Read The Ships of Air by Martha Wells Online


Known for her lush, intricate worlds and complex characters, acclaimed author Martha Wells has delighted readers with her extraordinary fantasy novels of daring and wit. With The Wizard Hunters she launched her most ambitious undertaking yet -- the return to the beloved world of the Nebula Award-nominated The Death of the Necromancer and The Fall of Ile-Rien. Now the sagaKnown for her lush, intricate worlds and complex characters, acclaimed author Martha Wells has delighted readers with her extraordinary fantasy novels of daring and wit. With The Wizard Hunters she launched her most ambitious undertaking yet -- the return to the beloved world of the Nebula Award-nominated The Death of the Necromancer and The Fall of Ile-Rien. Now the saga continues in a triumph of suspense and imagination.Despite a valiant struggle against superior forces, the country of Ile-Rien has fallen to the onslaught of the relentless Gardier, a faceless army of sorcerers determined to conquer all civilization.To save the remnants of her country, former playwright Tremaine Valiarde undertakes an epic journey to stop the Gardier. Rescuing the proud ship Queen Ravenna from destruction, Tremaine and a resolute band of sorcerers and warriors set sail across magical seas on a voyage of danger and discovery. For the secret to defeating the enemy -- and to rescuing the world from the Gardier's inimitable hatred -- lies far beyond the walls of the world, and only the tenuous ties of friendship and honor will keep the band together.But the Gardier are not the only evil in this tumultuous world, and an ancient terror stalks the ornate rooms and shadowy decks of the Queen Ravenna -- a force so malevolent and enigmatic that even the growing power of the sorcerer's sphere may not be enough to save Ile-Rien from utter ruin....

Title : The Ships of Air
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780380807994
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 496 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Ships of Air Reviews

  • Miriam
    2019-01-02 11:33

    With new magical resources, the good guys start thinking they may have some minor chance of not being totally doomed. Absolutely read volume one first as the action is in full swing here.Additional stories about some of the characters are available free at ---------Although I highly recommend this series, don't expect to borrow my copies.So sad.

  • Ms_prue
    2019-01-03 08:50

    I love everyone one this gigantic ship, except for those two, you know who you are. And the main romantic relationship is utter perfection. Stuff it, the whole lot is utter perfection. Ensemble cast, language barriers, technology barriers, cultural barriers, mysteries and resourcefulness and bravery under pressure, and villains and allies that could really do with a punch to the face, it's got everything. And in between it all there are parts that make me laugh out loud with delight. Arii would like this series if she hasn't read it already, it's very hope-punk. And Veera you will appreciate the romance as much as I do. BRB off to read book 3 and hopefully avoid any hubris as a result of this glowing review.

  • First Second Books
    2018-12-26 10:21

    Martha Wells' Ile-Rien novels are like heist caper + court politics, and they're lovely!

  • Megan
    2019-01-10 06:45

    This book should be called "The Shipping Ship" because that is what I spent the whole book doing.

  • Coolcurry
    2018-12-21 10:44

    The Ships of Air is the second book in the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, which starts with The Wizard Hunters. I suggest reading them in order, but I actually enjoyed The Ships of Air more than the first installment.Ile-Rien has been overrun by the Gardier, the mysterious enemies who’ve been attacking them from another world. Everyone who can has evacuated, and the front of the war has moved on to a neighboring country. Our protagonists are aboard the Queen Ravenna, a luxury liner which has been converted for the war effort and given the ability to travel between worlds with the aid of a sorcerer. The goal is to avoid the Gardier patrols and get the refugees to safety. But the ship itself is not entirely safe, for a malevolent and shadowy force stalks it.I’m hard pressed to say why I liked The Ships of Air better than The Wizard Hunters. One explanation may be that I’m simply in a better mental place now. However, I think I was a lot more attached to the central characters here. Tremaine in particular grew on me. She has that fierceness that I find so appealing, and she can be rather ruthless as well. Plus she can be hilarious at times, and I love it when other characters are taken aback by her. I think Gerald actually did a facepalm at one point – it was delightful. While I wouldn’t call The Ships of Air a comedic book, there were moments when I laughed. There’s a marriage subplot that for once might be one of the highlights of the book and which lends itself to some unexpected humor.I felt like the setting was a lot stronger in this book as well. I really liked the luxurious setting of the Queen Ravenna and how it contrasted with the current circumstances. Apparently it is based on an actual ship, the Queen Mary, which I really need to look up. The subplot on the alliance between the Syprians and the Riens was something else I really enjoyed, particularly the culture clash between the two groups. There’s some new (and characteristically inventive) settings off the boat too. We get a bit more of a glimpse into the Gardier, and it’s fascinating. I can’t wait to find out more in book three.By the last hundred pages, I wasn’t able to put The Ships of Air down. Martha Wells was already one of my favorite fantasy authors, and this book has cemented her in that position.Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.

