Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Review: The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis

The Guns Above
(Signal Airship #1)
Robyn Bennis
Release: May 2, 2017
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The nation of Garnia has been at war for as long as Auxiliary Lieutenant Josette Dupris can remember – this time against neighboring Vinzhalia. Garnia’s Air Signal Corp stands out as the favored martial child of the King. But though it’s co-ed, women on-board are only allowed “auxiliary” crew positions and are banned from combat. In extenuating circumstances, Josette saves her airship in the heat of battle. She is rewarded with the Mistral, becoming Garnia’s first female captain.

She wants the job – just not the political flak attached. On top of patrolling the front lines, she must also contend with a crew who doubts her expertise, a new airship that is an untested deathtrap, and the foppish aristocrat Lord Bernat – a gambler and shameless flirt with the military know-how of a thimble. He’s also been assigned to her ship to catalog her every moment of weakness and indecision. When the Vins make an unprecedented military move that could turn the tide of the war, can Josette deal with Bernat, rally her crew, and survive long enough to prove herself to the top brass?

I knew from the moment I saw the blurb by Patricia Briggs on the cover of this book that I was going to love it. The Guns Above lived up to the hype I created in my own mind after reading said blurb. It has great characters, exciting airship battles, and lots of witty humor. I didn't expect this book to be as fun or as funny as it ended up being.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm kind of sick of the "I'm the first lady to do the thing and everyone expects me to fail." trope but I still really enjoyed reading this book! Josette Dupre is a character that is the perfect balance of cocky and respectful while knowing when it's time to be a rebel. She's very confident in herself while realizing that she's still growing into her position as captain.

One of the things I loved about this book was the dual narrative. The story is told primarily from the alternating perspectives of Josette and Lord Bernat, the foppish nobleman who's assigned to the Mistral to openly spy on her. The two POVs keeps things interesting and fast-paced. I loved reading the back and forth between the two and I loved seeing how they began to understand each other as they interacted.

This book is the kind of military fantasy that I enjoy the heck out of. It struck the perfect balance of steampunk and military adventure in my eyes. I especially enjoyed the science of the airships and the descriptions of the tech. Those little details makes my inner scientist happy. The combination of interesting characters, Napoleonic warfare, and airships made for a great story and I'm intrigued to see what will happen next!

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

  4 / 5 Stars

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