Steampunk Critical Mass: The Signal Airship Novels by Robyn Bennis

Steampunk Critical Mass: The Signal Airship Novels by Robyn Bennis

The Guns Above-small By Fire Above-small

Last year Tor published The Guns Above, the first installment in Robyn Bennis’ Signal Airship military fantasy series, and Ann Aguirre called it “Marvelous, witty and action-packed steampunk… she honest to God made me believe you could build an airship from spare parts.” I’ve gotten pretty jaded towards author blurbs over the years, but I gotta admit that one piqued my interest.

It was hardly the only good press the book received. Liz Bourke at labeled it “immensely entertaining, fast-paced adventure,” and Patricia Briggs said it was “full of sass and terrific characters.” That all sounded pretty compelling, but I’m a guy who likes to have a couple of installments at hand before I dive into a new adventure series. So I was pleased to see By Fire Above arrive right on time last month. Here’s the description.

“All’s fair in love and war,” according to airship captain Josette Dupre, until her hometown of Durum becomes occupied by the enemy and her mother a prisoner of war. Then it becomes, “Nothing’s fair except bombing those Vins to high hell.”

Before she can rescue her town, however, Josette must maneuver her way through the nest of overstuffed vipers that make up Garnia’s military and royal leaders in order to drum up support. The foppish and mostly tolerated Mistral crew member Lord Bernat steps in to advise her, along with his very attractive older brother.

Between noble scheming, under-trained recruits, and supply shortages, Josette and the crew of the Mistral figure out a way to return to Durum ― only to discover that when the homefront turns into the frontlines, things are more dangerous than they seem.

Now that the series has reached critical mass (well, two books), it has a lot more appeal, and I’ll clear away some time this summer to give it a try. By Fire Above was published by Tor Books on May 15, 2018. It is 368 pages, priced at $26.99 in hardcover and $13.99 for the digital version. We covered The Guns Above here.

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The Guns Above is one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years, and By Fire Above is only a very small step down.

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