Note: This review is pretty spoiler free, but it does discuss the book (yeah it’s a review, I did say that) so fair warning to the giving away of stuff and such.

On Discord IsleOn Discord Isle, a kickstarter book by Jonathon Burgess I mentioned back in March, is now out and picks right up where the previous book, Chasing the Lantern, left off. Captains Fengel and Natasha Blackheart are piloting the Dawnhawk, and her crew toward their biggest caper ever, but as the opening of the book declares, “Things were not going according to the plan.” Chaos, which seems to follow these two around like a lost puppy with werewolf tendencies, quickly ensues with everyone from the Perinese Navy to a clockwork dragon trying to put a kabosh on their grand schemes.

I really enjoyed this book. It is hard to write a book that lives up to the opening chapter of any series, but I thought Burgess did a really good job here. The tone feels spot on to the first book and he mixes in the new elements you’d expect in a sequel while maintaining all of the pieces that made the first book so much fun to read. There’s more sword fights, magic, insults, and humor, but also some good world building that expands his universe without getting “talking heady” or slowing the story down to fit it in. He also continues developing his leads well, getting further under the skin of his protagonists to show us what makes them tick.Chasing the Lantern

The twisting, cursing, entertaining heart of Chasing the Lantern was Fengel and Natasha and their love-hate-hate-hate-love-hate relationship, and it is on full display here. If you thought they went at it in book one, you ain’t seen nothing yet. These two take it to a whole new level here, generally ruining anything and everyone around them in the process of trying to one up each other. Their feud escalates so much that at one point I was wondering if things weren’t going to go entirely too far, but just at the point we reached the brink, the author holds them (and us) right at that point without letting the whole thing spill into bleak drama.

While they are running around breaking things the rest of the crew isn’t just sitting idly bye. Lina, Lucian, and the rest, are up to their own shenanigans that entertained me throughout. It is often difficult to maintain multiple equally enjoyable threads in a story, but I thought it was done well here. I never felt disappointed when the POV shifted and was happy to find out what the other side was up to.

Burgess’ light handed style keeps the story zipping along no matter what’s occurring and I thought he fit in a surprisingly good amount of subtler elements such as commentaries on command, or the complexities of relationships, without interrupting what is, at its core, a swashbuckling steampunk pirate fest.

I’d recommend it for sure as a fun read, so go pick-up a copy already!

More on Jonanthon Burgess.