  • Jenny Koch
    2018-12-21 10:38

    I'm really enjoying this intellectually fierce heroine.

  • Angela
    2018-12-22 07:45

    30 November 2015: $3.99 on Kindle

  • Lorelei
    2019-01-15 14:36

    Ok, a lot of what I wanted from The Wizard Hunters, I got in this book. Which I guess was mostly more people talking to each other, less action? There was action, too, of course, but less time in constant immediate danger. Tremaine is still excellent, Tremaine and Ilias bantering are even better. I got a little more of a taste of Syprian culture too (though not a ton), and while the Gardier are still profoundly one-dimensional as an enemy, at least now there's a sense that this is because of something deeper going on, and not just, like, that's the way they are.

  • Dave Stone
    2018-12-19 14:44

    The Ships of Air picks right up where The Wizard Hunters leaves off. It might seem to bog down for a wile if you don't care much for character development, but then dives right back into the action with more narrative strands than I've yet encountered in a Martha Wells book. A little slower paced with a lot more tension than I normally enjoy, this is still a damn good book in it's own right and amazing for a second installment of a trilogy.

  • Susan Haseltine
    2018-12-28 12:44

    This is an excellent sequel. Good in plot, pacing and characters, adding and developing them and the worlds they inhabit.

  • l.
    2018-12-20 12:38

    this series is so much fun.i'm not thrilled with how they've written off her suicidal impulses as being magically induced though.

  • Aelvana
    2019-01-17 10:44

    Tremaine and other refugees from Ile-Rien have boarded the Ravenna, a gigantic cruise ship-turned-troop transport. Technically, their goal is to jump between worlds to escape the Gardier's bombardments of Ile-Rien and jump back once they've crossed to another country. But fleeing isn't so easy. The world between their hops is home to Gardier bases, the ship has several factions aboard, and their little getaway might be far more vital to the war effort than some want. It's hard to think of a good way to summarize this book without giving away some of the surprises that come up. If the first book was nonstop action, this one is more suspense which eventually snowballs into more of an action-adventure. And to be honest, I had a hard time getting through the first half because of it. The story remained engaging because of its characters, but I found the events far less compelling until Tremaine ends up on the airship with no way back.Favorite line: "I knew emphasizing firearms training over deportment lessons would benefit in the long run."The characters, however, are fascinating. I love watching the relationship between Giliead and Ilias---friends and brothers, boyishly playful but also longtime partners in the dangerous game of killing wizards. The other Syprians also show in so many little ways how their culture works, and especially how it clashes against the more Victorian Rienish. I've figured out why I like Tremaine so much, or rather one more reason: she likes to stick it to people who annoy her. I'm also fond of her vagueness that occasionally peels back to a razor-sharp intellect, or the way she's completely clueless about things that don't interest her. Which is to say I enjoyed the unexpected way she gets married. And that she and Ilias actually do get married before sleeping together.Overall this is really just the next part of the adventure that began in The Wizard Hunters, so if you're just starting the series start with the first book. It is a good continuance of the events from there, but it does feel more like the middle chapter since it doesn't feel like they're in an appreciably different position at the end of the book than they were at the beginning. But if you're fond of great characterization then by all means give this a read. I rate this book Recommended.

