other Syprians also show in so many little ways how their culture works, and especially how it clashes against the more Victorian Rienish.

I’ve figured out why I like Tremaine so much, or rather one more reason: she likes to stick it to people who annoy her. I’m also fond of her vagueness that occasionally peels back to a razor-sharp intellect, or the way she’s completely clueless about things that don’t interest her. Which is to say I enjoyed the unexpected way she gets married. And that she and Ilias actually do get married before sleeping together.

Overall this is really just the next part of the adventure that began in The Wizard Hunters, so if you’re just starting the series start with the first book. It is a good continuance of the events from there, but it does feel more like the middle chapter since it doesn’t feel like they’re in an appreciably different position at the end of the book than they were at the beginning. But if you’re fond of great characterization then by all means give this a read. I rate this book Recommended.

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