Locus: Butcher’s new series, The Cinder Spires, brings a wondrously strange world to life, in which humans live in giant spires, towers of stone that extend for miles, like monolithic city states, protecting humanity from the mist-covered, deadly surface world below. Travel between spires requires airships, and battles between unfriendly spires are common. Captain Grimm of the Predator is a privateer, attacking enemy ships for his home, Spire Albion. The airship battles are in fine maritime style with a few airborne twists as ships maneuver up and down, as well as side to side to bring their guns to bear. Unfortunately, their magic shields are vulnerable, and soon Captain Grimm brings his battered ship into port at Albion, hoping to be able to replace the crystals that power and provide lift for the airships. He makes a deal to get those crystals, but also gets involved with some odd characters, including a etherealist who can see the future and a very intelligent cat named Rowl (several sections are in his point-of-view) and his human. It’s an interesting world, with some terrifying monsters, all together a nicely different sort of steampunk fantasy that promises some interesting developments to come.