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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.3 out of 5
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  • Pirates and Dead Gods galore!

    Well, this certainly starts off with excitement with a roomful of dead people, an arrest and trial, a twist that makes Buc and Eld start a new case to find out about missing ships and sugar. Add in a couple of rival gods and their crazy followers and you have a very full adventure. It is best described like this: Gods, missing ships. Cannibals. Pirates. Holy artifacts. And you sent Buc and Eld into the midst of that with a paltry brig beneath their feet? Plus scary ghostships and Shambles. Buc acts a lot like Sherlock (which I think is the point) but sometimes her superiority which she doesn't bother to hide (along with the kan use) was more of a hindrance. And though she is smart, she kept getting into stupid situations by not thinking all the way through. I think she is best summed up with this : Manners are a terrible affliction. Thank the Gods I am immune. Eld on the other hand has issues due to being the only survivor after his regiment is massacred when his orders were skewed by the Sin Eater mage. He seems really old sometimes though apparently he is only 19. That was confusing but maybe because this is an ARC. It could be different in the final version. Eld is definitely nicer than Buc though and has better manners. The descriptions of the lands are well done and it is easy to visualize it. It is a mixture of first person (via Buc) and third person from various other characters like Eld, or Chan Sha. That turned out differently than I thought and I am very curious about the Sin Eaters and their god and what the Dead God's followers are trying to do.

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  • A fun, action-packed fantasy debut

    The main characters Buc and Eld have a Sherlock-Watson kind of vibe. Buc is a genius street rat who loves to read, and needs to slow her mind down with drugs to stop it from racing. Eld is a sensible ex-soldier, two years older than Buc, with a hatred for magic. They are employed by a trading company to find out why ships carrying sugar are going missing. The action was non-stop and there was a lot of humor. There are two warring religions with associated mages, action on the high seas with zombie pirates and a variety of interesting islands. The world building is really good and enticing; I just felt there could have been more of it. I would have happily have read dozens of extra pages just to have more detail about this fascinating world. The start of the book is a little confusing as the reader is dropped in, just as Buc and Eld are extricated from a whole pile of trouble and launched into an impossible quest. Overall, The Sin in the Steel is a really enjoyable fantasy and I'll be looking for a second installment.

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  • Great action and Awesome characters

    Going to be honest up front, I'm not one for big swashbuckling adventures, so I paused before buying. But I'm a character first guy and the descriptions of the characters won me over, so I decided to take a chance on a new series. I'm glad I did. I went into the novel not really knowing what to expect, then got comfortable with where I thought the narrative was going, and got blindsided by the REAL point, all the while figuring out why certain things happened in the beginning that didn't seem to fit at the time. This kind of balancing act - where you read something 3/4 of the way through that finally makes something in the second chapter click into place - is quite difficult and Van Loan pulls it off nicely. It's the kind of book that makes you want to immediately read it again. I honestly think "Sherlock Holmes crossed with Pirates of the Caribbean" is a bit lazy. Yeah, Buc is a genius and there are pirates. My issue with that description is it's so much more than that. If I had to give the book a main premise, it's not to take anything on faith - or at least keep several shakers of salt handy until you can dig a bit farther. Because Buc studies as much as she can, but ultimately relies on herself. The key is knowing when to trust. All that said, it's a rocking good action story on top of everything else. Highly recommended

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