SkyKeep is book 2 of the highly enjoyable steampunkish airship fantasy series by Joseph R Lallo. I may have got the first as a freebie, but I’m happy to purchase the rest of them. The standard is excellent.
SkyKeep (Free-Wrench #2)
by Joseph R Lallo
It has taken some adjustment, but Nita Graus has made quite a home for herself among the crew of the Wind Breaker. Under her skillful care it has become one of the only airships to stay aloft without the continuous repair and oversight of the vile and manipulative fug folk. Word of her adventures with Captain Mack, Gunner, Lil, Cooper, and Wink has made the whole crew into living legends among the residents of the mountain towns of Rim, but in doing so it has also made finding safe harbor virtually impossible. Agents of the fug folk and those working on their behalf hide in every cloud and skulk in every shadow.
Only one town, a place called Lock, is willing to welcome the Wind Breaker into port. Most of the townspeople have already been shunned by the Fug Folk, and as such have little to lose in aiding and abetting the crew. Captain Mack, mindful of his advancing age and the risks he’s had to request of his crew time and time again, has begun to plan for his retirement. Plans are swiftly derailed when the fug folk hatch a plan of their own, splitting the crew and locking Nita away in the floating prison known as Skykeep.
Skykeep is the second book in the Free-Wrench saga and continues to chronicle the adventures of Nita and her new crew as they continue to clash with the twisted figures who control the destiny of a continent. [goodreads]
I quickly remembered who was who and what was what in this beautifully developed world. There is a joy about an airship filled with pirates in a land where half the land is swamped in poisonous gas and the rest is mainly islands. And whilst the crew are many and varied, well, not that many, but very varied, it adds to an exciting mix. Especially the strange beings who the builders require to be on every airship, to maintain them.
Although not as cute as C S Boyack’s wonderful vegetable pirates, it soon becomes clear that some of them do not want to do the jobs they’ve been assigned. Which is good for Nita and the human crew. It also provides them with several ways of carrying out their extremely danegrous mission that would otherwise have been impossible.
And the sky prison that Nita gets thrown into is a masterpiece of physics, meteorology and physiology. Most of the prisoners are fug folk, and prefer to breathe the noxious air. For Nita and her companion, that will kill them. So different levels bring dangers to different people – punishment is upwards for the locals, downwards for Nita. It’s these sort of details that I admire greatly, and make me enjoy the excellent plot even more.
There are plenty of twists, some excellent bystanders with side plots, and a thrilling chase/fight or two.
I can’t wait for the next one!