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Steel

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3.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,221 Ratings  ·  697 Reviews
It was a slender length of rusted steel, tapered to a point at one end and jagged at the other, as if it had broken. A thousand people would step over it and think it trash, but not her.

This was the tip of a rapier.

Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbe
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Hardcover, 291 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by HarperTeen (first published February 25th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erica (daydreamer)
Steel. Ooh, shiver me timbers just thinking about it! Can I just say epically amazing! Oh yeah, this is the book. It is brilliant! I was so excited to read it and so ready to love it, and boy did it deliver! It’s everything it promises and more! It’s an incredibly exciting, roughish adventure that you can’t just help getting caught up in. I was engrossed from the very beginning, and couldn’t stop reading it.

The characters were brilliant. Jill was a strong heroine (I mean pirate, oh yeah ;). On
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Misty
There are a lot of elements to Steel that seem as if its bound to be a win.
Fencing?
Pirates?
Time travel?
A touch of romance?
They’re all there. But I never really connected to Steel the way I would have liked.

I mean, it was enjoyable enough, but there were some things that held me back and created a bit of a disconnect. Jill was a bit too moody and petulant for me. I get that she’s a teen (and probably a spoiled rich one - who else fences?), and I get that super competitive people are real
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Kristy
Well, shiver me timbers: this was better than I had expected matey.

The Good:
C’mon it’s about pirates!!!!!
Female “hero” who actually fights
The rapier’s story and history
The characters
Feeling connected to our main character and knowing what she was thinking and feeling.
It was fun.
Original.

The bad:
A little bit “pirates of the Caribbean” girl-style for me. And, the fact that in the Author’s Notes in the back she specifically says her pirates are not “movie-pirates”. Disagree.
It wasn’t as exciting
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Allie
Jan 11, 2015 Allie rated it did not like it
Unfortunately, this was a huge disappointment. I stopped reading at about 75 pages, simply because I was overcome with how heinous this all was. And my reading resolution for 2015 is to not waste time on books that I do not enjoy. Trust me, I did not remotely enjoy this one.

With that being said, en garde to the reasons I detested this novel.

1. The watered down plot:
When I think of pirates, I want the gritty, dangerous, and driven by greed variety. Something along the lines of Pirates of the Cari
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Bry
YA books do not have to be all Disney. They can deal with hard issues, tough situations, and difficult consequences all while being age appropriate, well written, and still entertaining. Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a perfect example of that.

This book, like many other YA novels coming out right now, takes what would normally be an extreme situation fraught with danger and dumbs it down to a series of easily survivable occurrences, unusually helpful people, and settings that are never as dangero
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Nafiza
Apr 25, 2011 Nafiza rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
Let’s take a moment and gaze upon the awesomeness that is the cover of Steel. The girl with the calm, steady gaze – a determined glint in her eyes, I’d say – and the sparkly sword. The two things together promise a novel that is full of bad-assery and will have you at the edge of your seats as you travel the seas, fighting pirates and finding love.

The reality is a lot different.

I was excited to read this book. When my hold finally came in, I went to the reserve shelf, got it in my hands and did
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Lydia Presley
Jan 12, 2011 Lydia Presley rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, young-adult, 2011
I think I am going to be kinder in this review then I want to be for two reasons mostly.

I read this book after reading a fantastic novel with pirates, seafaring terms and a cast of brilliant characters.
I really, really loved the cover. It's gorgeous.
In Steel, Carrie Vaughn sets up a story about Jill, a fencing student who just barely falls short of making the mark. The chapter titles are fencing terms, which is interesting in itself and sets the mood for each chapter well.

However, it also means
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Mary (BookHounds)
ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT



Carrie Vaughn is one of my favorite authors, so when she started to write young adult novels, I was more than thrilled to get a sneek peek at this one. Steel is just a fun and fabulous read that combines a bit of time travel with historical fiction. It has great characters and a believable plot. Well, as far as you can get with time travel and historical fiction. I found myself transported back in time and spent the afternoon googling the pirates named in the story.


Jill is an
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Novel Novice
Mar 16, 2011 Novel Novice rated it liked it
The comparisons to the Disney franchise are inevitable. Steel by Carrie Vaughn follows 16-year-old Jill as she travels back in time, and finds herself in the midst of a pirate crew sailing the Caribbean. But make no mistake: there are no signs of Captain Jack Sparrow here, and Vaughn lets you know in an author’s note that it’s deliberate.