  • Lis Carey
    2019-01-18 12:40

    This is a middle book in a series, and begins with exciting action in progress that we subsequently have to piece together partial background for. It also ends more or less in mid-action, though the main issues of this volume are resolved enough.I listened to the audiobook, and some spellings below are guesses. Please forgive any errors.Tremaine Valiarde and a collection of soldiers and sorcerers from Ile-Rien have crossed into an alternate world in the former luxury liner Queen Ravenna, trying to track down the home base of the Gardier, the people who are attacking and destroying Ile-Rien. Having teamed up with a pair of local wizard hunters, Giliead and his foster brother Ilias, they have rescued kidnapped Rienish, done some damage to the Gardier, and have hopes of forming an alliance with Giliead and Ilias's people, the Cyprians, even though the Cyprians think that sorcerers are all mad and evil, and they think most of the Rienish technology is magic, along with their real magic which is an accepted part of their society.Tremaine, Giliead, and Ilias lead their band of rescued prisoners and the team of soldiers and sorcerers that helped rescue them back to the Ravenna, along with a capture Cyprian wizard, Ixion, who can't be killed because his personality would transfer to a new body he has in storage elsewhere. He's a great example of why the Cyprians have such a negative view of magic workers.The main story concerns their efforts to return to the world of Ile-Rien, join up with their allies in that world, bringing what they've learned about the Gardier to aide the war effort.Wells does a fantastic job of both world building and character development.The plot kept moving, the cultures we see each make sense in their own context, and I grew to like and care about the main characters. It's a fascinating world to explore, and I want to see more of both the Cyprians and the Rienish.Oh, and there's something really interesting going on with the Gardier, which we only get hints of in this volume.Recommended, though you may want to find The Wizard Hunters first.I bought this book.

  • Lindsay Stares
    2018-12-18 07:49

    Premise: Sequel to The Wizard Hunters, Some spoilers for Book One follow. Tremaine, Ilias and their friends from both worlds try to cement the temporary alliance between their peoples. The great passenger liner Queen Ravenna is brought between the worlds to assist in an attack on the Gardier base, only to become a floating home for the combined group of Syprian delegates and refugees from Ile-Rien. New loyalties are created and tested, and hidden dangers on the ship threaten the fragile alliance.This is a strong follow-up to the first volume. More of everything I liked, but new dimensions to some of the characters: Tremaine growing into her new roles, Giliead struggling to make his kin believe that their new allies' magic is beneficial, not evil, when he doesn't completely trust it himself. Another strong, surprising plot twist that makes perfect sense in hindsight.I enjoyed the slightly wider focus which allowed more characters to shine, including sorceress-in-training Florian, who was fantastic in Book One, but gets a bit wider use here. I was briefly confused by a sudden focus on a new character, in another land, and I thought it was a rather odd choice of scene to show. It did bother me quite a bit at first because it threw off the flow of the story, even though it all came together in the end.I also really liked that all the romance, and potential romance, is dealt with in an adult way. It is important, but it doesn't overshadow the plot either for the reader or for the characters. The war is more important than dealing with either flirtation or emotional reactions. There's even a politically motivated marriage which neatly short-circuits the sexual tension and makes the story not 'will they get together', but 'will they really love each other'. I liked that a lot.The characters in this series are constantly running up against the boundaries of what they can do with their magic, and trying to reconcile the logic of three very different systems doesn't make it easy on them.On to Book Three!

  • Jim
    2018-12-30 13:48

    One of the things that has always drawn me to fantasy is that I love reading about the imaginative new worlds that an author creates, and meeting the people who live in them and seeing what kind of lives they lead and what their culture is like. It's like going on a voyage of exploration without leaving my living room. Martha Wells has a real talent for world-building, and it is on full display in this book. With Ile-Rien overrun, the main characters are basically in exile, traveling to unknown lands, discovering new places in the world of the Syrnai and getting their first look at the homeland of the mysterious Gardier enemies. What really elevates this book a notch is an undercurrent of suspense that was largely missing from The Wizard Hunters, as the ship on which they are journeying also carries two very dangerous passengers on board, one a captive enemy wizard and the other a malevolent entity of unknown power that is stalking and killing people. With other Wells books I've been left feeling like the buildup was great but the ending didn't pay it off. This time she finally delivered; I was glued to my chair for last hundred pages or so as the key events both on and off the ship came to their climax.I will share my thoughts on the series as a whole with my review of the third book, but after finishing all three, I can confidently say that The Ships of Air is my favorite of the trilogy.

