Published: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Tor Books
Series: Signal Airship #2
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“All’s fair in love and war,” according to airship captain Josette Dupre, until her hometown 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 the nation’s military and royal leaders in order to drum up support. The foppish and mostly tolerated 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.
By Fire Above is one of those books that comes in as a strong sequel to a series that seems fairly underappreciated. The whole premise of the first female airship captain outsmarting the enemy and leading heroic maneuvers is quite fascinating. Though it’s been a year since I read the first book it didn’t take me long to recall the details thanks to promptings in the beginning of this installment. I do wish books had a quick recap though… it would make life so much easier.
I greatly enjoyed Josette’s exploits in this book, including but not limited to her conquering of Lord Bernat’s brother. I’m still not sure if she did it entirely to spite Bernie or if she actually had feelings for the fellow. The better late than never disposal of a disagreeable crewmember was also one of my favorite parts because idiots like that really do end up in charge of things and they should be swiftly discharged… though perhaps not in that manner.
This book was a good mix of action (lots in the latter portion) and pomp, circumstance, and bureaucracy nearer the beginning which was nice because it gave the reader a chance to see the characters when they weren’t in panic mode. I think this book was a great pick for Tor’s Fearless Women campaign because Josette is nothing if not fearless. I mean, she boldly asked the king if her hometown could be retaken from the Vin, she personally skulked around and did reconnaissance, and led some wild charges against enemy forces. She’s really something, and her crew is staffed with severally equally competent and crazed ladies.
By Fire Above left me with a good impression and though I’m not wildly enthusiastic about the series, I think it’s good quality and plan to read it until the end. Unless it drags on and on and the quality deteriorates, but I suspect this won’t be one of those travesties. If you’re looking for a more unique military fantasy that gets out of the trenches and into the sky, you might want to check out this series. It’s a refreshing break from the abundance of military fantasy that focuses on the ground troops.