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September 22, 2019

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger ~ a Review

by MK French


General Tala was devastated by the war waged between the different kingdoms. Her homeland of Sanbuna included rituals to pact with animals, but she had gone over and above the usual shadepact prior to the war's end. Iron Prince Jimuro is all that's left of the Tomoda royal family and has to be escorted back to his homeland to be crowned the Iron Lord. There are factions within the Tomodanese that want to see Tomoda rule supreme again. In the meantime, Princess Xiulan of Shang had become a Li-Quan inspector and brought the Jeongsonese thief Lee in to help her track down the elusive Prince Jimuro in the hopes that she could present him to her father and become the heir of Shang.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

September 2019; Del Rey; 978-0593128220
audio, ebook, print (528 pages); fantasy
Steel Crow Saga was described as "a sophisticated twist on Pokémon meets Avatar: The Last Airbender," and it's clear to see why. The animals bonded to people that can be called on at will are like the Pokémo, while having four nations of differing Asian influences is like the beloved cartoon. However, there are plenty of politics involved as well, with shifting loyalties, different sexualities, and even a transgender character. A lot of time is spent weaving the histories of the nations and the characters together, and it's seamlessly done. Nothing feels like a terrible info dump because it's relayed little by little, and as we switch between different points of view. That's how we learn about the food, the tonal languages, the customs and the microcustoms of different classes, the novels that characters read and the types of places where people lived. It's a wonderful and fascinating way to really drink in the history in the book and feel truly part of it, as well as getting us to bond with the main characters whose stories we're following.

There is action, gunplay, shifting loyalties and traveling through various parts of different kingdoms in order to get Prince Jimuro back to Harada, the capital of his homeland, to be crowned the Iron Lord. Along the way, we learn a lot about our four main characters, their histories, their relationships to each other, and really get to know the world of this book. I grew to love it, and it almost hurt to read the very last page, because there wasn't more to this novel.

Buy Steel Crow Saga at Amazon

You might also be interested in this interview Donna did with Paul in 2016.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband and three young children. 

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