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Steelflower (Steelflower Chronicles #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,290 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
The first book of the Steelflower Chronicles features Kaia Steelflower--thief, assassin, and famous for all the wrong reasons. After she picks the wrong pocket, Kaia wakes up with a hangover, and gets far more than she bargained for.
Paperback, 310 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Samhain Publishing (first published March 13th 2007)
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Kathy Davie
First in the fantasy Steelflower Chronicles…and most likely the last.

My Take
Kaia, a shunned elf who believes she never manifested any of her expected elfin powers, left home to seek her fortune as a mercenary. We first encounter a hungover Kaia doing battle while still half asleep only to find she's fighting on behalf of the man whose pocket she picked the night before.

In general, I really like Saintcrow as an author and the idea of this story is intriguing. But, must Kaia whine so much??

I got t
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Updated upon rereading. i had to add a star. i liked this novel even better the second time around.

This was fun. No excess world building, with a witty, fun dialogue. The author expects u to be able to piece together the terminology and story line for yourself with the tidbits of what is given. I LOVE that! If u need to be spoon feed every tiny piece of history and terminology and love endless descriptions of everything- this book is not for u! If u like to figure the stuff the narrator knows, b
Dec 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: personal-library
I really liked this. It reminded me of the older style sword and sorcery books. Kinda like Jennifer Roberson's "Sword Dancing" but not quite as in depth. In this day and age to find a new author who writes an entertaining tale such as this that does not involve heaving bosoms or rampant masculinity is a treat. I look forward to more.
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
i love lilith saintcrow's style - she gives a kind of well-hidden fragility to her protagonists that makes them likable, real and gives them good depth. in this case, kaia was shunned because she thought she lacked powers (which, well. yes.) i cannot stop delighting myself with the strong bonds that miss saintcrow forms between the boy and the girl in her books. it's endearing. i liked the band of people she collected, and how firmly she embraced her honor and her debt. the story, the gods, and ...more
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read! Too bad there isn't a sequel! Interesting world and nice mix of characters!
Feb 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, non-earth
I picked this up on a whim, knowing that Lilith Saintcrow was one of those authors that could be hit-or-miss about me. Uusually she's in the group of fantastic worldbuilding but the characters tend to make me want to slap them sometimes. I also occasionally have problems wiht her romance.

I have a weakness for sword and sorcery that is compounded by my insistence on interesting and varied female characters. (What can I say? For all it's flaws, I cut my teeth on Mercedes Lackey's Vows and Honor d
Mar 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
*NOTE: Speed read only.

So where to start this review?
The book is called "Steelflower," but the ballads mentioned in the book itself call the main character "Iron Flower."
And that's pretty much how the rest of it goes.

Why would a society that reveres all females throw out one who has serious issues after her mother dies?

Why would a main character immediately start killing guards in the opening scene when they aren't even there for her and she's supposedly a thief and assassin (e.g., someone who
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh how I love a sword and sorcery tale! Love Lilith Saintcrow's writing, all her worlds are very well drawn and her writing style is very distinctive (makes me think of Simon R. Green).

Kaia Steelflower is a mercenary who insists on working alone. However, she soons finds herself unwillingly collecting travelling companions and possibly embroiled in two separate issues of 'succession', both of which may get her killed.

***A word of warning though, this is supposed to be the first book in a series
Aug 31, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I changed this from "currently reading" to "read" because I have read as much of as I possibly can. The main character is insufferable and the action is slow. There is a lot of fantasy culture references with no explanation so I spent a lot of time reading and hoping that maybe the story would make sense later on. Maybe it does but there is nothing compelling enough to make me care.
Jan 15, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This author is very hit or miss for me. Two of her series I really like, two others I couldn't finish the first book. Sad to say that this book fell into the later category for me. I made it about 20 pages in when I gave it up. There was something about the language that just bugged me, the shorted drawl, that you aren't sure what the characters are saying. This one just wasn't for me.
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Fantasy with samurai elves and extraneous apostrophes, entertaining but not actually good. It's copyright 2008, but feels like an early novel; maybe a trunk novel?
Feb 10, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
Drudgery. Repetitive, irritating, and immature.
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I primarily read this because I really needed a break from UF titles and it felt like an age since I'd last read a proper fantasy novel. I have to say it was a great relief to get a change of pace and fall in to a story I really enjoyed. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I'm rather sad to discover that the author has yet to get around to continuing the series.

