Review: Steel by Carrie Vaughn

Written By: Kellie - Aug• 05•11

steel by carrie vaughn

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: March 15th, 2011
Source: Purchased

Synopsis: 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. -Goodreads

Thoughts: Yup, you read that right. Pirates! This is a story of swashuckley goodness. While I’ve never been big into pirates, I always thought fencing was super interesting, so that pulled me in but it was surprisingly the pirates that kept me around. It was a lot of fun to read about some adventures on the high seas, and seriously… perfect! summer read.

I liked the main character Jill for a lot of the same reasons I love Kitty Norville so much. She started off the book obsessing! about a mistake she had made, and while part of me wanted to get on with the story, a much bigger part of me knew I would do the exact same thing so right from the get go, I was really invested in what happened to this modern girl stuck in the past.

There was understandably very little romance in this book. I get why Carrie did it the way she did, but I was wishing for a little more of that swoontastic love interest vibe. The characters were still pretty well done though. Perhaps a little more noble than you could really expect from pirates of any time period but if they had been more realistic I think it would have been a very different book, and a lot less fun/pleasant/endurable.

While the characters themselves weren’t all that realistic, I do think Carrie Vaughn must have done a lot of research on life and sailing in that time period. There was a lot of hard work going on, on that ship, and nothing was glamorous or too easy. Jill worked her butt off in order to earn her place on the Diana, and there were no free passes just because she was a girl. Overall, really well done.

As I mentioned before, this book focuses a lot on fencing. While I’m not usually a big fan of actions scenes (well, that’s not true… I tend to get too ‘OMG, what’s going to happen and then skim so I can see who survived) these were actually pretty interesting to read. Jill described enough about her experiences fencing that I felt I could really follow the fights and understand what was going on.

While I definitely still prefer the Kitty Norville books, I have really enjoyed the stand alone books that Carrie has been coming out with and this is no exception. It was an adventurous romp and nothing more, which was pretty fantastic.

Second Opinions
@ The Book Smugglers
@ Electrifying Reviews
@ Novel Society

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  1. Sounds like something I might give a try.

  2. Lux says:

    I have this book coming in the mail. I’m so excited to be reading it after your brilliant review!

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