- Albion and Aurora are the names of two continents in the Fable games. Given the author, this can't be a coincidence. Of course, it's also possible that he got the names from the same source as those games: they're the oldest known name for the island of Great Britain and the Roman goddess of dawn, respectively.
- Aurora was also the name of the Summer Lady introduced in the fourth book of the Dresden Files.
- Aurora is also the scientific name for light displays in the high atmosphere. A well known example of this is the aurora borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights. The name of Aurora could be a reference to something the ether currents do in the setting.
- Two of the other Spires, mostly mentioned in passing at the start of the Habble Landing scenes, are Olympia and Atlantus. The mythology links are obvious.
- A nation called Albion that's above the clouds and with an airship fleet... sounds familiar...
- "Death is as light as a feather, duty heavier than a spire." Or possibly a reference to The Wheel of Time referencing the same.
- Some of the names and symbols are either shout-outs to the northern United States, or subtle evidence that despite the European feel, the story actually takes place around Chicago.
- Itasca is a township in Chicago just outside O'Hare airport. It is named for a lake in Minnesota, the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The name 'Itasca' is a faux-Amerind name that was invented in the mid-1800s.
- The flag of Spire Aurora is the municipal flag of Chicago, only with one extra star.
- Albion is an old name for England, which derives from a word for 'white'. The White City is the park in south Chicago where the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition took place.
- Olympia Fields, IL is a village near Chicago which grew up around a golf course which became popular as a retreat for the wealthy during the World's Columbian Exposition.
- Aurora, IL is a suburb of Chicago.
- The two other Spires mentioned by name are Jereezi and Atlantea, which, if reasonably close, would be Joisey and Atlanta, Georgia, respectively.
- The religion of the Way might be an homage to the religion in the TV show Andromeda. One of Benedict's early lines about proselytizing is almost word for word what Rev Bem says about it in the show.
- Reginald Astor is a snotty rich idiot with an excess of family pride that causes trouble for one of the Protagonists. Much like the Astor family from the The Dresden Files short story "A Restoration of Faith" also from Jim Butcher.
- Another one to The Dresden Files: Bridget's cat name is "Littlemouse", despite the fact she is tall and muscular. Rowl notes that she used to be a small baby, but "outgrew" the name. In The Dresden Files, Harry names his dog Mouse, when he's just a puppy so small he fit in Harry's pockets. Mouse later grows up to be actually a very large dog, reaching Harry's waist (And Harry himself is nearly 7 feet tall).
- Gwen and and her cousin Benedict banter a lot like Miles Vorkosigan and Ivan Vorpatril of the Vorkosigan Saga, down to the latter calling the former "coz" and the former being a determinator. Admittedly, Miles is a lot more subtle than Gwen; when someone suggested she talk to a guy who was about to pose a problem, she somehow assumed the suggester meant "threaten".
Shout Out / The Cinder Spires