  • Just A. Bean
    2019-01-08 08:42

    Loved it even more rereading, as I could see what everything was building up to. For a story that was about a boat getting from one side of a sea to the other, there was a lot going on. I can't say if I want to talk about specific plots because spoilers, but the romance subplot was great, leading to my two favourite scenes in the series.I love all the little beats and call backs, like the two iron age warriors running into a portrait of the main characters from the first novel, and having a completely different take on it.Tremaine seriously is the best hero (well, probably not the best to be around, but the best to read about). She has this combination of bloody-mindedness, intuition , irony and sudden compassion that you don't see in a lot of female leads. I love watching how her head works, and then outsider points of view on her as things shift.I am rather bored with the Ixion subplot. It's got an aura of "curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal" about it that's just not very interesting to follow. Still, he's a moving part of the pay off next book, so he can't be all bad.

  • Erica
    2018-12-31 08:33

    Every once in while, you stumble upon a book (or series) that is life-changingly good. I suppose for many people, this series might just be a fun romp--danger, adventure, some plucky and refreshingly sarcastic main characters. Even just in epic fantasy terms, this series is unique in many ways (I can't recall how many fantasy/sci fi posts have ranted about things not being seen often enough for which the answer was: the Fall of Ile-Rien did it).But for me, it went beyond that. When asked a few years ago to list 10 fictional characters who had most influenced me, Tremaine Valiarde was I believe the first on my list. I still sometimes ask myself: what would Tremaine do? (Which is a question that should terrify anyone who's actually read the books, but sometimes you need to consider the approach of someone so utterly unlike one's self.)Anyway, all that to say: these books are fantastic. The characters are fleshed out and real, warts and all, main characters and minor, and all the family connections as well. Great cultural relations, amazing worlds, fun interactions, and grand multi-world conflicts.

  • Vicki G
    2019-01-18 10:38

    I read through this book, and knew for certain I would not finish the series. I don't know what happened in the author's life between Wizard Hunters and this book, but it must have been a pivotal event, b/c this book seems like it went way off the plot's track and into some situation that only the author understands.By which I mean the main character changed so wildly, I no longer related to any damn thing she did nor did I understand why the character had become altered.But by the end of the book, my attitude was "I have no further interest in identifying w/ this character."That's just me, and I'm certainly no professional critic, but people's character's-when they do change-do so w/ a lot more stimulus than what I saw in the book. People don't change out of thin air, and I speak from experience when I make that statement.Even people who WANT to become different have a hard time making it a reality; that's why they need the intense stimulus for doing so.

  • Sarahz
    2019-01-15 09:48

    Still enjoyed this one, but the plot was a bit lacking - I felt like it had some middle-book-itis, mostly just serving to get everyone from point a to point b. Still, some great character work, especially with the developing relationships between Tremaine and the Syprians who come along on the ship. Florian gets a bit backgrounded this time, and the character development I expected Ander to have never really happened, which sort of made me wonder why he was there. I guess not all jerks eventually develop into nice people - some just stay annoying and patronizing. The ways in which the world gets expanded and the new stuff we learn about the Gardian world & civilization are fun.

  • Macha
    2018-12-28 11:35

    3 & 1/2 stars. i liked this one. but so far it's the only one that's come to hand, and it's the middle book of a trilogy. so i was a bit hampered getting a sense of the scale of the things. not to mention why one of the worlds (Ile-Rien) seems to be derived from our contemporary culture, only it's gone a bit towards the medieval on account of the existence of magic. so i could have used a gloss, and for that matter going with one of them there cast of characters would have been kind. the interesting thing, though, is the character Tremaine, who feels really real, is modern as all get out, and is interesting and likeable enough to see me off looking for Books 1&3.

