The Aeronaut’s Windlass (Cinder Spires 1) by Jim Butcher

“VERDICT: The author blends familiar steampunk and fantasy elements (airships, wizardry, and heroes from a monarch’s guard) in a fresh and wonderful way that results in a fantastic ride. This should well satisfy fans of fantasy, sf, or their stepchild steampunk.

With this novel, Butcher (“The Dresden Files” series) launches a new fantasy series, and it is a splendid beginning indeed. After throwing a carefully calculated tantrum, Gwendolyn Lancaster, heir to one of the most powerful families in Spire Albion, enlists in the Spirearch’s Guard in which she meets her cousin Benedict, a warriorborn who has the blood of lions in his veins, and Bridget Tagwynn, last daughter of a fallen house and her guardian cat, Rowl. Adding to the mix is Captain Grimm and his airship Predator; the ensemble cast is completed with etherealist Master Ferus and his apprentice Folly. These characters’ individual concerns are soon washed away by an invasion of the spire and a call from the Spirearch himself for their unique talents. Like many a Butcher novel, once the setup is complete, the action is nonstop to the end.” — Library Journal, Starred Review