If there was one thing that really annoyed me, it was the heroine's constant denial of basic facts backed up with undeniable proof. I unde
Sadie Forsythe
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 (a little spoilerish)

This is one of those times I really wish for half stars or a scale of more than 5. The book isn't really worth a 4 star, IMO, but its better than some books I'm given 3 stars to.

I both really enjoyed and found myself quite frustrated with this book. I liked Kaia. I liked the Barbarian. I adored D'ri. I liked the world and the writing. BUT the book never really goes anywhere. They wander around and do this and then that and then something else, but there is no intent in i
L.J. Kendall
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd resisted buying this book on principle because of the stupid larger-than-paperback size of the print edition, but eventually caved in. I'm glad I did. I hugely enjoyed this action fantasy. Another very strong and capable female lead with a good depth of character. The prickly and unsociable Kaia, outcast from her people and surviving by honing her fighting skills, starts to acquire a small troupe of friends, one of whom challenges one of her most deeply painful beliefs. There's plenty of act ...more
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I have downright mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I like the concept, and the author endears herself to me by including non-Anglo-Saxon fantasy worldbuilding and really strong fight scenes. However, with all of that said, I have a few major bones to pick.

Bone number one: for f's sake, Kaia has the worst denial of any fantasy heroine ever, and that is really saying something. I think the first two-thirds of this book consisted of "oh, woe is me, no one wanted me and I have no mag
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wow-zer
Basically the only thing that pissed me off about this book is the fact that it has no sequel.

If your looking for a fantasy about a strong, independent woman, who's unwilling to love but
still longs for it then you have found it.

I loved, loved, loved it.
The world-building was AWESOME. The concept of 'twins' was great; though I would have liked a bit more clarification about some technical details like the silence, and what exactly is happening to Kaia's magic.

The hero is one studdly mofo. yu
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is great, but it is mostly build up for a sequel. Except there is no sequel. It's been 6 years at this point and from what I can tell, the author hasn't even started one, so I'm not holding my breath. The explanation on her website is not promising either.

The book ends with a "to be continued." No cliffhangers at least but plenty of unanswered questions. Very frustrating. I repeat:read at your own risk.

PS I checked this book out from the library and am consider
Colliding Worlds
4,5 Sterne

"Steelflower" war so ganz anders als erwartet! Wo ich eigentlich Urban Fantasy erwartet habe, bekam ich einen sehr gut ausgearbeiteten High Fantasy-Roman, der mich total umgehauen hat, obwohl ich durchaus meine kleinen Problemchen damit hatte. So geflasht wie ich war, kann ich dem Buch trotz seiner Schwächen nichts geringeres als 4,5 Sterne geben!

Kaia lebt in einer Welt, in der zahlreiche Länder mit ganz verschiedenen Staats- und Gesellschaftsordnungen nebeneinander existi
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy strong female characters
3.5/5 stars

Kaia is one of the G'mai, called "elves" by those ignorant of their culture. The G'mai are worshippers of the moon and daughters have power and are held as particularly prized. The have destined mates that protect these precious daughters so that they can wield said power. In Kaia's case she has no mate and her people treated her with silence and avoidance because of her supposed lack of power. Now Kaia works as a sellsword and thief. The kingdom she's currently in is fighting a const
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually shy from full-on fantasy stuff that is full on alternate reality and very far from our own reality which leaves me grasping for the first 50 or so pages to get a feel for WHAT it is that I'm SUPPOSED to be comprehending (feeling a lot like when I was in 6th grade at a G&T private school that thought we'd all fully comprehend every nuance of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar). That being said...

