Thursday, June 9, 2011

Steel by Carrie Vaughn

Steel
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
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Note: Did you see my little technical difficulty, there, with the early posting? *glares at Blogger*
First Look: ***** I won this in another Inkpop Challenge.  Yay for free books with at least some shininess on the cover!  I like the cover, and the whole pirate-ish aura it gives off.  And it has a girl with a sword, which is good because I like swordfights in books.  (And apparently, swordfights isn't a word.  Oh, shut up, spellcheck!)

Setting: ****
I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I like ships. A lot. Well, in books, anyway. I've never been on a real ship, especially not a pirate ship. But I want to! So, since it was mostly on a ship, I liked the setting. And I liked the historical aspects of it.

Characters: *****
Jill was straying way too far into Mary Sue territory for my liking.  She didn't have a hard time at all adapting to a new culture, being away from her family, traveling through time, for goodness' sake.  She fit in way too easily, and everything just seemed to come easy for her all around.  Edmund Blane really didn't work out as a villain for me.  He didn't seem to have any motives other than "Well, I'm supposedly evil, so I might as well do something villainous." Captain Cooper was the one that I liked; she had some nice internal conflict going on there, and I could really feel her personality coming through.

Plot: *****
It was alright.  There were some pretty decent action/swordfight sequences, but it just didn't come together for me.  Probably because everything way too easy for the protagonist, when the opposite should be true.  Protagonists should have to face everything that's difficult for them, within reason.  And the climax went way too fast, and again, they beat the "bad guy" too easily.  And romance...now, I don't care for romance, so I was okay with this, but still.  One of my book pet peeves is when the jacket says something about the book that isn't a lie, but it's twisting the truth. This one did that. There was no romance, people. She kisses the guy once (and randomly, too, just out of nowhere), and they hug another time. What?

Uniqueness: *****
I felt like this was trying to be very Pirates of the Caribbean-esque, but it just didn't seem that original. 

Writing: *****
It really bothered me.  It got better as the story progressed, but the beginning was way too rushed.  Nothing at all was described.  Especially the part when she fell over the side of the boat.  Seriously, it was just "she fell", and then that was it.  I've never reviewed a book before that actually under-described things. It just didn't flow right. The pacing was off and it just...I don't know, felt too amateur.

Likes:
I'm a huge fan of time travel.  And, confession number two: pirates are cool.

Not-so-great:
There was a magic sword?  Cool!  How does it work?  Oh, wait, nobody but me cares. There was magic, apparently, but nobody bothered to explain how it worked. Another pet peeve of mine.

Total Score: *****
It was alright.  It was exciting and grabbed my attention in some places, but there were too many places where I just wasn't connected to it.  The characters were just meh.  If you like pirates, or just plain straight-up no-vampires-involved adventure stories, it's probably worth a try, especially with all of the Pirates of the Caribbean hype lately. Otherwise, it's just an okay read, and you'd probably be better off watching Pirates anyway, if you're looking for something truly amazing and attention-grabbing.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not surprised at all by this review. I read another one of Vaughn's YA books, Voice of Dragons, and I have pretty much the same criticisms for it. The MC was boring, the romance was virtually nonexistent, and the action scenes were TERRIBLE. I then tried to read another one of Vaughn's adult books and I only got six chapters through before I had to stop because of too many sex scenes and a completely random plot. All in all, I'm not terribly impressed with her writing.

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