Her decision to make her pirates a little tamer than some of the more vicious tales is also deliberate. That’s because more than anything else, Vaughn wrote the
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Cindy
Apr 26, 2011 Cindy rated it liked it
I would give this 3.5 stars actually.

I love the cover on this book, it is amazing! I normally love pirate stories, but this one was just likable. The story just seemed to be missing something. It just felt loose, I don't know if that's the right word or not. The main character wasn't actually my favorite character, Henry or Captain Cooper, or even the Captain Bain. As a reader I found them more interesting than the main and I found myself wanting to know more about there lives. That was another
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Veronica Morfi
Jul 04, 2013 Veronica Morfi rated it it was amazing
Rating: 4.5/5

Jill is in love with fencing but after losing a very important game she retreats in the Bahamas with her family. There she finds a tip of a broken rapier in the sand and realizes it's a 300 year old piece of history so of course she holds on to it. After an accident, involving a boat and some crazy waves, she ends up on board a pirate ship, at the time where the rapier tip came from.

All aboard!


This is the perfect read for people like me that love pirates and good swordfights. Jill
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Andrea
Dec 21, 2010 Andrea rated it liked it
This was definitely a unique story. You don't find many pirate stories that have a girl as the main character (or at least, I haven't read any). I liked reading this from a female point of view.

This was definitely an action drived story. There really didn't seem to be much character development. But hey, its a pirate story. It's going to be action-packed, right? I would have liked to get to know a little more about Jill and even Henry. And while the summary of the book says that romance was in
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♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
Honestly I have no idea why this book was on my TBR list. Trying to clear off my shelf, I finally borrowed this from the library and read it. After reading it, I still have no idea why I had this on my list of books to read. Totally not my genre and the book did nothing for me.

Ms. Vaughn is a good writer, there is no doubt. The fantasy she weaves is good. The world building is innovative. The characters are so-so. This book is really more for young adult and it's probably why it did nothing for
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Page (One Book At A Time)
Jan 02, 2011 Page (One Book At A Time) rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
The idea behind this one was a new one to me, and I admit it intrigued me greatly. I think with the latest Pirates of the Caribbean coming out in 2011, HarperTeen probably has a hit on their hands.
I thought Jill was a great character from the opening pages. She's dedicated to her sport and shows real discipline in it. I liked the fact that it was fencing because it was so appropriate to what happens to her. I enjoyed her character even more when she's transported back to the 18th century. She ke
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Ashley
Apr 01, 2011 Ashley rated it liked it
Review originally posted at: A & C Book Junkies - ARC Review: Steel (By Carrie Vaughn)


This was my first Carrie Vaughn experience and I must say, it was a rather pleasant one. This story is about a teenager, Jill, who is a highly competitive fencer. She lives fencing; she breathes fencing; she is fencing. Or so that is the mantra she goes by when the novel first beings. Have you ever wanted something so badly, come within its grasp, only to lose it completely? Well, that is where we meet Jill
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Isamlq
Mar 24, 2011 Isamlq rated it liked it
I didn’t think I'd enjoy a story about a girl and pirates, but I did. The story just works. A little bit of magic and a lot of adventure and this outlandish tale of a girl finding herself in place unknown was a fun read. From a romance angle, the story is kept relatively clean… not many passionate embraces here! But that’s OK, because it's a story driven by and steeped in adventure. The hints of magic didn't hurt either. And while I wanted the magical part explored a bit, as it stands I am satis ...more
Lucy March
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ace Turnberry ♠
Carrie Vaughn: A swashbuckling tale of magic, romance, and pirates.
Me: A dull time-travel story of magic that wasn't even the focal part of the story, tasteless romance (not the lovey-dovey kind), and unappealing pirates.


This had so much potential. I mean come on, a story about sword-fighting and grimy pirates?

But Steel proved to be just one of those books with nothing but an eye-catching cover to offer.

I literally did not feel anything for any of the characters. Cooper's past was sad, but tem
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Karissa
Dec 12, 2015 Karissa rated it liked it

I have enjoyed a lot of Carrie Vaugh’s books and have had this book on my shelf to read for a while. There honestly wasn’t a lot to this story; it was very simple and straight-forward and completely predictable.

Jill is a champion fencer and is depressed after losing an important match. Her family decides to go on vacation to Nassau in an effort to cheer everyone up. While wandering the beach alone Jill finds the tip of an old rapier. Then while on a touristy pirate cruise with her family a freak
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Krystle
Apr 06, 2012 Krystle rated it liked it
2.5 stars.

I read this so long ago I can’t remember much about this so I’m going to apologize in advance. This review is probably going to be very short and not very thorough like my others.