I did struggle for the standard handful of (digital) pages, but Saintcrow does such a great job
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It saddens me to give this book only 2 stars. I really like Lilith Saintcrow books. I think she is a great writer. She's not only imaginative and great at world and character building, but she also knows how to write elegantly. I appreciate all those things about her, but this book was not up to her standard. I think that perhaps it just wasn't quite ready to be written--not quite thought out. It started off great but quickly devolved into the same couple of sentiments. Basically, the first 200 ...more
Rena McGee
Jun 02, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Steelflower is a sword and sorcery novel of the kind that reminds me of a certain “shared universe” series that came out in the early eighties. (Specifically, it reminds me of Thieves World by Robert Lynn Asprin.) It also has the flavor of a book that written based off of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. (The story begins in a tavern, for one thing. Because this is the most frequent way adventuring parties meet in table top gaming, you know.) Our Heroine is a young woman named Kaia. She is an o ...more
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What do you do with yourself when you are the only elf without magic? Run away from home and become a famous sell sword of course! While Kaia has excelled at her chosen profession, one drunken theft and her suddenly her past begins chasing her down. As her dreams of a quite life running an inn get farther away, she must decide to face her past, or die avoiding it.

I loved it, I didn't want it to end!
Reading this novel was like venturing into a deep and wonderful world of possibiliti
Jan 27, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I really enjoyed the storyline in this book by Lilith Saintcrow, I only gave it 3 stars because it was not as well written as her other books that I've read so far. At times the storyline seems to "stutter", either by repeating itself, or by seeming disjointed between paragraphs, as if they were written at different times. Like another reviewer, I wonder if this was a trunk novel.

However, I really enjoyed the storyline. The story is a fantasy that takes place in medievil times. The hero
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the Dante Valentine urban fantasy series by this author and loved it. This series is a traditional fantasy with a female warrior-for-hire as the protagonist. She's an elf, but an outcast because she lacks magic, then an elf man with a magical seeking necklace finds her and claims to be her twin - her other half - her mate. She thinks she's flawed and doesn't want to accept him. She goes about collecting people that she feels responsible for and eventually goes to pay a debt by serving in ...more
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I HATE this kind of book. You open it and expect it to be a contemporary book. You are thrown into a strange world full of new characters. There are tons of words you don't know (because they are made up) and you can't pronounce. You can't even say the name of the protagonist...yeah, I hate these. And then I fell in love...about 4 pages in. LOVED this book. Can't wait to read more of them. Love the world. Love the main character--strong woman with a soft spot for all things lost. Thanks Lilith. ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This a traditional fantasy novel, set in another world, with different races, and so different languages. It is incredibly focused on the linguistics, particularly the G'mai language, often explaining the difference in what is said and how it has been said and how that affects the meaning. It was quite fascinating to think about the language in that way.
The only complaint I have is you are sort of thrown into this new world and language, and at first I was a little overwhelmed, but I eventually
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had to laugh - when I finished this book - to discover there were no other books in this series. So typical of my luck when it comes to this author. After much trying - and epic failures, I finally found a book by this author I like... and nothing. (Seriously hated the Bannon & Clare series with a fiery loathsome passion)
But this book was fun. With a strong h, who attracts lost souls like a magnet. I was so looking fwd to book 2 where I presumed our h/H returned to their land to deal with th
Engaging dialogue, feisty as well as canny female lead character, smoldering darkly handsome leading male and a supporting cast of characters that all help to round out a tale that brings to mind why fantasy was once one of my favorite genres. The sword fighting scenes were intense, the secrets from Kaia's past that were revealed helped make her more accessible for readers to relate to and her somewhat at times uneasy relationships with others really gave her depth as well.

All in all it is too b
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Lilith Saintcrow was born in New Mexico, bounced around the world as an Air Force brat, and fell in love with writing when she was ten years old. She lives in Vancouver, Washington, in a house full of stray cats and children.
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