  • Liz
    2018-12-23 12:49

    Today's plan: devour this trilogy to avoid doing any work.So far, so good.This series remains incredibly fun and almost compulsively readable. Wells does the kind of steampunk that I like - brass fittings and airships, but not a whole lot of mucking around with (and thus mucking up) Victorian culture. I like epic fantasy on this scale of world wars. It reminds me of Kate Elliott's Spiritwalker Trilogy and Rae Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorn, although it antedates both. It's that kind of story with added snark as a bonus.

  • Donna
    2018-12-27 10:20

    Great second book in this trilogy. I like that Tremaine is a very complicated character--it seems at times that her anger and talk of violence are overblown, but then she calmly shoots someone in the back in the head and you realize she's going to do what she has to and deal with the demons later. My only criticism is the complete nondevelopment of the Gardier world. I get that it's a plot device--having to battle against an enemy with no understanding of why you're even being attacked--but it leaves too big a hole for me. Still, great stuff and I'm moving right on to the third book.

  • Corvidae
    2018-12-28 13:42

    This one was my favorite of the trilogy. A bit of a spoiler inc: the descriptions that she uses to describe the ship that they evacuate on seemed very familiar to me. As I read, I found myself thinking, "Wow, this sounds like the Queen Mary." Also the function of the ship--luxury liner turned wartime transport--was similar to the Queen Mary. And sure enough, at the end of the book, she cites that the Queen Mary was the major inspiration for her. Living in Long Beach now, whenever I see the QM, I think about this book and smile.

  • Kristi
    2018-12-27 12:40

    Loved this part of The Fall of Il-Rien! Enjoyed this first book and the second one just got better. I appreciate how this author has created worlds so believable you can just fall right into them. I like the balance of magic, mystery, suspense and romance and how those all work together to build up the tension. There was 1 little surprise I saw coming, but it was so well done, it didn't distract me from the story when it was revealed. Instead I was just excited to find out I was right. Read this series! The time will fly by!

  • Elena
    2019-01-11 12:27

    This one was a slow starter for me (perhaps because it was hard to jump right back into the world - or perhaps because the protagonist's sense of disconnection at the beginning of the book bleeds into the narrative), but it picked up after about 75 pages and continued to build in excitement and intrigue for the rest of the story. I especially appreciate the unusual characterization and worldbuilding.

  • Laura
    2019-01-16 13:46

    I love Martha Wells' Ile-Rien series. I wish she would write more! (unlikely, apparently, unless her publisher comes around)This, the second of the Fall of Ile-Rein trilogy, is my very favorite of the Ile-Rien books (overcoming stiff competition from The Element of Fire, the first Ile-Rein book I read).Read this trilogy in order. I gave them all five stars. But, even though the middle book is often just the bridge, in this trilogy it is my favorite.

  • Kristin
    2019-01-01 12:24

    Second verse is as good as the first. Actually, the story never even stops to take a breath between novels. So much adventure. Keeps you guessing. Worlds built right in front of you. And just a taste of romance (usually I find romance somewhat out of place in adventures, but here the characters acknowledge it's totally out of place and that only makes it more endearing)

  • Taica
    2018-12-28 11:34

    I would give it 3.5 if I could. Despite it being a war story, it is well written and has a distinctly feminist overtone, which I love in a fantasy novel. The character development is good, and the story is imaginative. The reader is wonderful in some ways, but in others, she puts her emphasis in strange places. Doable though.

  • Li
    2019-01-12 12:32

    For a middle book in a trilogy, this one held up very well - there were some major twists in the story… but all made perfect sense in hindsight. Needless to say, I dove into the third book, The Gate of Gods, straight after.

  • Julie
    2019-01-12 06:36

    A little stiff at the beginning as the author attempts to re-introduce characters unobtrusively. Honestly, I think it would have been better either to throw us in or put a little "Previously, during the fall of Ile-Rien..." preface.These characters are simply wonderful, with the biggest cheer going to Tremaine, the complicated, snarky, brilliant, driven playwright.