The only flaw, if I had to find one, is that it's a slow burner. The first half of the book is good but, by about halfway through, when everything starts clicking into place, it becomes impossible to put down.
I thought, when I started reading it, that the vocabulary would put me off but you soon pick it up. (Now... if I can avoid calling all my friends "old stick!") The language is really something. It's as if it was painted with words instead of written - you might think that I'm exaggerating but it really is that beautiful.
It isn't the lightest book to read, though. Seriously, this book weighs a ton! (Sorry... couldn't help it.) It's a heavy read, full of enough symbolism and metaphor to make any high school English teacher clap her hands in glee, but totally worth it.
The Court of the Air is a gloriously steampunk tale as epic as Lord of the Rings and as witty as The Belgariad. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book of the series!
I want to share some of my favourite lines from this novel with you:
"A mind is the hardest thing to improve and the easiest thing to waste." (p. 13)
"The art of leadership is knowing when the mob's applause has become a self-destructive echo." (p. 63)
"Often that which you do not say means as much as that which you do, and sometimes knowing the future can change it." (p. 72)
"Freedom from rules does not equate to safety." (p. 75)
"I find it difficult to focus on the words in the books, old shell. I am not sure if that is a function of my fading sight or the distraction of too many accumulated memoreis." (p. 164)
"When you're faced with mob dynamics, taking the wolf without killing the flock is all but impossible." (p. 172)
"Sanity seems to be a relative term when applied to those who serve in the navy." (p. 180)
"When you see a difference in a person and can find only wickedness in it - you and them - the them becomes fair game, not people anymore but obstacles to the greater good, and it's always open season on the them." (p. 216)
"Are not all of our achievements built upon the soulders of those who have preceeded us in the world?" (p. 250)
"The bonds of friendship dwindles with age, Oliver. But a little blackmail lasts forever." (p. 295)
"She loves us yet, as we scar her skin and consume her resources, she loves us yet, as we steal her power and draw songs of sorcery from her leylines." (p. 447)
"In my experience honest men do not normally insist upon their virtue." (p. 454)
"Strength has no meaning unless it is used in the service of the weak. One stick may be snapped but the bundle is a community, and the community will never break." (p. 474)
"Do not be afraid for us, young fastblood. We do not fear the darkness before we are made activate, why should we fear what may come after?" (p. 516)
"We are notes in a song. The notes are played out and the song of the great pattern goes on forever." (p. 516)