Review of The Guns Above (Signal Airship #1), by Robyn Bennis

I received a copy of The Guns Above, by Robyn Bennis, through Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
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?

This was a really quite enjoyable read. I liked the idea of the first female airship captain. I loved the banter and wry witticisms in the face of danger. The writing was wonderful and I liked all the characters (or rather, liked the ones I was meant to like and disliked the ones meant to be toad-like).

I would have liked to understand the characters as well as the battles. The book is heavy on detailed descriptions of air battles and light on the internal workings of the characters themselves. I liked them, but I wouldn’t say we get to know them well, Josette especially.

I would liked to compliment Bennis on having a man be attracted to ‘older’ (than him) women and not making it a joke. Allowing that women in their 50s (and beyond) can be sexy and sexual was a breath of fresh air.

Lastly, as an introduction to a series this works well. But it is just a slice of a larger pie. We meet the captain, crew and tag-along dandy. They bicker and fight a couple battles in a larger war. Then it ends, with the understand that there is more of the same to come. It felt a bit anchor-less.

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