Over at Riv Reads today we are [read: I am] reviewing Carrie Vaughn's latest book, Steel! I was really excited to finally get my paws on it, and I really liked it. The characters and the voice and....I'll save it all for the review.
(Don't forget, linkage below.)
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 Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.
The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.
Time travel, swordplay, and romance combine in an original high-seas adventure from New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn.
I was mildly disappointed upon finishing Steel, but I still really enjoyed it. Unless you count Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I've never really read anything that deals with time-travel. And I was wondering how the time-traveling bit would actually happen, but it was very neat. And Jill took everything in stride, but not too much in stride.
Jill was portrayed well. She was a typical angst-ridden teenage, and, even though I feel like the sulking was taken a bit too far, that's what teenagers are like.
Henry, the "love interest" wasn't much of a love interest. He was sweet, and charming, and everything good besides for brooding, with a dark past. But...
The cover of the book calls this "a swashbuckling tale of magic, romance and pirates". Definitely got the swashbuckling pirates and the magic right, but the romance was severely lacking. I didn't read this book for the romance but there was, I dunno, one quick kiss. Carrie Vaughn alludes to romance, but there wasn't much of it. But as I said, my motives had nothing to do with the kissy-kissy.
I wanted to see how well Carrie would handle the necessary dueling bouts. I'm very interested in action and sword-fights and the like. My writing has plenty of hand-to-hand combat, and I like reading it, when it's done well. And while all the dueling description in the book is very concise, I was hoping for a bit more. But I liked it.
The ending was just so sweet, too.
Why it's not 5 stars: I really liked Steel, but I wasn't completely wowed. I can't put my finger on anything that I disliked, besides for the romance thing and my own person expectations, but it wasn't fantastic. It was just a good book.
I read Steel over a week ago, and I still really like it. It was original, well-written, and the main character is just awesome!
Rating: 4 stars
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PS: Don't forget, my contest to win some awesome TAP swag is open for a few more days! Hurry, hurry, hurry! It's right HERE!