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Ship of Smoke and Steel

(The Wells of Sorcery #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,891 ratings  ·  398 reviews
In the lower wards of Kahnzoka, the great port city of the Blessed Empire, eighteen-year-old ward boss Isoka enforces the will of her criminal masters with the power of Melos, the Well of Combat. The money she collects goes to keep her little sister living in comfort, far from the bloody streets they grew up on.

When Isoka's magic is discovered by the government, she's arre
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published January 22nd 2019 by Tor Teen
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Janet Martin Don't worry about the title--much of the time, it's generated by the publisher based on focus groups. In this case, it doesn't have much to do with th…moreDon't worry about the title--much of the time, it's generated by the publisher based on focus groups. In this case, it doesn't have much to do with the plot. It's a really good book(less)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,891 ratings  ·  398 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
What the literal hell!!

I think I’m losing my mind! I haven’t liked many books lately. This one was going great, loving the bad assness of it .... then BAM, not this shit again!

Whatever, I think my real life friend broke me so I would get rid of all my things 😂🤣. I’m calling her to tell her just that!

Love the hell out of this cover though and the next book. Sigh and shit!! And all of my friends loved it so I’m the bottom feeder and that’s okay 😉🤨

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Scott  Hitchcock
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Dark YA
If you're a fan of dark YA such as Nevernight, The Young Elites, Hope and Red or others you'll enjoy this. Or if you simply like Wexler's other works.

There's definitely a lot of tried and true YA tropes but the writing is so solid, the characters enjoyable and the world interesting in a Senlin Ascends kind of way that it's easy to forgive it.

I'll be interested to see where Wexler takes the series.
Django Wexler
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
So excited to finally get to share this everyone! I hope you all have as much fun with it as I did.
Jessi (Novel Heartbeat)
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-star

This book wasn't even on my radar until I picked up a free ARC at YALLfest, and it sounded super intriguing so I thought I'd give it a go. I also thought for some reason it was an Asian fantasy (it is sooo not), so I was excited to read it. I hadn't heard much about it, either, so I didn't know what to expect. Sadly, I ended up being disappointed.

The main issue I had was with our main character. I hated her. In the beginning, she's a TERRIBLE person. She kills people for a living, basically,
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
I'm putting this down unfortunately. Writing is awesome, action is awesome but I really can't stand the main character. ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
You can also read this review and others on the blog here:

This was the first book written by Django Wexler that I've read, and after doing a little research on the author I've come to find that he has written so many different books from middle grade to adult fiction. Knowing this, I have so much more respect for the author going into this book. YA has been one of my favorite genres to read for so long because I tend to find that they are less dry and fill
Adah Udechukwu
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ship of Smoke and Steel was totally spectacular and action-packed.
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
[3.5/5 stars] I love it when high fantasy authors transition to YA. Their stories are always much more robust than other books in the genre because they’re used to creating expansive worlds, complex characters, and detailed plots for their audience.

Wexler didn’t dumb things down, but he did pull a few punches to make the story more accessible… but not by much. There’s some grit here (older teen appropriate), and I appreciated how ruthless the main character was right out of the gate. She surpris
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/12/24/...

I’m a huge fan of Django Wexler, but even I must concede that those saying Ship of Smoke and Steel isn’t as strong as his other work might have a point. That said, I think it’s also important to keep in mind this was published under the Tor Teen label, and despite some of its more mature themes and bloodier, more brutal moments, there’s absolutely no denying it is both written and intended for YA audiences. In some ways, t
ℓуηη, ℓσкιѕℓутнєя¢ℓαω
Ship of Smoke and Steel was my first foray into Django Wexler's writing. I have his adult series on my tbr, but haven't had the time to fit them in, but this one I had to read this year. When I first read the blurb about it I thought it sounded amazing, and I have to say it was. But did I love it? I'm not sure. The jury is still in session on it, so for the now this crazy read gets a 3.75-4 stars from me. More on the reasons later on.

To begin with, Wexler's writing is friggin' fantastic!! TH
~Cyanide Latte~
This book is terrible. Do not waste your time with it, regardless of what you've heard. Madi from The Book Pusher goes into good detail regarding this pile of flaming garbage in some of her YouTube videos, and I would honestly recommend you give her videos a look, she's a gem, but I'll try to go over what I can, here.

I feel like this book was marketed as "this assassin girl is assigned a task of stowaway on a ghost ship of sorts and she has a year to take over the ship in order to bring it back
I enjoyed the set up of this world a lot. A ghostly ship that requires sacrifices everywhere it goes? The sacrifices must be magically gifted and are never seen again? Sign me up! It kind of makes me think of the Theseus and the Minotaur myth. But instead of a labyrinth, its a impossible-to-navigate ship. Magic people have access to what is called wells and have varying levels of access and, subsequently, varying levels of power. All fantastic. I really liked the different cultures and the way t ...more
Kalena W
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 stars, very interesting magic system and ideas.

The main thing that made me pick this book up was the promotion tagline, "for fans of Legend of Korra" because that's my comfort show so how could I not read it?? Unfortunately, I didn't really see the similarities between the two, the only thing is that our main character is aggressive and angsty much like Korra was aggressive in the first season. I just didn't see the similarities at all, and that doesn't make it a bad book this just annoye
Executive Summary: A bit of a slow start, but overall really good. Nearly as good as his Shadow Campaign series. 4.5 Stars.

Audiobook: I believe this is the first book I've listened to by Catherine Ho. She does a good job. She does a few voices that add that little something extra that I've come to expect from a good audio book these days. Definitely worth doing in audio..

