Kereesa's Reviews > Steel

Steel by Carrie Vaughn
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's review
Jul 10, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012, fantasy-all-others, ebooks, friendship, grrl-power, teenage-romance, time-travel, young-adult
Recommended for: Action YA fans
Read from July 09 to 10, 2012 , read count: 1

Steel was not exactly what I expected it to be. I mean I knew it was going to be about a fencer who travels back in time and joins a band of pirates; I read that much in the synopsis. The fantasy, blood magic part? That was kind of surprising, though not utterly gameworld breaking.

Steel is very much a YA novel. Unexpected time travel, obvious goal, evil bad guy, cute good guy, tough-as-nails mentor figure...I probably could go on. It's also, weirdly, a obviously plotted novel. Jill's goals/development are set out in such a way I could basically predict every move, emotion, and insight she found herself faced with over the course of the novel.

That's not to say Steel is bad novel by any means. It's just to say it wasn't mind-blowing, nor did it offer anything too surprising that I didn't already see coming.

Well, except for the blood magic. That, dudes, was wacked.

The romance was pretty lack-luster, and I felt meh about the entire situation. The novel, as a whole, instead really focused more on the friendships Jill had with the variety of pirates we meet, and though I enjoyed the other characters, I didn't feel much for them (I was pretty meh about Jill). The best proof of this I can give you is that it took me a minute to remember the MC's name and I finished this book maybe 3/4 hours ago. When I can't remember their names, it usually means there wasn't much there for me to remember/get acquainted with/memorable.

The plot, as I've kind of mentioned, was pretty standard for a YA novel, and featured an interspersion of mentor-fighting sessions and mentor-wisdom moments as Jill learned more and more about how a ship works and scrubs the deck multiple times. Oh, and gets freaked out by the historical issues around her: Piracy, merchant ships, slavery....

The writing was fairly decent, though it did feel like it was one of the those tell not show styles at certain moments. I never felt like I got anywhere near Jill's head throughout the novel, in spite of the fact that her inner feelings are discussed, etc... As a character she felt kind of flat weirdly.

I like the sword play? I think that's about all I can say.

All in all, I liked Steel. It was fun, somewhat fascinating, and an easy read for me to zip through. Arr! 3.5/5

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