You see that cover? Awesomeness, right? Then you read the premise – pirates, time travelling, and sword fights! It’s a freaking bonanza of awesome! Until you start reading…

This girl is one whiny brat. Just because she lost a match she gets all habut (local slang, sorry) or maybe in other words, salty balls. Su
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C
Nov 06, 2013 C rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-suggestions
What a great YA book for fans of pirates!

A co-worker said this was her favorite stand alone of Carrie Vaughn's & I have to agree. It took a chapter or two to get going, but once in, I really enjoyed it. I loved the pirate lore - she has a short explanation in the back about what is real history and what is embellished...there's some sailing 101 mixed into the story, as well.

She makes the main character's progression believable, especially the change from fencing to fighting for "real." I lik
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Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
4.5 stars

Talk about an adventure on the high seas! Steel is a fantastic read that not only took me back to the 18th century via a pirate ship, but this is one of the few books I've read involving pirates and I really enjoyed it. It's action packed, pirate talk & rich history made for a fun, engaging read.

Jill, an avid fencer is on a trip with her family to Jamaica when she comes across part of a centuries old pirate sword. The magic from this sword ends up taking Jill on an unforgettable ad
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Jamie
May 27, 2011 Jamie rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, ya, read-may11, pirates
I saw this book one day when I was looking on the Barnes and Noble web page and thought that the premise was good enough to add it to my shopping cart. After checking out it's page on Goodreads I found that Steel got mixed reviews. A lot of 3 and 4 star ratings.

I thought that the idea behind the story was right up my alley...mainly because it was a new-to-me idea. I think reading Steel helped me get into the proper frame of mind for the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie that came out last weeke
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Nan
Jan 23, 2012 Nan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminds me of the time travel novels I loved when I was a preteen. Except it's better written and has a stronger plot. The cover may advertise this as a romance, but that's misleading. Unlike the time travel stories of my youth, the romance doesn't drive the plot. Instead, this is a book about steel and about power and how you use both.

As the novel opens, Jill places fourth in a fencing competition. This is a good placement, but it means that she will not be on the Olympic team. She's
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Mitch
Mar 25, 2012 Mitch rated it it was ok
This book felt more like a historical tour of a working pirate ship than a real adventure. I think when writing this the author got a little too excited/carried away by all the pirate facts she compiled and forgot to focus on developing the plot as much. As a result, even the main character Jill admits the thing she learned after everything was how fiercely independent lady pirates are, not exactly a great sign.

Jill’s basically a tourist on the working pirate ship. She’s forced to scrub the deck
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Alex Bennett
Nov 25, 2010 Alex Bennett rated it really liked it
Shelves: wishlist
I was very excited to read this book, very excited. Before Steel, I had never read a pirate book, crazy, but true. With the hype for Steel and all of Carrie Vaughn’s books, I thought this would be the perfect book to lose my pirate virginity to. I was right.

Jill is a strong, empowering female protagonist. She sticks it through her difficult troubles, while still getting the guy. Most of the other pirates weren’t explored very much as characters, but they were entertaining and I loved reading abo
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Jen
Jan 01, 2016 Jen rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maree
Apr 24, 2014 Maree rated it liked it
This book, while enjoyable and solid, was a bit of a letdown for me. I'm a fencer myself, and I really appreciated the angle the author used. So many books (and movies) just give their character a fencing background and voila! they can deal with sword fights no problem. That's not how it goes, and I was really grateful to the author for playing out that truth in the book. I also think that the book as a whole had a lot of information about how pirates used to live, and while some liberties may h ...more
Sara
Mar 29, 2011 Sara rated it it was ok
This book bothered me. When I read the summary about a fencer who is pulled back in time to the era of pirates, I thought that it had that potential to either be rather unique or incredibly cheesy. It ended up being the latter. The characters had little depth, the main character's reason for going back in time felt like it was not well thought through, the romance wasn't really a romance, the plot felt lackluster, and the ending was very disappointing.
April
May 12, 2011 April rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy, for-review
I’m not gonna lie, I find swords to be pretty badass weapons. Fencing is a beautiful sport, evoking that scene in The Princess Bride when Wesley and Inigo Montoya are fighting. In Steel by Carrie Vaughn, swords and fencing take center stage.

Read the rest of my review here
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Vaughn was born into a military family and has lived all over the U.S. She received a BA from Occidental College, after which she went on to work too many jobs to count until she went back to school to receive her MA from University of Colorado at Boulder. She currently lives in Boulder, CO.
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