Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Black Lung Captain review

This is the second in the Tales of the Ketty Jay series by Chris Wooding, the first being Retribution Falls. It follows the same collection of dysfunctional miscreants as they commit petty crimes and occasionally do the right thing.

There’s a lot to be said about the good things in the book. The pace is generally rapid and exciting, without veering into frenetic chaos. With the exception of the alcoholic doctor Malvery all the charismatic crewmembers (and Pinn) are developed significantly. Plot twists festoon the story like barnacles on an abandoned ship.

As well as the Ketty Jay crew the familiar faces of some Century Knights and the devious Trinica Dracken make a reappearance, joined by the new character of chain-smoking Captain Grist.

The pace is generally fast, although it slows to merely average speed in the middle, and the author does a great job of seamlessly dovetailing the main plot with a number of significant subplots.

Once again, the world of the Ketty Jay is a delight to read about. Rifles, airships, daemonism and the like make it more original than most fantasy worlds and there’s a nice sense of grubby realism.

The storyline focuses upon a downed Mane ship and the treasures laying in wait for those who brave the dangerous island it was wrecked upon. More than that I won’t say, save that the plot lets us learn more about the Manes.

I’ve checked Mr. Wooding’s official website and am glad to report that third and fourth books in the series are coming soon. The sooner the better, I think.


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