Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray
Date of publication: September 24th, 2019
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA
Series: Steel Crow Saga
Steel Crow Saga—Book 1
Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.
A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic… and her own flesh and blood.
A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.
A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.
A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.
This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.
Dimangan heard his name and came when he was called.Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger
I have noticed a couple of themes in the books that I have been reading lately. The first one is that I saw is the plenty of strong female characters. The second is that Japanese/Chinese based fantasy is becoming more popular. Both caught my attention when I read the blurb for Steel Crow Saga. I am happy to say that I loved Steel Crow Saga!! It was a fantastic read.
Steel Crow Saga has four separate plotlines. Usually, that would be an issue for me. I lose focus on many plotlines. But, in this book, it wasn’t an issue. The author was able to keep all four plotlines separated. I had no problem keeping them straight. I also loved that while the plotlines did get merged towards the end of the book, they were still separate.
The characters in Steel Crow Saga were well written and well fleshed out. That made the book so much more enjoyable for me to read. I did have my favorite characters in the book. I loved Lee and Xiulan, separately and together. I also did like Tala and Jimuro, but Lee and Xiulan captured my heart.
The fantasy angle of the book was amazing!! I loved how shadepacting worked. To have an animal bond that close to you must be amazing. But I also could see why it was done with only animals and not humans. I thought having the bad guy having hundreds of shades was great. I also liked that the characters could steal the shades from other people. I liked it.
Another part of the book that I loved was the LGBT representation in the book. Xiulan and Lee had feelings for each other. Jimuro’s oldest friend was a transgender man. Mang, Tala’s brother, was gay. Lee, and I believe Jimuro, were bisexual. I loved it!!
I have read reviews where this book was compared to The Last Airbender and Pokemon. I did get the Pokemon vibe while reading it but I didn’t get The Last Airbender vibe. Shrugs.
I also liked that each race was a different Asian country. China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and India were represented. Doing that added more depth to the book. There also could be more countries that I didn’t pick up on.
There was a lot of violence and death in Steel Crow Saga. It didn’t bother me (violence in books usually don’t). But some people are bothered by violence. Unfortunately, this book couldn’t be told without the violence.
Tala and Mang’s relationship was one of the saddest ones that I have read to date. My heart broke several times whenever their relationship came up. The author also explains how he became a shade. Again, talk about my poor heartbreaking. I was in tears. What Mang asked Tala to do was awful, and it shaped her for the rest of her life.
The end of Steel Crow Saga was interesting. It was interesting because while the main storylines ended, the author left room for another book. I am curious to see what will happen with Tala and Jimuro, especially after what was revealed. I am also interested to see where Lee and Xiulan’s relationship will go. Also, I want to know what will happen with the different countries now that the war is over. I can’t wait for book 2 to come out!!
I would give Steel Crow Saga an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread Steel Crow Saga. I would recommend it to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**