Full Review
If you haven't read Mr. Wexler's Shadow Campaign series, you should stop reading this right now and read that i
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, pirates

Django Wexler did his homework and filled Ship of Steel and Smoke with stuff that sells. To the brim. Badass heroine, romance, diversity, whooshing magical blades, LGBT themes and much more. 

Isoka is a ruthless money collector living in the port city of Kahnzoka. She hurts people for money and shows no remorse to kill her coworkers, but it all serves to keep her sister from harm. So, I guess, it makes her ok? Equipped with the power of Melos, the Well of Combat, that allows her to summon bl
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Django Wexler's debut into the YA genre is a thrilling and engaging roller coaster ride. Let me say first that thought this is a YA novel it does deal with topics of rape and sexual activities but nothing to extreme.

I personally have really nothing bad to say about this first entry in the Wells of Sorcery trilogy. It was everything I expect from Django Wexler. It has a very unique magic system called Wells. What I loved about this magic system was that it didn't focus on elements, not that there
Cindy ✩☽♔
I'm super pumped for this! From the cover art, the protagonist looks Asian so doubly excited.

Sidenote: The cover is oddly reminiscent of Throne of Glass though
Aug 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
DNF @30%. This book is not for me, and personally I don’t think it’s really YA. I love YA fantasy, and this did not read as such.
Giota (the reader)
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars actually!!!
I really liked the story! It was intriguing and the characters were very interesting! It read like a very cool video game and the diversity was plenty! What bothered me though were the endless grammar mistakes like "did decided", change in tense (it was mainly in the present tense and at some parts the author forgot (?) and switched to the past tense) or editing mistakes (the name 'Shiara' became 'Shira' on the same page).
I feel like someone should have done a better job (a
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-release
I keep thinking of this book as “queer Hunger Games.” I don’t know precisely why — maybe because it has some of the same tone and tropes as the Hunger Games but actually has queer people?

Anyway, here’s the official synopsis:

In the lower wards of Kahnzoka, the great port city of the Blessed Empire, eighteen-year-old ward boss Isoka comes to collect when there’s money owing. When her ability to access the Well of Combat is discovered by the Empire—an ability she should have declared and placed at
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If I'm being honest, Ship of Smoke and Steel took a while for me to really get into. Not because it was bad - the opposite is true, the writing is tight and the characters and world are interesting and vivid. I can't even pinpoint why, though I did feel like having gone to the release signing for this and hearing about it before I read it from Django had given me some preconceived notions about it that probably weren't quite what he was trying to explain to us.

Regardless, SSS is a fast-paced, fu
Jan 06, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 140 pages. The characters were unlikeable and inconsistent. The story was not that well written, flushed out, or interesting. There was awkward sexual talk and equally awkward sexual situations. I didn’t like the main character, thought the story was written for a younger audience which made the sexual stuff even weirder... and I just plain old didn’t care about the story and what was going to happen.
Blodeuedd Finland
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
I liked this one, what a great way to start the year. With something good!

Isoka is not a nice person, she is a gang enforcer. She kills without remorse, she'd kill her best friend to save her sister, but then Isoka does not have friends. But still, she is great reading about.

I felt like the book did not start off any YAish, when she gets to the ship it gets a bit more YAish, but not that much. Not angsty, silly romance, silly drama, ok sorry YA, but so many have these issues! It feels strong and
Feb 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
I received this novel in a book box subscription (pirate themed), and I was so excited to read it once I read the summary. There was a lot that intrigued me about a giant, ghost ship sailing the world and abducting young people imbued with magic. So, summary. We we’re off to a great start.

And then I started reading...

Where to even begin? First of all, though this novel is considered YA, its content is closer to that a poorly constructed romance novel and the word choice reads closer to a middle
A solid book with solid writing and world-building. At times it felt a little trope-y (even down to the title), and the characters were a bit lacking. The beginning was a built dull, but it really picks up after we learn more about the ship. Interested for the next book.

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Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
May 14, 2018 marked it as to-read
*trembles with anticipation*
Skylar Phelps
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer #1: I am a Django Wexler Fan
Disclaimer#2: I am not a YA Fan

The start was hard for me because it was pretty violent and the stage was immediately set with a young, calloused leading lady. It's also written in first-person present which makes it a little extra intense and I'll admit that I initially had a hard time liking Isoka at all, much less wanting to read a full novel about her.

What followed, however, was much better. Things got strange quickly (making me very happy, I love weird
Brian Naslund
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had a great time reading Ship of Smoke and Steel. For me, the most compelling aspect was the world-building and the mystery surrounding the ship at the center of the story. The premise was engrossing and the action scenes were well done. Wexler's writing is tight and evocative, making the dirty, mushroom-laden and rusty world full of danger and mystery come alive.

I can't wait to read the next installment!
Mathilde Paulsen
Rating: 4.5 stars. I really loved this book! I'll write up a "proper" review once I've gathered my thoughts. ...more
Areli Amaya
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Isoka has made a living by becoming a ward boss in the lower wards of Kahnzoka. She is notorious for collecting money and oftentimes the lives of those who think avoiding her is a good idea. But when her well of sorcery is discovered by the empire, everything she has worked for and known starts falling apart.
She is given a choice: steal Soliton, an infamous ghost ship, and deliver it to the empire, otherwise her sister's life will be forfeit. Backed into a corner, Isoka realizes this is the onl
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Django Wexler graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with degrees in creative writing and computer science, and worked for the university in artificial intelligence research. Eventually he migrated to Microsoft in Seattle, where he now lives with two cats and a teetering mountain of books. When not planning Shadow Campaigns, he wrangles computers, paints tiny soldiers, and plays g ...more

Other books in the series

The Wells of Sorcery (3 books)
  • City of Stone and Silence (The Wells of Sorcery, #2)
  • Siege of Rage and Ruin (The Wells of Sorcery, #3)

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